Biography

Tousle-haired child actor Jay North was the son of the West Coast regional director for AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), a performer's union. He began showing up on TV in 1958 and in films the following year. Selected from a group of 500 possibilities, he landed the title role in the TV series Dennis the Menace, which ran from 1959 to 1963. He went on to star in the single-season adventure weekly Maya (1966) and in such family oriented films as Zebra in the Kitchen. Reportedly mistreated and abused by his on-set guardians, North's career as a child star was less than pleasant; nor did he make a successful transition to adult roles in such trash as Teacher Teacher (1974). Eventually overcoming his past, he vowed to prevent others in his situation from suffering similar humiliations, and later spent much of his time offering advice, counsel, and moral support to preteen professional actors. Among Jay North's later acting appearances was the 1980 TV movie Scout's Honor, which featured several other former child TV performers in the cast. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi