Norman Chaney

Norman Chaney (Sun file photo / November 6, 2012)

After nearly 80 years of lying in an unmarked grave, Baltimore's Norman "Chubby" Chaney will finally get a headstone this weekend.

Thanks to a campaign by fans to give the child star a proper grave -- an effort Baltimoreans open their wallets for earlier this year, a grave for Chaney and his mother will

Fans are invited to the ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday at Baltimore Cemetery.

The round-cheeked Chaney, the son of a Baltimore electrical worker, bested nearly 2,000 boys in a national contest for the role of the fat one in the "Our Gang" film shorts, which became known as "The Little Rascals" when they were aired on television.

Chaney appeared on "Our Gang" from 1929 to 1931. In one famous episode, he has a crush on his teacher, Miss Crabtree, and asks that she call him "Chubsy-Ubsy."

Chaney eventually grew out of the role. He returned to Baltimore, where he went to school, eventually became sickly and died at 21. He was buried in Baltimore Cemetery at the end of North Avenue. Even if people wanted to pay him respects, they had no idea where to find him.

Feeling it a "tragedy" that someone who'd given so many people so much pleasure was buried without recognition, Mikal C.G., a Michigan musician, started the online fundraising campaign. After The Baltimore Sun published an article, donations began coming in -- as little as $1, as much as $100.

Heather Brown-Simons of Baltimore's Hubbard Funeral Home arranged for the campaign to work with the W.S.Tegeler Monument Co. in Woodlawn who helped the effort buy the stones they wanted though the fundraising came up a bit short.

Both stones are etched black granite, 28 inches wide and 16 inches tall. Chaney's will state his full name, Norman Myers Chaney. It will list the dates of his birth and death. And it will say he was known as Chubby "aka Chubsy-Ubsy." There will be a photo of him carved into the granite, one from his prime, in which he's wearing a suit and smiling.

jill.rosen@baltsun.com

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