George "Spanky" McFarland (October 2, 1928 - June 30, 1993) was an American actor most famous for his childhood role as Spanky in the depression era children's comedy movie series Our Gang, also known as the Little Rascals.
McFarland was born in Dallas, Texas (not in Ft. Worth as many biographies report). His nickname "Spanky" is said to have arisen from repeated warnings by his mother not to misbehave. He had a habit of reaching out and grabbing things, so his mother would say, "Spanky, spanky, mustn't touch!" He was discovered at the age of three and soon became a popular member of the Our Gang children's comedy movie series during the 1930s and 1940s. He played the role of an enterprising idea man and the de facto leader of the gang.
In later years some in his family affectionately would refer to him as just "Spank". His middle names came from family names, Robert after his father and Phillips was his mother's maiden name (George was his father's brother's name). Other biographies incorrectly report his middle name as being Emmett; however this was his father's middle name. His brother Tommy, who was also named after their father (Thomas Emmett McFarland), passed away in 1982.
George "Spanky" McFarland died of a heart attack on June 30, 1993. For many fans, it was the end of an era. McFarland's mother passed away just 30 days later.
In January 1994, "Spanky" joined fellow alumnus Jackie Cooper to become one of two Our Gang members to receive a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.