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California Indian Art:

In 1951, at age 13, he appeared in the film Jim Thorpe -- All-American , with Burt Lancaster in the lead role. Gray portrayed the Indian athlete Jim Thorpe as a child. Later that year, he was chosen to appear in the science fiction picture The Day the Earth Stood Still . Michael Rennie played the part of the alien who befriends a boy played by Gray. [2] In 1952 he appeared in an uncredited role as one of the many children in Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair . That same year he played George Murphy 's son in MGM 's Talk About a Stranger , portraying a boy who saves his money to buy a dog, only to have it killed by a strange reclusive new neighbor played by Kurt Kasznar. Gray in 1952 was also slated to play the part of Tagg Oakley in the syndicated western television series Annie Oakley , starring Gail Davis and Brad Johnson . Billy did perform as Tagg in the first of two pilots produced for that series, in the 1952 episode titled "Bull's Eye", which potential sponsors opted not to purchase and underwrite the series. [3] [4] Oddly, the Bull's Eye episode was aired as Season 1, Episode 21. [5] This makes watching the series a bit confusing when Annie's appearance is somewhat different and Tagg is played by a completely different actor for a single mid season episode. The role of Tagg later went to 12-year-old Jimmy Hawkins for the series' second pilot, "Annie Gets Her Man" (aired as Season 1, Episode 14) [6] , and for the full run of Annie Oakley after sponsors bought the series. Gray instead joined the cast of Father Knows Best , which would premiere nine months after the first broadcast of Annie Oakley in January 1954. [3] [7]

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