Child Actor Anthony Sydes Dies at 74

Sydes (left) in 'Johnny Comes Flying Home.'

He played Thelma Ritter's son in 'Miracle on 34th Street.'

Anthony Sydes, a child actor who played Peter in the 1947 classic Miracle on 34th Street, has died. He was 74.

Sydes, who had roles on TV shows Dragnet and Father Knows Best and films Johnny Comes Flying Home (1946), Cheaper by the Dozen (1950) and Belles on Their Toes (1952), died Saturday in Springfield, Va.

One of his best-known roles was as Thelma Ritter’s son in George Seaton’s Oscar-nominated film Miracle on 34th Street. He also starred in 1948’s Sitting Pretty, a film about a married couple (Robert Young and Maureen O’Hara) with three sons who hire an eccentric babysitter, played by Oscar nominee Clifton Webb.

In addition, Sydes starred in several TV westerns, including The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, Hopalong Cassidy and The Lone Ranger. His last film role was for the 1958 western Gunsmoke in Tucson, directed by Thomas Carr.

Sydes was born May 4, 1941, in North Hollywood. His acting career began at age 5 when he appeared in the 1946 film Claudia and David. After leaving acting in the late ’50s, he enlisted in the army in 1963, serving two tours in Vietnam as well as tours in Italy and Germany. He retired after 20 years of service, earning a National Defense Service Medal and a Purple Heart, among other awards.

In 1980, he started an auction business in Santa Cruz, Calif., called A&A Auction Gallery, which is still operating. Sydes also started an auction college to train future auctioneers and was a member of the National Auctioneers Association.

He is survived by his children Elise, Tom Jr. and Tiffany and nine grandchildren.