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Jay Waverly North (born August 3, 1951) is an American actor. Beginning a prolific career as a child actor at the age of six, North became a household name during the early 1960s for his role as the well-meaning, but mischievous, Dennis Mitchell on the CBS situation comedy Dennis the Menace, based on the comic strip created by Hank Ketcham. What was not widely know was he was the being controlled by his aunt and uncle on the set, who Verbally abused and physically beat him in his trailer if he made mistakes. The cast and crew were unaware of this till years later. Up until that point North had enjoyed acting.
As a teen, North moved on to roles in the MGM feature films, Zebra in the Kitchen and Maya, as well as starring in the NBC television series adaptation of the film, also titled Maya. As an adult, North turned to voice acting work for animated television series, voicing the roles of Prince Turhan in the Arabian Knights segment of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour and a teenage Bamm-Bamm Rubble on The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show.
After leaving show business and disclosing the truth of a troubled childhood as a child actor, North began working with fellow former child star Paul Petersen and the organization, A Minor Consideration, using his own experiences as a child performer to counsel other children working within the entertainment industry.
He currently retired as a State of Florida correctional officer and living in Florida.
Military ServiceNorth left acting and enlisted in the US Navy on January 16, 1977 and went to boot camp in Orlando Florida. Jay was just a regular guy, a little out of shape and older than the rest of the recruits being 25 and most were only 18 years old. The reason Jay went into the Navy at 25, was the recruiter promised him a career in law enforcement which Jay was interested in. As par for the course the recruiter was les than truthful, which was normal in those days. The Navy at that time did not have a law enforcement "rating" so he wound up being unrated seamen recruit, the Navy's lowest rank, in deck division of ship which is cleaning and painting the ship as regular part of young deck seaman.
He was assigned to the USS Iwo Jima, stationed in Norfolk, Virginia . North received good evaluations and was promoted all the way to Seaman for his work. He just wanted to fit in to the navy and just be a regular sailor from shipmates that served with him, but it was hard for him because of his child star fame. He did have a few friends and he carefully chose them for not treating him like a curiosity. The general consensus from most shipmates was one of awe, as in how does someone who had their own TV show and movie career end up swabbing decks.
Within a year, North wanted out of the Navy. He then began his administrative process and was temporarily assigned on board USS Dixie (AD 14) stationed in Long Beach California; on August 10, 1979, he left the USS Dixie and the Navy with an honorable discharge and returned to Los Angeles.