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Eric Cullen, Controversial Dwarf Actor, Dead at 31

August 17, 1996

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) _ Eric Cullen, the 4-foot, 4-inch actor whose television career was ruined by convictions for indecency with children, has died. He was 31.

Cullen was admitted to a hospital on Wednesday, and died Friday following surgery to relieve a restricted bowel _ a congenital condition related to achondroplasia, or dwarfism.

Cullen contended that he had been a victim of sexual abuse since age 13, and that the more than 100 pornographic video tapes found in his home belonged to one of his abusers. That man is serving a 14-year sentence for sex offenses.

His arrest in 1993 and conviction two years later ended his role as Wee Burney, one of the two foul-mouthed and feckless sons in ``Rab C Nesbitt,″ a BBC comedy about down-and-out life in the dismal public housing estates of Glasgow.

Cullen was sentenced to nine months in prison, and spent 15 days under suicide watch before successfully appealing for a reduction in sentence to probation. He later made formal complaints against two men he claimed had abused him.

Through it all, Cullen enjoyed the support of loyal friends and campaigning journalists. Scotland’s two major newspapers, The Herald of Glasgow and The Scotsman of Edinburgh, published sympathetic obituaries on Saturday.

On the day he died, the producers of ``Rab C Nesbitt″ were trying to contact him to offer him a role in a new episode.

Funeral arrangements were not announced.

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