Actor Tommy Kirk was finest identified for the basic roles he performed as a baby, together with these in Old Yeller and The Shaggy Dog. Many grew up watching him act beside canines, and he was a beloved actor from many individuals’s childhoods.

But sadly, on September twenty eighth, 2021, Kirk handed away at age 79. He left an enduring influence on his buddies and followers, however because it seems, his life wasn’t at all times as thrilling and magical as it would’ve appeared, particularly when it got here to performing.


Remembering Tommy Kirk

Kirk started his performing journey within the Nineteen Fifties, the place he starred in over 30 movies. While he’s finest identified for taking part in Travis in Old Yeller, he was additionally identified for The Shaggy Dog, Son of Flubber, and Swiss Family Robinson.

However, Kirk’s journey wasn’t straightforward. At round 17 years previous, he realized he was homosexual, and he didn’t need to conceal it. At the time, Disney wasn’t okay with that, in order that they stopped working with him. Sadly, he misplaced many performing roles due to it. Kirk’s household additionally distanced themselves from him, however he at all times had his co-stars to assist him.

“My friend of many decades, Tommy Kirk, was found dead last night,” wrote fellow baby actor Paul Petersen. “Tommy was intensely private. He lived alone in Las Vegas, close to his friend … and Old Yeller co-star, Bev Washburn … and it was she who called me this morning. Tommy was gay and estranged from what remains of his blood-family. We in A Minor Consideration are Tommy’s family. Without apology. We will take care of this.”

Rest in Peace Tommy Kirk

Kirk stop performing altogether within the Seventies, and he later began his personal carpet cleansing enterprise. Yet, he nonetheless attended conventions and interviews associated to his previous performing profession. After Kirk’s demise, his neighbor discovered his physique in his dwelling, however the reason for demise is unknown.

Nostalgic Impact of Old Yeller

Of all of the characters Kirk performed, Old Yeller was undoubtedly his most memorable and lasting Disney function. Dog lovers rapidly fell in love with the connection between the kid and canine within the movie however have been heartbroken by the devastating ending.

“One of the reasons people remember Old Yeller is not just the fate of a beloved dog, but the shattering grief expressed by his owner, so beautifully played by Tommy. I think his talent and range as an actor were taken for granted somewhat. He was really very versatile,” mentioned movie historian Leonard Maltin.


Old Yeller and Kid Actor

In his tribute to Kirk, Petersen reminded followers that Kirk cherished them very a lot. They lifted him up and supported him when the performing business let him down. And by all of it, Kirk stayed true to himself.

Rest in peace, Tommy Kirk. Your legacy gained’t be forgotten.

Featured Image: Facebook

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