Actor Tommy Kirk, known for playing Travis Coates in “Old Yeller” and other Disney films, was found dead at his Las Vegas home on Tuesday. He was 79 years old.
Kirk’s longtime friend Paul Petersen II posted the news on Facebook, writing, “Please know that Tommy Kirk loved you, his fans.”
Kirk was born in Louisville, Kiev in 1941 and grew up in Los Angeles County. He began acting as a teenager, and appeared in a play at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he discovered an agent who helped him make his TV screen debut in 1955 in “The Last of the Old Time Shooting Sheriff.” Reader’s Digest. “From there, he appeared on several TV series, including” The Loretta Young Show “and” Gansmok. ” Her profile increased when she started playing Hardy Boys.
In 1957, he starred in the Disney Classic about “Old Yeller”, a boy and his dog. The success of the film led to many more Disney characters for him. Notably, he played Wilby in “The Shaggy Dog”, Ernst in “Swiss Family Robinson” and Biff Hawk in “The Absent Minded Professor” and its sequel “Son of Flavor”.
One of Kirk’s last major Disney roles was in The Missal Adventures of Marilyn Jones, which was released on the 14th. During production, when he was 21, he began seeing a 15-year-old boy, according to Kirk’s interview. Upon learning that Kirk was gay, Disney decided not to renew his contract.
She then moved on to American International Pictures and starred opposite Annette Funicello in “Pajama Party,” which was a box office success, leading to another AIP role in “How to Staff a Wild Bikini.” Meanwhile, in response to the success of the first film, Disney invited him for another film, a sequel to “The Monkey’s Uncle”, “The Miscellaneous Adventures of Marilyn Jones”.
In 1964, Kirk was arrested on marijuana charges and barbiturates were also found in his car, although it was later discovered that the barbiturates were prescribed by a doctor. Nevertheless, due to these events, the studios may replace her in her upcoming role with “How to Staff a Wild Bikini”.
Kirk came out publicly in 1973 as gay. He decided to end his acting life and confessed to fighting drug abuse, which he talked about all his life, saying he was not to blame for not wanting to work with the studio. His.
According to a Disney statement, when he received the Disney Legends Award in 2006, he said, “I want to be remembered for my Disney work, such as ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ and ‘Old Yeller.’ Disney at a Beverly Hills hotel: “He was with legendary columnist Heda Hopper. He put his hand around me, and he said, ‘Here’s part of my good fortune,’ Heda Hopper. I never forgot that. That’s the best compliment I’ve ever received.”
“Tommy was gay and isolated from the rest of his blood-family. We have a small consideration. [a non-profit] Support for young actors past and present]Tommy’s family. Without forgiveness. We will take care of it, ”Peterson said in his post.
Addressing fans of Kirk, he added: “You picked him up in 1965 when an industry frustrated him. He was not bitter. His church comforts him. His God be merciful to his soul. “