Tommy Kirk, child star of ‘Old Yeller,’ ‘The Shaggy Dog,’ dies at 79
Tommy Kirk, who starred in Old Yeller and The Shaggy Dog as a young man, has died. He was 79 years old at the time.
“TOMMY KIRK 9/28/2021,” his friend and young actor Paul Petersen said on Facebook, announcing his death.
“Tommy Kirk, an old friend of mine, died last night. You’re probably familiar with his Disney movies, like ‘Shaggy Dog.’ ‘Ol’ Yeller’, etc. “Petersen wrote the article. “Tommy was a very private individual. In Vegas, he was left alone, near his ‘Ol Yeller’ co-star, Bev Washburn… She’s the one who woke me up this morning.”
“Tommy was gay,” Petersen said, “and alienated from what was left of his blood family.” “We are Tommy’s parents on A Minor Factor. Without remorse. We will take care of this.”
He said: “Tommy Kirk loved his fans so please realize that. When a business defrauded him in 1965, you helped him get back on his feet. He was not resentful. He was comforted by his church. God have mercy on him and on his soul.”
In a statement, fellow Mouseketeers Tommy Cole and Bobby Burgess paid tribute to their old friend.
“When we were young, Tommy and I used to hang out and occasionally go out together,” Cole recalled. “He was a Disney idol to me.” Burgess responded with a giggle and said, “Tommy went to school on set with all of us Mouseketeers while he was doing Old Yeller. I remember that our teacher asked us what languages we wanted to study. We all chose Spanish except Tommy, who said that he wanted to learn German, which he did!”
Tommy Kirk: All you need to know
Kirk starred in numerous disney images, notably Swiss Family Robinson, The Absent-minded Professor, Son of Flubber, as well as The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, among others. He was fired from Disney in 1963 until the age of 21 after it was discovered that he was having an affair.
Kirk stopped acting in the mid-1970s after overcoming his substance abuse. He worked in restaurants and as a driver before starting his own carpet cleaning service in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, where he was in charge for 20 years. Kirk admitted to being “poor” in 1990. He appeared in a few more movies, including the R-rated comedy Invasion of the 60 Foot Centerfold. Kirk had over 30 film roles to his credit as of 2006. He also enjoyed writing and occasionally attending old film conferences.