Actor Tommy Kirk was finest identified for the basic roles he performed as a baby, together with these in Previous Yeller and The Shaggy Canine. Many grew up watching him act beside canines, and he was a beloved actor from many individuals’s childhoods.
However sadly, on September twenty eighth, 2021, Kirk handed away at age 79. He left an enduring impression on his buddies and followers, however because it seems, his life wasn’t all the time 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. Whereas he’s finest identified for enjoying Travis in Previous Yeller, he was additionally identified for The Shaggy Canine, Son of Flubber, and Swiss Household Robinson.
Nonetheless, Kirk’s journey wasn’t simple. At round 17 years outdated, he realized he was homosexual, and he didn’t need to disguise it. On 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 all the time had his co-stars to help him.
“My good friend of many many years, Tommy Kirk, was discovered useless final night time,” wrote fellow little one actor Paul Petersen. “Tommy was intensely personal. He lived alone in Las Vegas, near his good friend … and Previous Yeller co-star, Bev Washburn … and it was she who known as me this morning. Tommy was homosexual and estranged from what stays of his blood-family. We in A Minor Consideration are Tommy’s household. With out apology. We’ll care for this.”
Kirk stop performing altogether within the Nineteen Seventies, and he later began his personal carpet cleansing enterprise. But, he nonetheless attended conventions and interviews associated to his previous performing profession. After Kirk’s dying, his neighbor discovered his physique in his house, however the reason for dying is unknown.
Nostalgic Affect of Previous Yeller
Of all of the characters Kirk performed, Previous Yeller was undoubtedly his most memorable and lasting Disney function. Canine 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 many causes individuals bear in mind Previous Yeller is not only the destiny of a beloved canine, however the shattering grief expressed by his proprietor, so superbly performed by Tommy. I believe his expertise and vary as an actor have been taken with no consideration considerably. He was actually very versatile,” stated movie historian Leonard Maltin.
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 thru all of it, Kirk stayed true to himself.
Relaxation in peace, Tommy Kirk. Your legacy gained’t be forgotten.