Start of the Disney’s “Old Yeller” and “The Shaggy Dog” died at the age of 79. Tommy Kirk on Tuesday found dead in Las Vegas home and as per the reports he was at the age of 79.
News of Tommy Kirk’s death was posted on Facebook by his longtime friend Paul Peterson II. Pual wrote on the facebook ” My friend of many decades, Tommy Kirk, was found dead last night. You will surely recall his string of Disney movies; Shaggy Dog. ‘Ol’ Yeller,’ etc.Tommy was intensely private. He lived alone in Las Vegas, close to his friend…and ‘Ol’ Yeller’ co-star, Bev Washburn…and it was she who called me this morning.”
Paul Peterson II Further added sharing about Tommy Kirk “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. Please know that Tommy Kirk loved you, his fans. You lifted him up when an Industry let him down in 1965. He was not bitter. His church comforted him. May God have mercy on his soul,”.
Tommy Kirk started his acting career while he was just a teenager, after moving from Kentucky to California with his family.
In 1950s Kirk first appeared on TV in episodes of “Gunsmoke” and “Big Town”. Tommy Kirk got his big break from Disney’s “The Hardy Boys” in which he was casted as Joe Hardy. The Hardy Boys was the regular kick start for Kirk’s Career with Disney, and Fortune didn’t took much time before Tommy was cast as the lead in the block busters films “Old Yeller” and later in “Swiss Family Robinson”.
Mouseketeers Tommy Cole and Bobby Burgess also added of their long-time friend, “Tommy and I palled around and even double dated as kids,” said Cole. “To me he was a Disney icon.” Burgess looked back with humor, saying, “When Tommy was filming Old Yeller, he went to school on the lot with us Mouseketeers. I remember our teacher asked us what language we would like to learn. We all chose Spanish except for Tommy who wanted to learn German, and indeed he did!”
It was shared in Several interviews that Once it was found that he was gay Disney fired him just at the age of 21 and this happened during the filiming of 1964’s “The Misadventures of Merlin Jones”.
During an interview in 1993 with Filmax Magazine it was shared by Tommy Kirk saying “”When I was about 17 or 18 years old, I finally admitted to myself that [I was gay and] wasn’t going to change. I didn’t know what the consequences would be, but I had the definite feeling that it was going to wreck my Disney career and maybe my whole acting career,Disney was a family film studio and I was supposed to be their young leading man. After they found out I was involved with someone, that was the end of Disney.”
After leaving at the end of his contract with Disney Tommy Kirk signed with AIP (American International Pictures) he stared appearing in beach themed based movies. Pajama Party in which he played as Martian, he also appeared in other beach films for other firms in cluding the movies like “The Ghost in the “Invisible Bikini” and Its a “Bikini world”