Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Actor Tommy Kirk (1941-2021)


Recommended Posts

This news saddens me.  I love all the old Disney films he was in and even the few AIP films he starred in.  Must say, i read a headline that said 'Disney Rising Star Fired for Being Gay, Dead at 79' and i've seen a few people repeat the claim he was fired for being gay on this thread.  It's my understanding that that he wasn't fired for being gay, he was initially fired because the mother of the underage boy (15) he was fooling around with on set, found out and complained to Walt and threatened to file charges, but also he already into the drug use that would haunt his life for decades at this point.  I just think the fired for being gay statement is misleading.  He worked in films for years after his relationship with Disney dissolved and it was his drug use that ultimately ended his career.

Sounds like he turned his life around mostly, in that he got clean and started a business, but still had struggles.  Disney did come back and embrace him later in life and inducted him into their hall of fame.

Bobby Driscoll is the Disney actor I feel the worst about.  He was basically fired after hitting puberty (and getting bad acne) and would up homeless and on drugs in NYC before his body was found in an abandoned building (after dying weeks before) and buried in a potters field.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

In regards to BOBBY DRISCOLL -- I recall reading it took over a year for him to be identified; not until late 1969 was he properly identified.  Bobby currently resides on Hart Island, a potters field in NYC. 

Actress SHEILA TERRY (1910-57) does, too.  She co-starred in three "B"-Westerns with John Wayne.  Haunted Gold (1932) was one of them, which has aired multiple times on TCM.  

(From the previous page).  Interesting review about TRACK OF THUNDER.  I didn't know it had been uploaded to YouTube.  Live and learn.

Stars Tommy Kirk and Ray Stricklyn were both gay and the object of their affections in the film, Brenda Benet, met a sad end in 1982 via suicide.  

There's a bit on the Wikipedia page in regards to Tommy Kirk mentioning co-star James Dobson being very boorish on the set. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I spent a number of Saturday afternoons at the movie theater watching Tommy Kirk with Annette, Fred MacMurray and Moochie, but he was always my favorite performer in all of those movies.

The last Saturday afternoon I spent watching him was in '65 for "The Monkey's Uncle". It was his last Disney movie and I was too old to be at Disney movies then anyway. But I had gone to see The Beach Boys.

Tommy was a good part of my movie childhood, and I'll never forget him.

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Princess of Tap said:

I spent a number of Saturday afternoons at the movie theater watching Tommy Kirk with Annette, Fred MacMurray and Moochie, but he was always my favorite performer in all of those movies.

The last Saturday afternoon I spent watching him was in '65 for "The Monkey's Uncle". It was his last Disney movie and I was too old to be at Disney movies then anyway. But I had gone to see The Beach Boys.

Tommy was a good part of my movie childhood, and I'll never forget him.

 

DITTO. I saw all his films. I grew up with Disney and he was a big part of their golden age.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Disney connection was probably both a help and a hindrance. Pat Boone and Fabian, though slightly older, had more successful film careers than he did at around the same time. Both had an association with Twentieth Century-Fox, which didn't confine them to roles in cutesy films for kids and teenagers. That's a shame because Tommy Kirk was easily as likeable as either of them, in my opinion, even though they obviously aced him in the singing department. Fabian got to work with John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Bing Crosby, etc.  Swiss Family Robinson was probably the closest Tommy got to that kind of moviemaking, acting with John Mills and Dorothy McGuire. Anyway, it's futile to play woulda-coulda-shoulda when the facts of his life are pretty plain; drugs were poison to lots of careers and it's too bad his was one of them. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen most of his films. If he only made Old Yeller,  he'd always be remembered for this classic. "Everybody cried when Old Yeller died." Besides Mars Needs Women, he made It's Alive for Larry  Buchanan in the Ozarks. (Buchanan also hired John Agar for other Z movies like Zontar, Thing from Venus) Those two Kirk films should be back to back on TCM Cult. An easygoing screen personality, he was good playing likable goofballs but didn't do much to reach beyond that. This link points to an interview with Kirk by Richard Valley published  in the great film magazine Scarlet Street.

  https://scarletstreetmagazine.blogspot.com/2015/10/no-10-spring-1993.html

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Los Angeles Times,  Calendar section,  Tuesday,  October 5th,   has a really nice article about Tommy Kirk:    An Appreciation - Unsung Screen Heroes.  (this is a two part article with the second part about D.J.  T.V. host Sam Riddle).     It was written by Robert Lloyd.

The Tommy Kirk section was interesting and really respectful to this unsung-hero;  E.g.   "neither was a superstar by objective standards,  but if you were young or even not so young at a certain time and place,  you might well have looked at them that way.

"Kirk was clean-cut,  in the mid-50s to early 60s mold, but he was more Ricky than David Nelson".

Fan of the late Tommy Kirk should check it out!

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...