Jump to content

Tommy Kirk, Child Star of Ole Yeller, Passed Away at 79

Recommended Posts

Read his bio here. Pay attention to the part about his marital status and how Disney fucked him over at 21.

Tommy Kirk's Bio in The Sun


Was Tommy Kirk married?

Kirk remained unmarried throughout his life.

Despite being viewed as one of Disney's favorite kid actors, it was previously reported that the company fired him over being gay in 1964 when he was 21-years-old.

According to TMZ, Kirk once said: "When I was about 17 or 18 years old, I finally admitted to myself that I 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. It was all going to come to an end." 

The child star added: "Eventually, I became involved with somebody and I was fired."

Edited by jamessavik
  • Like 1
  • Sad 4
Link to comment

He certainly wasn't treated fairly by Disney, but with their squeaky clean family image, Walt didn't feel he could afford to be associated with a gay actor.  Being gay ruined careers back then or greatly limited the types of roles those actors could tryout for.  It's nice to see things have changed.  

Link to comment
16 hours ago, Bill W said:

Walt didn't feel he could afford to be associated with a gay actor. 

Especially given the rumors circulating about him.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

The rumours: In 1963, the 21-year-old Kirk began a relationship with a 15-year-old boy. When Disney learned of the affair, he personally fired Kirk. Tommy then began taking a series of roles in B-pictures, before a drug arrest for marijuana in 1964 further slowed his career momentum. By 1970, he bid showbiz farewell, taking a job as a busboy, and later opening a carpet cleaning business in Los Angeles. He took occasional acting roles over the next five decades, but lived a very private life.

Lets put this relationship in context for the period: (1959) Elvis Presley and Priscilla first met when he was 24 and she was 14. Their age difference wasn’t a problem for Elvis. After Priscilla had been on four "dates" with Elvis, her parents said an in-person meeting was necessary. When it took place, Priscilla's father asked why a star was interested in his teenage daughter. Elvis responded, "Well, sir, I happen to be very fond of her. She’s a lot more mature than her age and I enjoy her company." The Beaulieus were charmed enough to allow Priscilla to keep seeing Elvis. For the remainder of his stay in Germany (Elvis was enlisted in the US army), he was the centre of her world. She continued to go to school but fell behind — though she didn't take the pills Elvis offered.

Double standards?

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Rumors? The man was out. In his own words:

"Even more than MGM, Disney was the most conservative studio in town. They were growing aware. They weren't stupid. They could add two and two, and I think they were beginning to suspect my [orientation]. I noticed people in certain quarters were getting less and less friendly. In 1963 Disney didn't renew my option and let me go. But Walt had me return to do the final Martin Jones movie, The Monkey's Uncle, because those were money-makers for the studio. In the 1960s all my social life was underground Gay. It was my own life. I kept it separate from work, where I went on publicity dates with Annette Funicello or Roberta Shore." -- Tommy Kirk* 




*Interview reprinted in Queers in History Keith Stern (Dallas 2009), ps. 254-255


  • Like 2
Link to comment

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
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..