Tommy Kirk Biography – Tommy Kirk Wiki
Tommy Kirk (born Thomas Lee Kirk) was an American actor, best known for his performances in films such as Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog, Swiss Family Robinson, and The Misadventures of Merlin Jones.
Kirk was born in Louisville, Ky. in 1941 and grew up in Los Angeles County. He began acting as a teenager, and appeared in a play at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he was discovered by an agent who helped him to make his screen debut in “The Last of the Old Time Shooting Sheriffs,” a 1955 episode of “TV Reader’s Digest.” From there, he appeared in episodes of several TV series including “The Loretta Young Show” and “Gunsmoke.” His profile rose when he began to play the role of Joe Hardy in the “Hardy Boys” series “The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure” and “The Mystery of the Ghost Farm.”
In 1957, he was cast in “Old Yeller,” the Disney classic about a boy and his dog. The film’s success led to many more Disney roles for him. Notably, he played Wilby in “The Shaggy Dog,” Ernst in “Swiss Family Robinson,” and Biff Hawk in “The Absent Minded Professor” and its sequel, “Son of Flubber.”
One of his last big Disney roles was “The Misadventures of Merlin Jones,” which was released in 1964. During the production, while he was 21, he began seeing a 15-year-old boy, according to interviews with Kirk. Upon finding out Kirk was gay, Disney chose not to renew his contract.
He then moved to American International Pictures and starred opposite Annette Funicello in “Pajama Party,” which succeeded at the box office, leading to another AIP role in “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.” Meanwhile, Disney invited him back for one more film, “The Monkey’s Uncle,” a sequel to ““The Misadventures of Merlin Jones” in response to the success of the first movie.
In 1964, Kirk was arrested on a marijuana charge and was also found to have barbiturates in his car, though the barbiturates were later found to have been prescribed by a doctor. Still, these incidents caused studios to replace him in several of his upcoming roles including “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.”
Kirk publicly came out as gay in 1973. He also decided to end his acting career and admitted to having struggled with drug abuse, which he spoke on throughout the rest of his life, saying he didn’t blame studios for not wanting to work with him.
Tommy Kirk Age
Tommy Kirk was born on December 10, 1941, in Louisville, Kentucky. He died on September 28, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was 79.
Tommy Kirk Gay
Tommy Kirk publicly came out as gay in 1973. During the production of “The Misadventures of Merlin Jones,” which was released in 1964, Kirk, then 21, began seeing a 15-year-old boy he had met at a swimming pool. Upon finding out Kirk was gay, Disney chose not to renew his contract.
“When I was about 17 or 18 years old, I finally admitted to myself that [I was gay and] wasn’t going to change,” he told Kevin Minton in an interview for a 1993 article titled “Sex, Lies, and Disney Tape: Walt’s Fallen Star” for Filmfax magazine. “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.”
He added: “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.”
Tommy Kirk Wife – Tommy Kirk Husband
Tommy Kirk was never married. He lived alone in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tommy Kirk Family
He was the son of Louis and Lucy Kirk. His father, Louis, was a mechanic who worked for the highway department; his mother, Lucy, was a legal secretary. He had three siblings: Joe, Andy and John. At the time of his death, his longtime friend Paul Petersen II said Kirk was ” estranged from what remains of his blood-family.”
Tommy Kirk Death
“My friend of many decades, Tommy Kirk, was found dead last night,” actor Paul Petersen announced on Facebook. “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.”
“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 Cause of Death
Tommy Kirk’s cause of death has not been released.
Tommy Kirk Net Worth
Tommy Kirk’s net worth is estimated to be $2 million.
Tommy Kirk Height
He was 5′ 9″ (1.75 m) tall.