Tommy Kirk, Disney Child Star Dies

His most memorable role included playing Travis Coates in the 1957 Disney classic Old Yeller.

Tommy Kirk was found dead in his Las Vegas home by a neighbour on Tuesday.  No cause of death has been given.



Kirk found success with Disney for a number of years, appearing in films like The Shaggy Dog, Babes in Toyland, Son of Flubber, and Swiss Family Robinson.

His first major role came in 1954 when he was cast in the Mickey Mouse Club.  Disney fired Kirk ten years later at the age of 21 when they learned that he was gay.


His death was announced on Facebook on Wednesday by a friend and fellow child star Paul Petersen, who wrote: “My friend of many decades, Tommy Kirk, was found dead last night. 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.”