34 Facts About Tommy Kirk


Thomas Lee Kirk was an American actor, best known for his performances in films made by Walt Disney Studios such as Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog, Swiss Family Robinson, The Absent-Minded Professor, and The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, as well as the beach-party films of the mid-1960s.


Tommy Kirk frequently appeared as a love interest for Annette Funicello or as part of a family with Kevin Corcoran as his younger brother and Fred MacMurray as his father.


Tommy Kirk struggled with drug addiction and depression for several years, appearing in a series of low-budget films before leaving the acting business in the mid-1970s.


Thereafter, Tommy Kirk opened a carpet cleaning business and lived a mostly ordinary life, occasionally appearing at fan conventions.


Tommy Kirk died at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2021.


Tommy Kirk was born in Louisville, Kentucky, one of four sons.


Tommy Kirk's father, Louis, was a mechanic who worked for the highway department; his mother, Lucy, was a legal secretary.

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Joe was not cast, losing out to Bobby Driscoll, but Tommy Kirk was, and he made his stage debut opposite Will Rogers Jr.


The performance was seen by an agent from the Gertz agency, who signed Tommy Kirk and succeeded in casting him in an episode of TV Reader's Digest, "The Last of the Old Time Shooting Sheriffs", directed by William Beaudine.


Tommy Kirk hosted short travelogues for the serial segment of the show's second season, sometimes with Annette Funicello.


Tommy Kirk did the voice-over narration for "The Eagle Hunters" and dubbing work for the Danish-made film Vesterhavsdrenge, shown on the Mickey Mouse Club as the serial "Boys of the Western Sea".


Around this time, it was announced that Tommy Kirk would appear as Young Davy Crockett, but this did not happen.


Tommy Kirk had the lead role in the film, a success at the box-office, and he became Disney's first choice whenever they needed someone to play an all-American teenager.


In July 1958, Tommy Kirk was cast in The Shaggy Dog, a comedy about a boy inventor, who under the influence of a magic ring, is repeatedly transformed into an Old English Sheepdog.


Shaggy Dog turned out to be a hit, gaining significantly larger rentals than Old Yeller, and Disney soon contacted Tommy Kirk, offering him another long-term contract and a role as middle son Ernst Robinson in another adventure film, Swiss Family Robinson, starring John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, Janet Munro, and Corcoran.


Tommy Kirk followed up with a secondary role in a fantasy comedy starring Fred MacMurray, The Absent-Minded Professor, another huge hit.


Tommy Kirk acted in a family comedy with MacMurray, Bon Voyage, with other family members played by Jane Wyman, Deborah Walley, and Corcoran.


On set, Tommy Kirk did not get along with his onscreen parents.


Tommy Kirk later admitted that his own neediness made him view MacMurray as a surrogate father, a role MacMurray had no wish to fulfill.


Tommy Kirk starred with Funicello in another overseas-shot story which screened in the United States on TV, but was released in some countries theatrically: Escapade in Florence.


In 1963, Tommy Kirk reprised his role as Travis Coates in Disney's Savage Sam, a sequel to Old Yeller, which reunited him with Corcoran and co-starred Brian Keith; it was not as well received as Old Yeller.


Tommy Kirk began to work steadily in television throughout 1956 and 1957 in episodes of Lux Video Theatre, Frontier, Big Town, Crossroads, Gunsmoke, Letter to Loretta and Matinee Theatre.


Tommy Kirk was cast as a Martian who arrives on Earth and falls in with a bunch of partying teenagers.


Tommy Kirk got along well with Buchanan and the two would often spend time together off-set.


Tommy Kirk said he reached bottom in 1970 when he did two movies that were not Screen Actors Guild, Ride the Hot Wind and Blood of Ghastly Horror, causing him to almost lose his SAG card.

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Tommy Kirk publicly came out as gay in a 1973 interview with Marvin Jones.


On Christmas Eve 1964, Tommy Kirk was arrested for suspicion of possession of marijuana at a house in Hollywood.


Tommy Kirk was replaced on How to Stuff a Wild Bikini by Dwayne Hickman, on The Sons of Katie Elder by Michael Anderson, Jr.


Tommy Kirk's initial casting in these films was announced in late 1964.


Tommy Kirk got over his drug addiction and gave up acting in the mid-1970s.


Tommy Kirk worked as a waiter and a chauffeur before going into the carpet-cleaning business in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, an operation which he ran for 20 years.


Tommy Kirk enjoyed writing and occasionally appearing at retro film conventions.


Tommy Kirk was inducted as a Disney Legend on October 9,2006, alongside his former co-stars Tim Considine and Kevin Corcoran.


Tommy Kirk died at his Las Vegas, Nevada home on September 28,2021, at the age of 79.