Tommy Kirk, ‘Old Yeller’ child star, dead at 79


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The actor passed away peacefully at his home, his co-star Beverly Washburn confirmed to Granthshala News

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“Old Yeller” star Tommy Kirk has passed away, Granthshala News can confirm. He was 79 years old.

Kirk’s “Old Yeller” co-star Beverly Washburn confirmed that the actor died “peacefully” Tuesday night at her home in Las Vegas.


“He was so loved,” Washburn told Granthshala News in a statement. “Anyone who has ever met Tommy can attest to the fact that he was such a fan-friend.”

Kirk’s longtime friend Paul Peterson shared a tribute to the actor on Facebook. Pietersen also pointed to Kirk’s love for his fans.

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’50s Child Star Beverly Washburn Reminisces Filming Disney’s ‘Old Yeller’: ‘It Destroyed’ Grown Men

“Please know that Tommy Kirk loves you, his fans.” Peterson wrote. “When an industry let them down in 1965, you raised them up.”

Kirk found success in acting, but got his big break after being cast as Travis Coates in “Old Yeller.” The actor starred as Disney’s go-to All-American teenager in a handful of movies, including “The Shaggy Dog” and “Swiss Family Robinson.”

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Kirk would officially retire from acting by 2006.

Washburn, who also lives in Las Vegas, and Kirk were set to attend the upcoming “Old Yeller” reunion.

The ’50s child star used one word to describe Kirk: “Kind.”

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