The movie world suffered a massive heartbreak on Wednesday, when it was announced that actor Tommy Kirk has passed away at the age of 79. While the cause of death is currently unknown, a Facebook post from actor Paul Petersen revealed that Kirk was found dead on Tuesday, September 28th. Kirk charmed a generation of fans from his work in Disney films such as Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog, and Swiss Family Robinson, as well as The Mickey Mouse Club's Hardy Boys serials. After being outed as gay and fired from his long-term contract with Disney, Kirk continued to make a string of films in the 1960s and 1970s, some of which have become cult classics.
In the time since Kirk's passing was first announced, fans and other creatives have taken to social media to pay their respects to the actor, and to pay tribute to some of his most well-known roles. Here are a few of those responses.
I am so sad to hear of Tommy Kirk’s passing. I loved him very much. I never met him, but I had an enormous crush on him. Later in my life I realized what a fine actor he was. The crush remains.— Annette O'Toole (@creamofwool) September 29, 2021
He was in a few classic Disney movies that are still watched and enjoyed to this day. But I bet his Disney fans haven't seen those films as many times as I've seen Catalina Caper and Village of the Giants. Rest In Peace, Tommy Kirk. https://t.co/bkViPUcR0H— Frank Conniff (@FrankConniff) September 30, 2021
Tearing up at the news that Tommy Kirk passed away.
I grew up watching Old Yeller (I don’t know if I can ever watch it again because I remember it being so sad) and Swiss Family Robinson. Watched the latter so many times. It was one of my most-watched at one point. pic.twitter.com/epDxdAabmz— Meredith Riggs (@MeredithRiggs39) September 29, 2021
Rest In Peace Tommy Kirk whose Disney films Swiss Family Robinson, The Shaggy Dog, Old Yeller, The Monkey’s Uncle and more are some of the greatest ever. Bless his soul 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/1LlmCIP8kZ— The Girly Nerd (@The_Girly_Nerd) September 29, 2021
My heart is sad. RIP Tommy Kirk. May your memory be a blessing always. pic.twitter.com/T2mnJdlVtR— 🧚🏽♀️Jewel’s Vaxxed 3x & Masked 🔯🏳️🌈 (@JewelResists) September 29, 2021
Thinking about Tommy Kirk... I was born well over a decade after he made his last Disney film, but growing up I saw his stuff all the time and he was as much a movie star to me as any others of the then-current era. And those films are still being watched ~60 years later.— Progress City (@ProgressCityUSA) September 29, 2021
Rest in peace, Tommy Kirk, and thank you for the memories! pic.twitter.com/eHUbB2RL7e— Tom Kidd (@FabulousThomasJ) September 29, 2021
Farewell, sweet boyhood crush, Tommy Kirk. His was not an untroubled life, but he knew who he was, and that means much. “I'm not ashamed of being gay, never have been, and never will be. For that I make no apologies.” Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/nGPHqcvK84— Brad Craft (@UsedbuyerBrad) September 29, 2021