More Kirk....

Dan Shane danshane at
Wed Dec 3 13:03:29 CET 2003

MATT (the mighty King of Duckburg) WRITES:

> Thanks to Dan for the fascinating info on Tommy Kirk.  I have a lot of
> nostalgia wrapped up in the live-action Disney films, and I found the post
> quite fascinating.  I was just curious if you could point me in the
> direction
> of a book or article about Kirk and/or the firing.  How clear was it that
> he
> was fired because he was homosexual?  Was this a Walt decision?  How
> openly did
> Kirk come out of the closet?


Here's a link to an in-depth interview with Tom Kirk that details his
dismissal (apparently at Walt's insistence) and subsequent life.

According to an interview in Sean Griffin's book "Tinker Belles and Evil
Queens" it wasn't just Kirk's honesty that got his contract suspended in
1963.  Griffin writes: "Supposedly [Kirk] got too frisky with a boyfriend at
a public pool in Los Angeles, and the other boy's mother found out about it
and went to Disney," he says. "They called Tommy in and fired him."

So it was really growing public awareness of Kirk's orientation that caused
Walt to end his contract.  Bringing this topic back on track, Walt had
publicly defended one of his animators in the 1930s who had been brought up
on charges for homosexuality.  (This may be what Fabio was thinking of in
his original question.)  But once Walt had live-action actors representing
him on the silver screen he became more sensitive to public opinion.
Annette Funicello has often told the story about how Walt asked her not to
show her navel in the BEACH PARTY movies, citing her responsibility to
present a wholesome image as a "Disney girl".

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