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Disney alumnus Tommy Kirk passes at 79- was forced to hide being gay

“I consider my teenage years as being desperately unhappy” stated Kirk. “I knew I was gay, but I had no outlet for my feelings”

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Thomas 'Tommy' Kirk as Travis Coates in Savage Sam (1963 publicity photo via The Walt Disney Studios)

LAS VEGAS – A former child actor who was a rising star in films distributed by the Walt Disney Studios in the late 1950’s and into the mid 1960’s passed away Tuesday at his home in Las Vegas. Thomas ‘Tommy’ Kirk was best known for his starring role as Travis Coates in the classic 1957 Disney film Old Yeller and its sequel, Savage Sam.

Kirk was part of the stable of young people mentored by Walt Disney himself and studio producers who were extremely popular and included other actors such as Kirk Russell, Hayley Mills, and his co-star in the 1959 Disney film, ‘The Shaggy Professor,’ Annette Funicello.

Throughout his career as an actor Kirk struggled with hiding his sexual orientation. In a 1993 interview with Starke, Florida-based film and theatre journalist Kevin Minton, titled “Sex, Lies, and Disney Tape: Walt’s Fallen Star,” Kirk said that he knew his sexuality would create problems with his career as well as with his “strict Baptist parents.”

I consider my teenage years as being desperately unhappy” stated Kirk. “I knew I was gay, but I had no outlet for my feelings. It was very hard to meet people and, at that time, there was no place to go to socialize. It wasn’t until the early ‘60s that I began to hear of places where gays congregated.”

Minton wrote that Kirk describes his early sexual exploration as “desperate and miserable”. Mostly brief encounters and teenage affairs, very “back alley kind of things.” According to Kirk,

When I was about 17 or 18 years old, I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t going to change. I didn’t know what the consequences would be, but I had the definite feeling that is was going to wreck my Disney career and maybe my whole acting career. Eventually, I became involved with somebody and I was fired.”

Disney was a family film studio and I was supposed to be their young, leading man. After they found out I was involved with someone, that was the end of Disney.”

It was 1964 and Kirk was twenty-three and found himself “box office poison.” His movies now would range from cute, campy fluff such as Pajama Party in 1964 to horrible movies like Mars Needs Women. Kirk explains,

After I was fired from Disney, I did some of the worst movies ever made and I got involved with a manager who said it didn’t matter what you did as long as you kept working.” Tommy’s personal life also took a downward spiral, getting mixed up with drugs. “I wound up completely broke. I had no self-discipline and I almost died of a drug overdose a couple of times. It’s a miracle that I’m still around.”

Tommy Kirk in the mid 1990’s (Screenshot via Youtube)

His death was announced on Facebook on Wednesday by 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,” Petersen added.

Kirk eventually discovered there is life outside of show business Minton wrote in his interview;

Finally, I said, to hell with the whole thing, to hell with show business. I’m gonna make a new life for myself, and I got off drugs, completely kicked all that stuff.

Kirk started a carpet and upholstery cleaning business and has it for over twenty years now. He told Minton that he wanted to be remembered for the Disney work, especially Swiss Family Robinson, his favorite.

In a bit of irony, the Disney company which is now know for its pro-active LGBTQ+ stance including its LGBTQ+ policies to support and affirm its employees, paid tribute via a tweet to Kirk marking his passage.

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Lil Nas X gives E! Pop his heartfelt message for LGBTQ+ youth

He’s made a major mark on LGBTQ representation in music- but like plenty of young queer people, he went through many struggles of his own

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Lil Nas X (Screenshot/YouTube E! Pop)

NEW YORK CITY – During the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s ceremony held last Thursday at the the Marriott Marquis in the center of the Theater District at Times Square, honoree Lil Nas X who was bestowed with the Hal David Starlight Award for promising young songwriters, gave E! Pop some words of wisdom for young members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Just keep going,” he exclusively told E! News’ Daily Pop at the 2022 Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony on June 16. “Keep trying new things and keeping your head up in this world.”

The “Industry Baby” rapper has made a major mark on LGBTQ+ representation in the music industry, but like plenty of young queer people, he went through many struggles of his own.

“There’s gonna be a lot of people, they wanna try to knock you down over and over,” the Grammy winner shared on the red carpet. “You’re gonna knock yourself down sometimes. There are gonna be a lot of intrusive thoughts you don’t want to be there, but just keep going.”

As for the celeb Lil Nas X was most excited to see in attendance? “I’m really nervous to meet Mariah [Carey],” he told Daily Pop, who herself was a part of this year’s Songwriting Hall of Fame inductees.

Also inducted into this year’s class was Pharrell Williams, who told E! News that he was feeling an “immense sense of gratitude.”

“But then, the other side of is it like, ‘Damn, what am I doing here?'” Williams said. “There are legends in here tonight. And so, just to be in the same room with them is a complete honor, and again, just give honor and reverence to everything that they have done.”

Lil Nas X REALLY Nervous to Meet Mariah Carey | Daily Pop | E! News:

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Australian newspaper claims its inquiry forced Rebel Wilson to self-Out

Wilson had announced her relationship on an Instagram post this past week with a picture of herself alongside Agruma

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Rebel Wilson/Twitter account

SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia – A columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, one of Australia’s largest daily newspapers, disclosed in an op-ed piece published Saturday June 11, (Friday U.S.) that the paper had sent a request for comment to actress Rebel Wilson on her latest romantic partner, LA leisure wear designer Ramona Agruma.

The piece, written by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Hornery, says that;

“[…] this media outlet emailed Rebel Wilson’s representatives on Thursday morning, giving her two days to comment on her new relationship with another woman, … before publishing a single word.”

According to Hornery, “Up to now, Wilson had identified publicly as a heterosexual woman.”

Wilson, had announced her relationship on an Instagram post this past week with a picture of herself alongside Agruma writing;

“I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince… but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess 💗🌈💗#loveislove

Hornery took aim at what he alluded to as a bit of hypocrisy in Wilson’s Insta post writing:

Wilson opted to gazump the story, posting about her new “Disney Princess” on Instagram early Friday morning, the same platform she had previously used to brag about her handsome ex-boyfriend, wealthy American beer baron Jacob Busch.

She even had her “bestie”, the actor Hugh Sheridan, doing radio interviews on breakfast FM on Friday morning, during which he gloated about introducing the women to each other six months ago. Apparently they had hit it off pretty much immediately, but had kept the relationship under wraps.”

Hornery also pointed out that the actress had previously sued another publication;

Considering how bitterly Wilson had complained about poor journalism standards when she successfully sued Woman’s Day for defamation, her choice to ignore our discreet, genuine and honest queries was, in our view, underwhelming.

Of course who anyone dates is their business, but Wilson happily fed such prurient interest when she had a hunky boyfriend on her arm.

Wilson had sued in the Victorian Supreme Court, Melbourne, Australia, and on June 15, 2017 was awarded AUD$4.56 million ($3.6 million, £2.7 million) after winning a defamation action against Woman’s Day magazine.

The jury decided that Wilson was defamed in eight articles in 2015 calling her a serial liar.

“The damage suffered by Miss Wilson warrants a substantial damages award to vindicate her and nail the lie,” Justice John Dixon said and added:

“Substantial vindication can only be achieved by an award of damages that underscores that Ms Wilson’s reputation as an actress of integrity was wrongly damaged in a manner that affected her marketability in a huge worldwide marketplace.”

Afterwards the actress tweeted she would give any payout to charity.

Hornery was critical of Wilson’s actions noting:

This is understood to be Wilson’s first same-sex relationship, at age 42 and in an era when same-sex marriage is legal in many parts of the world and – thanks to decades of battling for equality – sexual orientation is no longer something to be hidden, even in Hollywood.

Up to now, Wilson had identified publicly as a heterosexual woman. It is unlikely she would have experienced the sort of discrimination let alone homophobia – subconscious or overt – that sadly still affects so many gay, lesbian and non-hetero people.

The Blade has reached out to Wilson’s management team for comment.

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Crown Prosecution Service UK charges Kevin Spacey with sexual assault

The CPS told the BBC it could not confirm or deny whether or not Spacey will need to be extradited to the UK

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Screenshot/Sky News UK

LONDON – The Crown Prosecution Service announced Thursday that actor Kevin Spacey has been charged with five counts including three complaints relating to sexual abuse, which is alleged to have taken place in London, and one in Gloucestershire during the time period between 2005 and 2013.

Crown prosecutors told media outlets that the decision to move forward was based on a lengthy investigation by the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime Directorate at Scotland Yard. The Directorate is a national police agency which handles specialist crime investigations such as e-crime, sex crimes (paedophile unit) or kidnappings.

In its reporting Thursday, the BBC outlined the cases against the actor.

The first two charges relate to alleged sexual assaults on a man, now in his 40s, in London in March 2005, while a second alleged victim, a man now in his 30s, is claimed to have been assaulted in London in August 2008.

The serious sexual offence charge – causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent – also relates to the second alleged victim.

The third complainant relates to an alleged assault on a man who is now in his 30s in Gloucestershire in April 2013.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS Special Crime Division, told the BBC that following the Met’s review of evidence the CPS had “authorised criminal charges against Kevin Spacey, 62, for four counts of sexual assault against three men”.

She added: “The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Mr Spacey are active and that he has the right to a fair trial.”

The CPS told the BBC it could not confirm or deny whether or not Spacey will need to be extradited to the UK.

Spacey’s alleged sexual assaults occurred while he was living in London and employed as the renowned Old Vic Theatre’s artistic director in London between 2004 and 2015.

Spacey has been embroiled publicly and later in court over sexual assault allegations since October of 2017 when Out actor Anthony Rapp told the world that the Oscar-winning actor had tried to “seduced” him when Rapp was 14 years old. 

Rumours about Spacey’s behaviour had circulated in film and theatre circles for a considerable length of time previous to Rapp’s allegation.

Spacey’s response was immediate. He apologized and came out. “I’m beyond horrified to hear his story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years,” Spacey wrote on Twitter.

“This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me, and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my own privacy,” Spacey said, adding “I now chose to live as a gay man.”

In July of 2019, Cape and Island District Attorney Michael O’Keefe announced that a charge against Spacey which accused the actor of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old boy in a Nantucket, Mass. bar had been dropped.

In court documents, Cape and Island District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said the charge was dropped “due to an unavailability of the complaining witness.”

News anchor Heather Unruh accused Spacey of getting her son, William Little, drunk at the Club Car, a bar in Nantucket, Mass., and groping him in July 2016 when Little was 18 years old.

In October of 2019, the office of then Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that prosecutors have declined to move forward in a sexual battery case against the actor because the accuser had died.

That case, one of several involving accusations of sexual misconduct and assault by the Oscar winning actor, allegedly occurred after an October 2016 incident. A masseur had claimed that Spacey had inappropriately touched him in a sexual manor at a private home in Malibu as he was giving Spacey a massage.

A statement released by the LADA’s office notes that the masseur’s allegations against could not be proven without his participation in court proceedings. The alleged victim had also civil suit pending in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against Spacey for the same incident.

Kevin Spacey charged with sexual assault:

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