Tommy Kirk, the child star in ‘Old Yeller,’ has died at 79

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tommy Kirk, a child star who played in Disney films such as “Old Yeller” and “The Shaggy Dog,” has died. He was 79. Kirk’s longtime friend and former child star, Paul Petersen, says he was found dead in his Las Vegas home on Tuesday. The cause of death has not been released. Petersen says Kirk lived a private life as a gay man and was estranged from what “remains of his blood family.” Kirk’s big break came when he starred as Travis Coates in the 1957 film “Old Yeller,” a story about a teenage boy and his heroic yellow dog.