Veteran actor and former child star Lee Aaker has sadly passed away. Famous for playing the orphan Rusty alongside his German shepherd friend in The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin In the 1950s, Aaker reportedly suffered a stroke and died on April 1 near Mesa, Arizona. The actor was 77 years old.
Paul Petersen, a former Donna Reed Show star who now serves as an advocate for former child stars, said THR that Aaker had been battling drug and alcohol abuse. In the end, the actor was left with a “surviving relative who was unable to help him,” and Aaker’s death certificate listed him as a “destitute deceased.” Petersen was helping to get him a proper burial.
“You’re here just to please everyone,” Petersen added of the former child actors, “and when there’s nothing left, they break up with you.”
Aaker is perhaps best known for playing Rusty, a boy raised by American cavalry soldiers at Fort Apache, on the classic television series. The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. The series aired on ABC on Friday nights for five seasons between 1954 and 1959. The series also starred James E. Brown, Joe Sawyer, and Rand Brooks. Aaker took on the role after failing to audition for the original. Girl series, though he was close friends with Tommy Rettig, the child actor who picked up the Girl paper.
Born on September 25, 1943, Aaker took an early interest in acting. Before The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Aaker appeared in the movies The greatest show in the world Y Noon at the young age of 8 years. Then he would star in kidnappings in the movies. Full House of O. Henry Y The atomic city that same year. In 1953, Aaker worked with John Wayne on the classic western movie. Deep like the son of Geraldine Page. His other film credits include Danger, Sand, Lord Scoutmaster, Y Ricochet Romance.
According to Aaker, he was paid a lump sum of $ 10,000 for his Rin Tin Tin working at the age of 21 before spending “the rest of the 60s traveling the world like some kind of flower boy.” He had little luck finding new acting roles as an adult, leading to his retirement as an actor while pursuing production and carpentry work. Still, in 2005, her work as a child star was praised when she won the Golden Boot Award as Children of the west.
On his Facebook page, Paul Petersen posted a message saying goodbye to his friend. Post reads: “Say goodbye to Lee Aaker. You must be of a certain age to remember Rin Tin Tin. Lee Aaker passed away in Arizona on April 1, alone and unclaimed … listed as a ‘homeless deceased’. As an Air Force veteran, Lee is entitled to burial benefits. I am working on it. God knows when a sparrow falls. “
His work on the big and small screen has earned Aaker a place in Hollywood history, ensuring that he will always be remembered long after his passing. May he rest in peace. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.