Bobby Driscoll was a natural-born actor. Discovered by chance at the age of five-and-a-half in a barber shop in Altadena, CA. and then convincing in anything he ever undertook on the movie screen and on television throughout his career spanning 17 years (1943-1960). Includes such notable movie screen appearances as The Sullivans (1944), Song of the South (1946), So Dear to My Heart (1948), and The Window (1949), which was not only the sleeper of 1949 but even earned him his Academy Award in March 1950 as the outstanding juvenile actor of 1949. For his role as Jim Hawkins in Walt Disney’s Treasure Island (1950), he eventually received his Hollywood Star on 1560 Vine Street, and in 1954 he was chosen in a nation-wide poll for a Milky Way Gold Star Award (for his work on TV and radio). But all the more tragic, then, was his fruitless struggle to find a place in a pitiless adolescent world after severe acne had stalled his acting career at 16. When his face was no longer charming and his voice not smooth enough to be used for voice-over jobs, his last big movie hit was the voice of animated Peter Pan (1953), for which he was also the live-action model. When his contract with the Disney studios was prematurely terminated shortly after the release of Peter Pan (1953) in late March 1953, his mother additionally took him from the talent-supporting Hollywood Professional School, which he attended by then. On his new School, the public Westwood University High School, on which he graduated in 1955, all of a sudden his former stardom became more burden than advantage. He successfully continued acting on TV until 1957 and even managed to get two final screen roles; in The Scarlet Coat (1955) and opposite of Mark Damon and Connie Stevens in The Party Crashers (1958). His life became more and more a roller coaster ride that included several encounters with the law and his eventual sentencing as a drug addict in October 1961. Released in early 1962, rehabilitated and eager to make a comeback, Bobby was ignored by the very industry that once had raised and nurtured him, because of his record as a convict and former drug addict. First famous… now infamous. Hoping to revive his career on the stage after his parole had expired in 1964, he eventually traveled to New York, only to learn that his reputation had preceded him, and no one wanted to hire him there, either. After a final appearance in ‘Piero Heliczer”s Underground short _Dirt_, in 1965 and a short art-period at Andy Warhol’s so-called Factory, he disappeared into the underground, thoroughly dispirited, funds depleted. On March 30, 1968, two playing children found his dead body in an abandoned East Village tenement. Believed to be an unclaimed and homeless person, he was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave on Hart Island, where he remains.
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