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Monday, January 09, 2006

Tommy Rettig (1941-1996) played Jeff Miller on "Lassie" on TV from 1954-1957 and had also made seven movies. After "Lassie", parts were hard to obtain and he drifted through many jobs after marrying his childhood sweetheart. He got involved with drugs in the 1970's and was lucky to have a cocaine conviction overturned. He was unhappy with his life and mentioned that he considered suicide every day during his twenties. By the 1980's he had found a niche as a successful computer programmer. His ex-wife mentioned that he was fond of any foods that were fatty and that is probably what killed him at 54 in 1996 as he died from heart failure.
Although finally reaching a level of success in the business world, Tommy Rettig still had endured 25 years of anguish over losing his stardom after his departure from "Lassie" in 1957. His death was said to be from natural causes but it makes one wonder if stress may have been a factor.
The saga of the child actor: some made it, some didn’t, but they are all interesting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim!

Many thanks for your interesting blog about child stars. I enjoyed seeing Tommy Rettig in two of the movies when he co-starred with Clifton Webb. The movies were "Elopement" and "For Heaven's Sake". He was a natural as an actor. I had read earlier that he had alot of rough years but towards the end of his life he developed a computer program that is still used today. I enjoyed reading the "Black and White" piece because I grew up watching all those shows, too! Today dysfunctional shows seem to be the order of the day. Anybody can have a dysfunctional lifestyle. I think we need to get back to watching people trying to be happy and having morals!

Best wishes,