Bobby Driscoll

Bobby Driscoll


3/3/1937, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA



Birth Name

Robert Cletus Driscoll



Also Known As

Robert Driscoll, Bob Driscoll
out of 10
User Rating
2 votes


Bobby Driscoll is a natural born actor. His talents were discovered in a barber shop when he was only five and a half years old. He is best known for his roles in "The Fighting Sullivans," "Song of the South," "So Dear to My Heart," and "The Window."


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Bobby's death was not publicly known until the re-release of Song of the South in 1971 when reporters attempted to track down original cast members for an interview. It was through his mother that they finally learned the truth of his tragic death.

    • About 19 months after Bobby's death, Bobby's mother sought the help of officials at the Disney studio in an attempt to reunite Bobby with his father, who was almost near death.

    • Bobby became part of Andy Warhol's Greenwich Village art community (also known at The Factory) to focus on his artistic talents. He was encouraged to do so by Wallace Berman, a famed impressionist. Some of Bobby's work was temporarily exhibited in Los Angeles at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

    • Bobby's first brush with the law was in 1956 when he was arrested for possession of marijuana. The charge was dismissed, however.

    • Bobby enjoyed his co-starring roles with Loretta Young, Gloria Swanson, and Jane Wyman.

    • After the release of Peter Pan, Disney was caught stating that he considered Bobby to be more of a juvenile bully rather than the characters he portrayed in the movies.

    • Bobby did the voice of Goofy Jr. in the Disney cartoon shorts Fathers are People (1951) and Father's Lion (1952).

    • Bobby made a brief guest appearance in Walt Disney's very first Christmas Show (also known as One Hour in Wonderland) in 1950. The show was hosted by Kathryn Beaumont, his co-star in the upcoming movie Peter Pan.

    • Bobby was once considered for the role of Tom Sawyer in Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer.

    • Treasure Island was filmed in Britain. Bobby went there to act but, as a result of not possessing a valid British work permit, was heavily fined and was ordered to leave the country along with his family and Walt Disney.

    • Bobby worked with actress Margaret Kerry in If You Knew Susie and Peter Pan.

    • Bobby received his Academy Award from Donald O'Connor.

    • Bosley Crowther, a reporter and film reviewer from the New York Times wrote: "Bobby Driscoll is a brilliant actor. The Window is Bobby Driscoll's picture. Make no mistake about it."

    • Bobby and Luana Patten were considered to be Walt Disney's "Sweetheart Team."

    • Bobby celebrated his 9th birthday on the set of Song of the South. Walt Disney and director Harve Foster were there to help celebrate.

    • Bobby Driscoll and his co-star Luana Patten (from Song of the South) were both considered for juvenile Academy Awards in 1946, but in 1947, they decided not to present any juvenile awards at all.

    • Bobby earned the nickname "The Wonder Child" due to his naturalness in acting and his talent for memorization.

    • Although Bobby had only a 2 minute debut in Lost Angel, 20th Century Fox hired him out of a crowd of 500 children for the role as young Al Sullivan in The Fighting Sullivans in 1944.

    • While on a tour across the studio lot during his audition for Lost Angel, Bobby spied a mock-up ship and asked where the water was. The director was impressed by the boy's curiosity and intelligence, and selected from forty applicants, Bobby won the part.

    • A Los Angles barber discovered Bobby as a future actor. He urged Bobby's parents to get him into movies. With the help of the barber's actor son, they managed to get Bobby an audition with MGM for a small role in 1943's Lost Angel. There, he co-stared with Margaret O'Brien.

    • A doctor urged Bobby's family to move to California due to Cletus's pulmonic ailments he suffered due to his work-related handling of abestos. There, they settled in Los Angeles.

    • Just months after Bobby's birth, his family moved to Des Moines, Iowa; where they stayed until early 1943.

    • Bobby is the only child of Cletus Driscoll (an insulation salesman) and Kratz Driscoll (a former schoolteacher).

    • Bobby acted in American TV shows that include: Dragnet, Medic, Climax, Fireside Theatre, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, and TV Readers Digest.

    • Bobby performed the voice of Peter Pan in Peter Pan.

    • As a child, Bobby wanted to become a G-man.

    • Disney terminated Bobby's second term contract (covering 7 years) three years early - just weeks after the theatrical release of Peter Pan. Many believe his severe acne was the reason, but the truth is unknown.

    • Regardless of the fact that Bobby's character was animated, he was the first boy to ever play Peter Pan. Before then, only women played Peter Pan.

    • Bobby was the first actor to sign a long-term deal with Walt Disney's animation department.

    • Bobby was married to Marilyn Jean Rush from March 1957 - 1960. He had 3 children from that marriage.

    • Bobby's body was believed to be a homeless person. Therefore, he was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave on Hart Island until his fingerprints revealed his true identity.

    • Bobby's body was found by 2 children playing in an abandoned East Village tenement.

    • Bobby's final movie was Piero Heliczer's Underground movie Dirt (1965).

    • Upon his release from rehabilitation in 1962, Bobby was eager to make a comeback in his acting. He was shunned and ignored. Hoping to continue his career elsewhere, he traveled to New York, but was also ignored.

    • Bobby had several encounters with the law and was eventually sentenced as a drug addict in October of 1961. He was sent to Narcotic Rehabilitation Center of the California State Penitentiary at Chino.

    • After high school, Bobby continued his acting career - scoring roles in The Scarlet Coat (1955) and The Party Crashers (1958).

    • Bobby attended Westwood University High School for one year, then returned to the Hollywood Professional School were he graduated in 1955.

    • Bobby attended the talent-supporting Hollywood Professional School. His mother transferred him when his contract with Disney was prematurely shortened in late March of 1953.

    • Animators used Bobby Driscoll as a model for the animated movie Peter Pan.

    • A severe case of acne put Bobby's acting career on hold at the age of 16.

    • For Bobby's role as Jim Hawkins in Walt Disney's Treasure Island, he 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 both TV and radio).

    • Bobby's role in The Window earned him his first Academy Award as outstanding juvenile actor of the year 1949. He was the ninth of only twelve children in Hollywood's history to receive this.

    • Bobby's acting career spans 17 years (1943-1960).

  • Quotes

    • Bobby Driscoll: (Standing before a California judge in 1961 on his drug addiction) I had everything. I was earning more than $50,000 a year, working steadily with good parts. Then I started putting all my spare time in my arm. I'm not really sure why I started using narcotics. I was 17 when I first experimented with the stuff. In no time at all I was using whatever was available, mostly heroin, because I had the money to pay for it.

    • Bobby Driscoll: (on his adolescence) I really feared people. The other kids didn't accept me. They treated me as one apart. I tried desperately to be one of the gang. When they rejected me, I fought back, became belligerent and cocky and was afraid all the time.

    • Bobby Driscoll: (on his rise and fall in Hollywood) I have found that memories are not very useful. I was carried on a silver platter and then dumped into the garbage can.

  • The most successful child actor ever!

    I know it may sound exaggerating, but Bobby Driscoll is probably the most successful child actor of all time! I think he definitely deserves to be honored as a Disney Legend, and I hope he will in the future! You can definitely let him charm you with his roles in quite a few Disney films, including Song Of The South, So Dear To My Heart, and Treasure Island! And get this: Bobby was even the voice of Peter Pan in Disney's Peter Pan! Forget Shirley Temple, folks! Bobby Driscoll is the real deal of a great child actor! RIP, Bobby Driscoll! We'll never forget you!moreless