The 1953 Disney feature Peter Pan not only used the voice of actor Bobby Driscoll but he served as the model for the animated character. Disney’s Peter Pan had a sad ending in real life, drug addiction led to homelessness. At age 31 his body was discovered by two children playing in a tenement building in New York.
The body was unclaimed for more than a year until Driscoll’s mother pleaded with Disney to help find her son. Fingerprints from the body which was unclaimed and buried in Potter’s field as a John Doe. The official cause of death was listed as conclusive coronary arteriosclerosis or heart failure.
His voice was used for Walt Disney’s feature Peter Pan (1953) and an actual “acting” performance was filmed, then rotoscoped for the animated character. Rotoscoping is an animation technique in which animators trace over live-action film movement, frame by frame, for use in animated films. Originally, pre-recorded live-action film images were projected onto a frosted glass panel and re-drawn by an animator.
Final animated product, the actual live action shots of the mermaids.
The real life Tinker Bell Margaret Kerry
Like most child actors, his career declined after his teenage years. Driscoll suffered from severe acne; he used heavy makeup for roles on dozens of TV shows, which compromised most of his work in the 1950s. He also did voice work in a number of Disney productions. Dispirited, he grew ever more dependent on drugs and was arrested multiple times in California. Married in 1956, he had three children and was later divorced. Disappearing to New York, he made his last film appearance in filmmaker Piero Heliczer’s 1965 underground classic, Dirt, produced by Andy Warhol.
It would have been entertaining if someone had done a follow up film to Peter Pan on the dangers of drugs…
Peter Pan – After Never Land Starring Macaulay Culkin
It would make for a halfway decent dangers of drugs video, more powerful than the lame ones with the frying pans talking about this being your brain on drugs ala Gallagher. Macaulay Culkin would be perfect, he kinda looks like an elf. Besides that he’s basically unemployed and would probably do pretty much anything for drug money at this point in his career. His performance would have an air of authenticity you just can’t fake.
The Lost Boys on the tough streets only to crash back down only to find themselves on skid row selling their dignity to pay for their next trip to Never Land.
Come on Wendy let’s try some of this pixie dust and you can fly, you can fly and you’ll never grow up!
On a somewhat disturbing note Macaulay Culkin does bear an uncanny resemblance to Paris Hilton. And come to think of it no one has really seen or heard from Macaulay since the anorexically talented diva came to prominence a few years ago…