’50s Child Star Recalls Working With Kirk Douglas

Former child star Beverly Washburn, who starred in Disney’s 1950 film “Old Yeller,” is revisiting memories of what it was like to work alongside Kirk Douglas and other celebrities.

The actress was 8 years old when she was cast alongside Douglas in “The Juggler” in 1953. She was just starting out in her career and although she was performing alongside an icon, she admitted to Fox News that she did not know who Douglas was at the time. 

“He was so nice to me,” she said. “I didn’t realize who Kirk Douglas was because when you’re 8 years old, you don’t have that same concept. But I remember my parents were so thrilled that I got to work with him and I loved it. It wasn’t until I became an adult and realized how blessed I was to work with someone like Kirk Douglas.”

Washburn recalled how, years later, she wound up acting with Douglas’ son, Michael, on the 1970’s TV series “The Streets of San Francisco.” 

“That was also another wonderful experience,” she said. “He was so kind and got a kick out of me telling him that I worked with his dad as a child. He was very sweet, calm and just a dear. I’m grateful I had the chance to work with father and son.”

In a previous interview with Startrek.com, Washburn revealed that “Old Yeller” was one of the films she was most proud of. 

“That was also a wonderful time in my life because I got to have school with all the Mouseketeers from ‘The Mickey Mouse Club,'” she said. “I’m still in touch with most of them and, in fact, saw many of them at Annette Funicello’s memorial service. She was the sweetest person in the world. So I’m just incredibly proud to be a part of ‘Old Yeller.’ Movies today have changed so much, but that movie lives in on many people’s hearts. I’ve had grown men tell me they can’t watch it because it’s too sad and makes them cry.”

Washburn has starred alongside many prominent celebrities during her extensive career. She has also found herself working with comedians including Lou Costello, best known for being half of the legendary comedy duo with Bud Abbott and their routine “Who’s on First?” 

Looking back, Washburn admitted she was a “huge fan” of Costello and was thrilled to work with him in an episode of “Wagon Train.” 

“He was so much fun to work with,” she said. “He later was kind enough to mention my name in a book because he had never done a serious role before. He said, “There was a little girl that I worked with by the name of Beverly Washburn and I couldn’t have done it without her.” That just touched my heart so much. I’ve been blessed to work with a lot of terrific, kind people.”

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