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Lee Aaker (1943–2021), child star on “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin”

by Linnea Crowther

Lee Aaker was a child actor in the 1950s and ‘60s, best known for starring as Rusty on TV’s “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin.”

Childhood fame and later life

Aaker had been in more than a dozen movies before he got his role on “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin,” including “Jeopardy,” “Arena,” and a notable role in the John Wayne (1907–1979) film “Hondo.” Later, he made TV appearances on “Rescue 8,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “Make Room for Daddy,” and “The Lucy Show.” Among his final credits before leaving Hollywood was a small role in “Bye Bye Birdie.” Aaker had trouble getting work as an actor after he aged out of child roles. In later years, he was a carpenter and a ski instructor, working as an adaptive sports instructor for people with disabilities.

Tributes to Lee Aaker

Full obituary: The Hollywood Reporter

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