'Adventures of Rin Tin Tin' Star Lee Aaker Dies 'Alone and Unclaimed'

According to fellow child star Paul Petersen, the actor passed away at the age of 77 in Arizona 'alone and unclaimed' and was 'listed as an indigent decedent.'

AceShowbiz - "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" star Lee Aaker has died aged 77.

Child star Aaker played Rusty in 164 episodes of the 1950s TV show, and passed away on 1 April (21) in Arizona, according to Paul Petersen - fellow child star from "The Donna Reed Show".

According to Petersen's post on Facebook, Aaker died "alone and unclaimed" and was "listed as an 'indigent decedent.' " Petersen is now working on sorting burial benefits for Air Force veteran Aaker.

As well as starring in "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin", which followed the talents of a German shepherd called Rin Tin Tin, Aaker appeared in movies such as "The Atomic City" in 1952, "Hondo" in 1953, and "Bye Bye Birdie" in 1963.

His final acting gig came in "The Lucy Show" in 1963, after which he lived off a $100,000 (£72,000) lump payment from the makers of "Rin Tin Tin".

Aaker, who wed once and later divorced, went on to work as a carpenter and sports instructor before he fell on hard times.

The former child star reportedly taught sports to people with disabilities and underprivileged kids.

"Saying Goodbye to Lee Aaker. You have to be a certain age to remember Rin Tin Tin," Paul Petersen wrote in his somber post. "As an Air Force veteran Lee is entitled to burial benefits. I am working on that. God knows when a sparrow falls."

The two met on "The Donna Reed Show" where he did bit parts after "Tin Tin" ended.

"Suddenly after the series was canceled and I began doing guest shots, I realized that something had changed - I wasn't the center of attention any more," Aaker once said. "My folks had always told me that my career might not last, but when it happened, it was still a hard thing for me to adjust to."

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