Tommy Rettig

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Tommy Rettig - ca. 1953

Tommy Rettig (born Thomas Noel Rettig on December 10, 1941 in Queens, New York - February 15, 1996, in Marina del Rey, California) was a popular American child actor of especially the 1950s, best known for his performance as Bartholomew Collins in Roy Rowland's screen musical adaption of Dr.Seuss' (born "Theodor Seuss Geisel") famous children book The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953), starring Hans Conried as eccentrically weird piano teacher Dr. Terwilliker and Peter Lind Hayes as the boy's befriended plumber August Zabladowski. In 1954 he co-starred as Robert Mitchum's screen son in the Western classic River of No Return opposite Marilyn Monroe, and an already established child star, he was eventually chosen to play the Midwestern farm boy Jeff Miller in the first Lassie television series, running from 1954-1957.

After his time with Lassie he temporarily retired from acting in order to lead a normal teenager's life and eventually married in 1959. Especially due to his shortness in height (5'4") his adult acting career never panned out. In the mid-1960s he finally quit acting and started working in common jobs to support his young family.

Although, by own statements, being happily married, his adult life was filled with several arrests and convictions for growing marijuana and importing cocaine, bankruptcy and an eventual divorce in 1977. He was also a long time advocate for the legalization of marijuana.

In the mid-1980s until his early death in 1996 Rettig became a computer software developer working on business application frameworks. He was regarded as one of the experts in the area of desktop PC database applications such as dBase in the community of FoxPro database developers.