“Bobby Driscoll had a very rough childhood. I know that his father used to whack him around a lot, when he was very young. His parents used to lock him in the closet all night. He’d have to sit there in the dark.”
Isabelle Driscoll (Bobby’s mother)
“Drugs changed him, that’s when he became belligerent. Then he didn’t care about his appearance or cleanliness, he didn’t bathe, his teeth got loose. He had an extremely high I.Q., but the narcotics affected his brain.”
Isabelle Driscoll (Bobby’s mother)
“Our minister had a theory, he said later that Bobby just didn’t want to be a ‘good little boy’ anymore. He’d been too good. He wanted to be just the reverse. Maybe that was it.”
Daniel Driscoll (Bobby and Marilyn’s son)
“What I remember a lot of things about my mom, you know, she was a really nice, beautiful person, and that’s how I remember her. She was short, soft-spoken; my aunt and my mom’s sister told me that she was quite artistic. My mom developed schizophrenia, you know when my mom and my dad met, I think she was eighteen, and I’m not sure how much that manifested in their early relationship, but I do remember as a child, five- or six-years-old living with my mom, and her having some of the symptoms of schizophrenia. She eventually was put in the California State Hospital. I do remember my mom being a really nice, wonderful person, very soft-spoken and very loving; that’s how I remember her mostly.”
“He was a wonderful, wonderful person; you can be assured of that. People preyed on his weaknesses, and he didn’t have good parenting. And if he had better friends- if I were a better friend- you don’t know what could’ve happened.”
“I ran into him when he was… pretty high. And it was a different human being, and I worried so. I did the Ed Sullivan Show, I was voted the ‘Young Star of Tomorrow’ kind of thing, and he showed up there, at the Ed Sullivan Show, and he was- this was towards the end he was living in the Village. He was very complimentary and sweet. He looked fine, but he wasn’t fine. He needed some money, and I was worried where he was living, and who was taking care of him, was he together with his wife, which he wasn’t… and what was going on in his life, but you know what happens, someone comes along, and right in the middle of that conversation when you finally get to it, somebody whisks you away. And I- ‘I’ll be back!’… And that was the last time I saw him.”
“He had a certain strength about him, fortitude about him, and he was very determined. And people did have strength; we were all very wellful, and we were all independent and ran our lives very wellfully, and we were very strong. So, Bobby was in that nature of being very strong, but he was very affected by drugs too, like LSD and methamphetamine, and I was doing the same thing, and so were other people in our group. So, Bobby wasn’t doing this exclusively; he was doing it as part of a general culture”. [on Bobby at the Factory]
“I don’t see Bobby until the wedding where he marries Didi and then takes off for New York with her, and that to me was the slippery slope.”
“A newspaper clipping says the ‘First Human in Walt Disney Films is Now the First Human To Be Treated for Narcotics as an Illness, Not a Crime.’ And so, Bobby goes off to the penitentiary, and I communicated with him, and the first letter that he sent me from the penitentiary says, ‘There are no nurses here’. They lied to him.”
“I think he was a predecessor in the Berman Semina circle: Billy Grey, Russ Tamblyn, Dean Stockwell, and Dennis Hopper. And Bobby was there before any of them. Bobby told Wally that there was a guy ready to be turned out, and it was Russ Tamblyn.”
“It was fun just working with him. I admired him so, and I knew that this was a new phase of his career, getting a film. And so, I was conscious of sort of taking care of him, you know? Making sure everything went well. I’m kind of a nurturing person, it comes with my Italian heritage, and I seem to want to take care of everybody that needs to be taken care of.”
“In Bobby’s case, when his Disney contract was cut short, he was thrust back into the civilian world. You know, this is not the days of perpetual residuals. If you wanted to make a living as an actor, you had to work. If you wanted to support your parents, who had grown accustomed to pretty good income, you needed to get jobs. And he was not employable, simple. He had a brutal time in high school, teased all the time, he really couldn’t defend himself, and it’s no surprise to me that by age seventeen, he was already experimenting with drugs and alcohol.”
“I heard that- I don’t know if this is true or not- but I heard that he tried to go into the studio, and they said, ‘Nah, no more. Can’t come in anymore.’ He didn’t even know he was fired until he tried to get into the studio.”
“He made such an impact. I think he was a screen actor primarily because on the screen, he- those eyes, mouth- he became very three-dimensional, larger than life. And I think that was his real impact when he was a child. He just captured you, whoever was looking.”
Robert (Bobby) Blake
“I hooked up with Bobby Driscoll and several other people who were all child actors; we were all drugging – especially marijuana.”
“I do remember for a publicity press, he and I went on sort of a tour of the Hollywood area and took in several different places. As Bobby was taking Alice into the Wonderland of Hollywood, sort of. He was really friendly, just as he appeared on the screen, and just as he appeared in person. He was a friendly nice young man. We had a lot of fun together. I can remember there was an ice cream place where they wound up. And we just had a wonderful time having ice cream and just enjoying talking together”. – Katheryn Beaumont
“He really was a sweet guy. A lovely guy, a dear friend. He was responsible for one of the real high points of my life. That’s how I remember him.”
“He turned me on to Bach when I was 15. I remember he came up to me so excited, ‘You’ve got to hear this!’ It was Brandenburg Concerto No.5. It was incredible. It really blew me away. And I never listened to any other music after that. Bach was my guy, that was it for me. It’s given me so much joy throughout my life. And then I immersed myself into his extensive collection of work. I still thank [Bobby] for that.”
Luana Patten related how she and Bobby were in the studio limousine with their respective mothers when Bobby said something “unacceptable” to Luana, and his mother hit him so hard that he wound up in the floor of the limousine, bleeding from a scratch on his cheek caused by her ring. He didn’t cry, however, and I think Disney was pissed off with Mrs. Driscoll because they had to film around the scratch for a couple of days – I guess they were afraid that makeup might cause an infection.
Diane di Prima
‘met Dee Dee and Bobbie Driscoll, and bought them coffee, Dee Dee lovely in an olive green dress and blue polo shirt, I admired her for it, she felt terrible, beat and tired, and had been fighting with Bobbie and they both have to get out of their place, which is the old Michael Smith place where Johnnie Dodd has made a wall of 160 thousand George Washington stamps with the profiles cut out, and where they have been staying, but in spite of all she looked lovely with her dyed red hair, it is the west coast tradition and a kind of noblesse oblige, girls look lovely, even under the most adverse of circumstances. Bobbie looked beat, he will not live very long. Drug has him, Dee Dee knows this. Bought them coffee. […] Bobbie tied up and turned on in the men’s room. They went on their way to find Ondine.’ – Diane di Prima
‘I knew Bobby from his starring days with Disney to his tragic decline and fall in New York, when he would resort to any lie or scam to obtain money for his addiction to crystal meth. Bobby scammed me out of what he said was money needed for his rent when he was, in fact, homeless, and the money; I gave him went straight to his drug connection. I’m not the only victim of his scams: he could still be convincingly charming. (He was, after all, an actor) and a dealer in rare comic books was another of his patsies. In his thirties, looking like a bum with stubble on his face, he would still talk of making an acting comeback. I’m certain he didn’t believe it any more than anyone else did. In a sense, Bobby was a victim of Walt Disney, who dismissed him brutally when he turned into an awkward teenager with pimples. It broke Bobby’s heart, but no one ever explained to him that a child star has necessarily a short career — even Shirley Temple or Jackie Coogan or Cooper’. – Kenneth Anger
“We were buddies. We hung out before he moved to New York City. Then we just kind of lost touch after that. I later heard he was discovered overdosed in an abandoned building. And that was the end of it. He just never got his life together. It was horrible what happened to him.”
‘David Wyles walked in with a woman on his arm he had met at the coffee shop. He introduced her as Susanne. She was the ex-wife of Bobby Driscoll, the child actor busted for being the cat burglar of Malibu. He had been arrested and was doing time. She was lonely and just wandering around the beach area. She asked if we wanted to get high. She had a thick French accent; it sounded so good. We had been smoking pot but were open to some more. She pulled out a little black case and opened it. She had crystal methedrine, a syringe, spoon, and matches; she was a traveling shooting gallery. We all wanted to try it, but the needle was a first for us. She was so sweet, like your mother, as she tied off your arm. My veins are big, to begin with, but when you tie off my arm, well, they almost exploded up under the skin. She had no trouble slipping the needle into my arm. The crystals had been soaked and boiled in some water on the spoon and sucked up into the syringe. Once the needle was into my vein, she pushed on the plunger. As she injected the meth into my blood, I could feel its effect almost immediately; a warm sensation was rushing up from my feet to my head. I had never felt pure euphoria before. My only experience was with LSD, and that had a lot of mental stuff attached. This was different; it was pure feeling, no brain games. She shot us up, one by one. She seemed to enjoy turning us on. We gave her some money to cover the cost of the meth. Kip and I played our guitars for maybe eight hours. Our fingers were sore and about to bleed. The sun was coming up. Wow, the night had passed away, and we were still high and wired. We all went for a long walk on the boardwalk by the beach. No one could sleep. The comedown is a little rough: you’re tired but cannot sleep. Susanne came back the next day with the same stuff. We did it for three or four days. Meth is very addictive. It is so good in the early stages, but with long-term usage, you get skinny, your teeth fall out, and there is permanent brain damage. Susanne and a lot of other people were strung out on it. I could understand why.’
“Bobby was “the classic example of the perfect actor”: He could “become what he pretended.” George tried to imagine how it would feel to “give everything” to become someone else. Some days Bobby woke up and didn’t know who he was. Bobby was an addict and gave George some heroin once. “It’s anesthesia,” George said. “You don’t move.”
“Like many adolescents, he developed a rough complexion, you know, pimples and all that kind of stuff. And I guess Disney thought he was no longer useful for them.”
“1961 is when we left Larkspur. And then in Topanga, we stayed with Bobby, Susanne, and her son Nicky.
“Bobby visited up there and said, “You know, you can stay with us.”
“I worked with him in a movie called If You Knew Susie. It starred Eddie Cantor and Joan Davis, and he played my little brother. And we went to school together on that set, believe it or not. It was the two of us in a schoolroom that was 12′ by 12′, and we would work. So, I got to know him fairly well, although our age difference, of course. And he would go out and do his scenes and I would go out and do my scenes, and we’d do them together. And the interesting part to me was that I graduated high school doing that movie, so I didn’t have to go back to school the last three weeks I was working there, and Bobby said “Oh, come back, come back, please! Stay in the school, I’m all alone!” So, I would read to him and the teacher would work with him. He was a fun little guy to work with, always knew his lines perfectly, and was always listening carefully to the director. I was impressed with him as a little boy and as an actor.”
“I wouldn’t touch that story with a ten-foot pole. Maybe he’s making the whole thing up.” – Donald Fine, publisher at Arbor House. Said that Bobby had asked him to publish a book about his experience with sexual abuse at the Disney company.
“We moved in with Bobby Driscoll in Topanga Canyon. Bobby had lived down the alley in Hermosa Beach, and we had stayed close”.
“I had several long talks with Bobby. He’s emotionally troubled and needs help. There’s something going on. Something that’s been hushed up. Something that needs to be investigated. I abhor child abuse” – Jane Wyman, a friend of Bobby. She starred alongside him on the radio, and he appeared on her TV show.
“Excessive-I have another word for it.” – Burl Ives played Bobby’s uncle in So Dear to My Heart. He said this when asked if Disney’s attention towards Bobby seemed excessive.
“He came to the lot one day, and they wouldn’t let him in at the gate. They told him he was no longer able to come to the studio. That’s how he found out he was fired. He was devastated. He was treated so rudely by Hollywood. And he didn’t take the news well.”
“This [Disney Executive] gave Bobby a kiss. It wasn’t on the cheek. It was a wet one, real sloppy, that lingered far too long. It seemed inappropriate” – Ruth Warrick, played Bobby’s mother in Song of the South.
“He had a drug problem. He got into heroin. He just never found his way and made that choice.”
“Down the alley in Hermosa Beach Bobby Driscoll is living, and through Bobby I meet Dean Stockwell and Lester Ferguson”.