Tommy Rettig

Tommy Rettig

Infobox Person
name = Tommy Rettig

image_size = 150px
caption = Tommy Rettig in a publicity photo.
birth_name = Thomas Noel Rettig
birth_date = birth date|1941|12|10|mf=y
birth_place = Queens, New York
dead = dead
death_date = death date and age|1996|2|15|1941|12|10|mf=y
death_place = Marina del Rey, California
occupation = Actor; Computer Software engineer
religion = Catholic

Thomas Noel Rettig, more familiarly Tommy Rettig or, as an adult, Tom Rettig (December 10, 1941 – February 15, 1996), was an American child actor and computer software engineer and author. Rettig is best remembered for having portrayed the character "Jeff Miller" in the first three seasons of CBS's "Lassie" television series, from 1954-1957, later seen in syndicated re-runs as "Jeff's Collie".In the mid 60's Tommy also co-starred in the TV Soap,"Never Too Young" He also recorded the song with the same title,"Never Too Young" The record was issued on the Legedary label,"Velvet Tone" The song was produced by the label's President,"Jimmy Velvet" who was a 50's and 60's recording star and close friend of Elvis Presley.Tommy's group for this recording was known as,"The TR-4"Tommy is also featured in the Coffee Table Book,"Inside The Dream" The Jimmy Velvet Story. See,


Youth, child actor

Rettig was born to a Jewish father, Elias Rettig, and a Christian mother, Rosemary Nibali, in Jackson Heights section of Queens, New York. He started his career at age six, on tour with Mary Martin in the play "Annie Get Your Gun" in which he played Little Jake.

Before his famous role as Jeff Miller in the first "Lassie" television series, Rettig also appeared in about 18 feature films including "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T" (written by Dr. Seuss) and "River of No Return" with Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum. Rettig later told of a warm personal friendship with Monroe, who was more reserved in the company of older males.

It was his work with a dog in "The 5000 Fingers Of Dr. T." that led animal trainer Rudd Weatherwax to urge him to audition for the "Lassie" role, for which Weatherwax supplied the famous collies.

Rettig later told interviewers that he longed for a life as a normal teenager, and after four seasons, was able to get out of his contract. He was also critical of the treatment and compensation of child actors of his day. He reportedly received no residual payments from his work in the "Lassie" series although his work was syndicated and widely shown under the name "Jeff's Collie".

He graduated in 1959 from University High School in Los Angeles.

Adult, a new successful career

As an adult, Rettig preferred to be called "Tom". He found the transition from child star to be difficult, and had several well-publicized legal entanglements relating to illegal recreational drugs (a conviction for growing marijuana on his farm and a charge for cocaine of which he was exonerated). Some years after he left acting, he became a motivational speaker, which led him while working on mailing lists to get involved in the early days of personal computers.

For the last 15 years of his life, Rettig was a very well-known database software author and expert. He was a very early employee of Ashton-Tate, and specialized in (sequentially) dBASE, Clipper, FoxBASE and finally FoxPro. (Tom Rettig's career in software engineering is not to be confused with the person of the same name who worked at Brøderbund doing sound on such projects as Carmen Sandiego and Kid Pix. That Tom Rettig is one of Thomas Noel Rettig's two sons; as their middle names differ, the son is not Tom Rettig Jr.)"

Coincidentally, when Rettig moved to Marina del Rey in the late 1980s, one of his neighbors was named "Jeff Miller". [ [ Jeff Miller reminiscence] ]

Later years and death

Rettig did a guest appearance in an episode of the later television series "The New Lassie", with Jon Provost, which aired on October 25, 1991. The series featured appearances from two other Lassie veterans, Roddy McDowall, who had starred in the first movie "Lassie Come Home" (1943) and June Lockhart, who had starred in the 1945 movie "Son of Lassie", and the television series (as Timmy's mother in the years after Rettig left the show). After his death at the age of fifty-four of a heart attack, his memorial service in Marina del Rey, California was attended by Roger Clinton, Jr., the half-brother of then U.S. President Bill Clinton, and several other former child stars who were featured in a photo spread in "The National Enquirer". His loss was also mourned by many in the software industry. Many computer people who read his books and articles or used Rettig's software products did not realize that he was a former child star.

elect filmography

Notable quotes

* "It really pissed me off-producers had this general impression that whatever talent and gifts you had learned how to use as a kid, as soon as you were 21 it dried up. That was for boys. Girls were a different story. They can go from cute to gorgeous." [ "BrainyQuote"] ]

* "Yeah, I met her right after I graduated-1959. We got married that December I was eighteen, she was fifteen. My son Tom came in the first year. I wanted to live life as a normal guy. I wanted to know what real life was like. I sold men's clothes, l delivered flowers."

* "I just wanted to have a chance at the real world. Then I found out through working a series of straight jobs that straight jobs suck! But you sell fourteen pairs of Levis and you go home that night and it doesn't make you feel like cracking open the champagne."

* "Out of necessity not choice, I wound up with my own production company, Potpourri Productions. I had that from 1967 to 1971. Won a few awards for my quality, produced over a hundred TV commercials and business films-all L.A. stuff."

* "Once in a while there was some TV offer, and I'd take it."


External links

*imdb name|id=0720568|name=Tommy Rettig
* [ Farewell to Tom Rettig webpage]

NAME= Rettig, Tommy
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Rettig, Thomas Noel
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Actor; Computer Software engineer
DATE OF BIRTH= 1941-12-10
PLACE OF BIRTH= Queens, New York
DATE OF DEATH= 1996-2-15
PLACE OF DEATH= Marina del Rey, California

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