“All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again”

Peter Pan
the tragic story of peter pan
Created By Author

Bobby’s story is a cautionary tale about the dark side of child stardom. And a very Tragic story.

Bobby Driscoll was one of the most successful child actors of his generation. But his life took a sad and tragic turn after he left Hollywood.

On March 30th the year 1968 two children were playing in an abandoned tenement. (A building that is rented to multiple tenants commonly low rent and run down). In Greenwich Village when they came across a body of an unidentified man. Laying on a cot beside empty beers bottles and religious pamphlets littered beside him.


No identification not one village resident could identify this man. He was a mystery.

When I read about this story and then soon realized the unidentified man we are referring to is Bobby Driscoll one of the most successful child stars. The Iconic voice and model behind the character Peter Pan and many other Walt Disney Movies.

Freckles and Lemonade


However you remember Peter Pan most importantly it’s important to note how much Bobby Driscoll impacted a culture through entertainment. Especially considering some people don’t even realize the name behind the character nor their story. I thought I would share it.

I really wanted to bring light to an Iconic Actor who also a human being was used up and thrown away like trash as a child star. He just couldn’t come to terms with leaving Neverland. As tragic this story is, it should be heard, and my question is why is no one talking about this. Or maybe I missed it, so if you missed out as well.

Let’s DIVE DEEPER into the cautionary tale of Bobby Driscoll.

Let’s DIVE DEEPER into the cautionary tale of Bobby Driscoll.

bobby driscoll and the tragic story of peter pan

By 1949 Bobby was awarded the Best Performance by a child actor. Over the course of his career he would win multiple awards.

He also featured in films like Treasure Island. At a young age he was the first Walt Disney child star to sign a contract with Disney Pictures. Going on tog become the voice and model behind Walt Disney’s Peter Pan. By the 1960’s Driscoll’s career had begun to decline. He started having personal problems and became addicted to drugs.

In 1968 he was arrested for possession of LSD. Struggling with addiction for many years and ended up living on the streets. Bobby Driscoll felt like he was used and thrown away once he was too old.

Bobby even admitted “ I started putting all my spare time into my arm” until one day Bobby just disappeared.

the tragic story of peter pan

This is how the Tragic Story of Bobby Driscoll Begins. On March 30th in 1968, two children were playing in a tenement building on 10th st. In the Greenwich East Village. What they came across was a terrifying corpse. Lying on a cot with beer bottle and religious pamphlets littered the floor next to the cot.

The body these two children had discovered was Bobby Driscoll but not one person in this village knew this was the iconic Bobby Driscoll dying at the young age of 31.

The unidentified body was take to the medical examiner’s office and autopsied with the cause of death being hardened arteries from heroin addiction.

They tried to identify this mysterious man found in a empty building in the village showing his picture around town but no one knew who this nameless man was or where he was from.

Bobby Driscoll from the Iconic Peter Pan and many other films was categorized as just another dead junkie. The only thing the coroner’s office could do now was to fingerprint the corpse and send it off for burial on Hart Island.

What and where is Hart Island?

Hart Island is where New York City buries their poor and unclaimed bodies. A public burial ground that lies in the East Bronx.

hart island where the tragic story ends

You may remember hearing about Hart Island for it has recently been talked about in the news after the CoronaVirus hit New York. Early in the pandemic when there was mass amounts of deaths taking everyone by surprise.

Bobby Driscoll is sadly one of the million bodies buried at Hart Island.

Tragic Story

The sad part is no one even knows where his body is buried due to the records between 1961–1976 were destroyed in a fire.

His own mother didn’t even know he passed until about a year and half after his death. Bobby Driscoll father was dying and his mother wanted to relay the word to her son little did she know he had already passed.


A year and half later after his death and burial a city clerk sent Bobby’s mother a letter notifying her that her son had passed. Using fingerprinting they had finally identified Bobby Driscoll body.

After 4 years the world finally knew the truth about the tragic ending of Bobby Driscoll death. The world finally learned the truth of the boy who refused to leave Neverland scared from the demons awaiting him.

He died nameless and without a penny to his name. Walt Disney’s Peter Pan would continue to gross hundreds of millions in the international box office. While the Iconic Character that the world watched and loved died penniless. Disney thrived on with their pockets full ready to take on the next childhood start victim.

My takeaway from this tragic story is Actors and child actors alike. No matter what human beings with real feelings and are not meant to be used for a Companies gain only to thrown to the waist side. It’s unfortunate what happened to Bobby Driscoll. This is definitely a cautionary tale for those who crave to become famous. And what some are willing to give up.




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  1. Rebecca Cuningham

    Thanks for this tribute. I remember when Rob Brown was in his first film, Finding Forrester, he was only 15! Sean Connery recognized his star quality, took him aside and gave him advice about how to avoid Hollywood pitfalls. We all need mentors. Mr. Brown has done very well for himself, with a film a year since then.

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