Kevin Corcoran, best known to generations of film fans as the youngest brother in the classic, emotionally devastating Disney film, Old Yeller, has died at 66, his family confirmed today. Corcoran enjoyed a career as a child actor before transitioning as an adult to a career behind the camera, working in various capacities on numerous films and television shows, including Pete’s Dragon, and most recently as a producer on Sons of Anarchy.
Kevin Anthony “Moochie” Corcoran was born on June 10, 1949, in Santa Monica, California. He appeared in numerous Disney projects between 1957 and 1963, frequently as an irrepressible character with the nickname Moochie.
One of eight children, most of whom did some acting in the late 1950s to early 1960s, Corcoran was the sibling whose work is best remembered. His father, William “Bill” Corcoran, Sr. (1905–1958), was a police officer and then director of maintenance at MGM Studios. Corcoran’s mother, the former Kathleen McKenney (1917–1972), was, like her husband, a native of Quincy, Massachusetts.
Corcoran got his start in a small role in The Glen Miller Story in 1954, quickly establishing himself as a child actor playing several different, yet similar characters all called “Moochie” in various Disney productions. He would play different versions of “Moochie” throughout the 1950s, and among his roles during this period were appearances in three Mickey Mouse Club serials, episodes of the series of television shorts Spin and Marty, and The Shaggy Dog.
These roles helped establish a long relationship with Disney, for whom Corcoran appeared in many productions as other characters, often as the young sidekick to the main character.
In Pollyanna, he played the title character’s friend Jimmy Bean; He played the youngest son, Francis, in Swiss Family Robinson; and he played James Boone in the 1960 Daniel Boone miniseries, among many others.
Corcoran received his highest critical praise as Arliss Coates in Old Yeller (1957). In the film, Old Yeller’s rabies-driven attempt to bite Arliss is what forces his older brother Travis to put the dog down.
Kevin Corcoran was the brother of Donna Corcoran, Noreen Corcoran, Hugh Corcoran, Brian Corcoran, Kerry Corcoran, and Kelly Corcoran (1958–2002). Elder siblings Donna, Noreen, and Hugh Corcoran have extensive film and television credits as child actors during the 1950s. Donna, Noreen, and Kevin all appeared in the 1955 film Violent Saturday.
Noreen Corcoran starred as Kelly Gregg on the television series Bachelor Father from 1957-1962. During its five-year run, Bachelor Father was seen on all three national networks. Brian Corcoran played Kevin’s brother, and Kerry, his sister, in the 1960 Daniel Boone miniseries on Walt Disney Presents, then on ABC. Brian also was Willie Winkie to Kevin Corcoran’s Boy Blue in the 1961 film Babes in Toyland.
Donna Corcoran played Moochie’s sister Marian in Moochie of the Little League (1960). She also played Bridget White, (“…eight years old”) as the little orphan who saw the “Angels in the Outfield” in the original 1951 version with Paul Douglas and Janet Leigh. Younger brother Kelly Corcoran (1958–2002) portrayed 8-year-old Kip Pride in the NBC western series The Road West (1966–1967), starring Barry Sullivan.
Kevin Corcoran was been married to Laura Soltwedel since June 24, 1972.