Do not come to Starstruck looking for dirt. That’s not Maltin’s way. But there are dozens of funny, often self-deprecating anecdotes and descriptions of grace, e.g. Emma Thompson confesses to Maltin that she prefers Buster Keaton over her compatriot Charlie Chaplin.
In 2018, Maltin revealed that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s four years earlier (“I’m healthy, I’m determined, and I’m grateful,” he tweeted characteristically). He refuses to let it slow him down. His blog, Leonard Maltin’s movie Crazy is available at leonardmaltin.com. He hosts the weekly podcast “Maltin on Movies” with his daughter, Jessie (so far over 300 episodes). They also talk movies and answer questions in a livestream every Sunday on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
When we spoke, he had just returned from a one-night stay in Akron, Ohio, where he discussed his career and living with the disease. Movies, he says, are the best medicine.
As you are the author of The Disney movies, I would be unhappy, I did not ask you about Tommy Kirk, a Disney icon we just lost. When I was growing up, the movies he made like “Old Yeller” and “The Shaggy Dog” first made me love the movies. What are your memories of him?
“Old Yeller” was to debut the network on ABC Sunday night, and “Entertainment Tonight” sent me to the studio to interview Fess Parker, Dorothy McGuire and Tommy Kirk. It was pretty cool. I did not recognize Tommy; I had not seen him for years. It was shocking at first, quite frankly. I was trying to find a non-judgmental way of asking, ‘Where have you been?’ He said: ‘I stopped working because of illness; they got tired of me. ‘
Then I had a wonderful interview with him and Tim Considine for the 2006 Walt Disney Treasures DVD release of “The Hardy Boys” (a series feature in “The Mickey Mouse Club.”) And it was really touching and heartwarming to watch. my own eyes the complete admiration that Tim had for him.
And now for Starstruck. Katie Couric’s memoir was just released, and in the excerpts I have read, she takes the opportunity to settle scores with former colleagues, rivals and lovers and just burns all her bridges. You will find very little of this in Leonard Maltin’s memoirs.