“El cabo Rusty”: successes and heartaches

Photo: Courtesy, no commercial use.

By Alberto Barrera

Pittsburg, California. He was not the protagonist of the television series, was his dog Rin Tin Tin, but Rusty was well known in his childhood years in the 50 in the United States and then in the following decades in Latin America.

The little corporal of the Confederate army entered the second half of the 19th century, according to the five-season series of 1954 a 1959, in which they were filmed 164 chapters that made children and adults vibrate with the adventures of the beautiful German shepherd dog in Fort Apache, a military post in Arizona.

A couple of years ago remembering my childhood days I surfed the web and looked for the little corporal, a boy raised by the military following the violent death of his parents by Native Americans in the series, and I found actor Aaker as an instructor for child skiers or people with physical problems at Mammoth Mountain in Sierra Nevada, California. He lived mainly on his pension from 1,500 dollars a month.

In the series the natives or Apache Indians were aggressive and even cruel, to the extent that the audience considered them "the bad guys" but in reality many abuses were committed against them. Many of the tribes, the majority, They were exterminated with the arrival of Europeans in what is now the United States.

Fort Apache is actually a John Ford movie produced in 1948. John Wayne and Henry Fonda are lead actors, and in addition to integrating a filmic trilogy of the cavalry together with The Invincible Legion of 1949 and Rio Grande in 1950; It was one of the first films to reflect respect for Native Americans..

So I started a search for Aaker to talk to him about his years in Hollywood., Well, he not only acted in the famous series. Before 10 years was discovered by director Fred Zinnemann when he saw him on a live show on television and chose him on 1951 for the main character in Benjy, that that year won the Oscar for best documentary short.

Later Aaker appeared in another Zinnemann film "High Noon", en “The Greatest Show on Earth” de Cecil B. DeMille, in "Hondo" next to John Wayne, in "The Atomic City" and in "Hans Christian Andersen" by Charles Vidor, as well as in other movies and series of the time, said the site specialized in cinema and shows.

He added that Aaker was a guest star on The Donna Reed Show., Route 66 and The Magical World of Disney and appeared in Bye Bye Birdie de 1963, but little by little acting jobs were scarcer and before the 20 years retired from Hollywood. He worked as a carpenter for two decades.

Aaker suffered a stroke and died Thursday 1 from April to their 77 years old and his real name was Lee Aaker, at that time he was near Mesa in the state of Arizona, informó The Hollywood Reporter.

told the press Paul Petersen, exestrella de Donna Reed Show. He added that the ex-actor had fought against drug abuse and alcohol consumption.. He lived with a relative who could not help him and who was identified on the death certificate as a “destitute deceased”.

Photo: Courtesy, no commercial use.

Aaker was born on 25 September 1943 and Inglewood, California. His mother owned a dance school and staged an act in which together with his brother they sang and danced.
In an interview by 2011, Aaker said they paid him 250 dollars per episode when starting on the Rin Tin Tin series, but in the final season his salary was 500 Dollars.