• Lee Aaker died on April 1, Paul Petersen announced Tuesday
  • He retired from Hollywood before reaching the age of 20
  • He taught skiing to underprivileged children afterward
  • He also worked as a carpenter for two decades

Lee Aaker, popularly known for his role on ABC's "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin," passed away at the age of 77 on April 1, activist and former child actor Paul Petersen announced on social media Tuesday.

"Saying Goodbye to Lee Aaker. You have to be a certain age to remember Rin Tin Tin. Lee Aaker passed away in Arizona on April 1st, alone and unclaimed...listed as an 'indigent decedent,'" Petersen wrote in his Facebook post.

"As an Air Force veteran Lee is entitled to burial benefits. I am working on that," he added. "God knows when a sparrow falls."

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"The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin," which aired every Friday on ABC, ran for five seasons from 1954 to 1959. Aaker portrayed Corporal Rusty, a youngster being raised by U.S. Cavalry soldiers along with Lt. Ripley "Rip" Masters, the character portrayed by James Brown.

Before starring in the children's television series, Aaker also worked in the movie "The Atomic City," which came out in 1952. He portrayed Gene Barry's son, who gets kidnapped in the thriller drama.

Aaker also appeared as the son of actress Geraldine Page's character in the 1953 movie "Hondo." The said project also featured legendary actors Michael Pate, John Wayne and Ralph Taeger. In 1953, he worked on the movie "Jeopardy," in which he played the role of Barbara Stanwyck's son.

The actor started his career at the age of 8 and appeared uncredited in movies such as "High Noon" and "The Greatest Show on Earth," both released in 1952.

However, it was "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" that solidified his acting career. After its original release, the series had a rerun on ABC from 1959 to 1961. The series ran again from 1962 to 1964 and after 12 years of break, it went back on air from 1976 to the mid-1980s.

In a 2011 interview, Aaker revealed that initially, he had been paid $250 for every episode. But it later became $500 and remained that way toward the final season of the show.

Interestingly, Aaker retired from Hollywood before turning 20 and taught skiing to underprivileged children. He also worked as a carpenter for two decades.

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