Ann Gillis, Star of ‘Bambi’ and ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ Dies at 90

Child actress from Hollywood’s golden age played Becky Thatcher in David O. Selznick’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”

ann gillis

Ann Gillis, a child star from Hollywood’s golden age whose career continued through Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi classic “2001: A Space Odyssey,” died Wednesday at age 90.

Her son Gordon Fraser confirmed her passing to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Arkansas native was signed to Warner Bros. at age 7 and appeared in dozens of films, notably playing Becky Thatcher in David O. Selznick’s 1938 adaptation of the Mark Twain novel “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”

She also voiced Fantine, Bambi’s eventual mate, in Walt Disney’s 1941 animated classic “Bambi.”

Gillis mostly stepped away from film work after 1947, though she did return for some TV roles in the 1960s, including the spy series “The Saint.”

Her final onscreen appearance came in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi movie “2001,” in which she played the mother of Gary Lockwood’s astronaut Frank Poole, who wishes her son a happy birthday via video conferencing.