But some gay boys liked the boy owners -- their cuteness, their lack of any perceptible interest in girls -- and, as they grew into adolescence, their hunkiness and the frequency with which they took off their shirts. There were three of them, but the most famous was Jon Provost (born in 1950), whose Timmy lived with the dog from 1957 to 1964.
Timmy started out a blond kewpie doll, saying things like "golly-gee" to his adopted parents. But he didn't stay a kewpie doll long.
When his stint on Lassie ended, Jon was 14 years old, well into his adolescence, and gay boys and heterosexual girls were starting to take notice.
He hung around with other teen idols, such as Davy Jones (left), Kurt Russell, and Kevin Schultz. No boyfriends, but according to his autobiography, Timmy's in the Well, gay buddy Sal Mineo once got a little too grabby during a three-way with his girlfriend.
But he was too typecast as Timmy to get the full teen-hunk treatment, so Jon retired from acting, except for a recurring role on The Adventures of Lassie (1989-92). He got his degree in psychology, and settled down to a civilian career. He still attends fan conventions, and is gracious to the boomers, both male and female, who had crushes on him as kids.