Who was Houston Tumlin? Tragic story of ‘Talladega Nights’ child star who shot himself and died by suicide at 28

Who was Houston Tumlin? Tragic story of ‘Talladega Nights’ child star who shot himself and died by suicide at 28
Houston Tumlin (Instagram)

Almost 15 years back, Houston Tumlin starred as a child actor in ‘Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby’ when he was just 13. Best known for playing Will Ferrell's character Ricky Bobby's son in the 2006 comedy, the actor was found dead on Tuesday afternoon, March 22, 2021, at his home in Pelham, Alabama. He was 28.

The tragic news sent shock waves and his close ones took to social media to share their thoughts and prayers. Shelby County coroner Lina Evans confirmed to TMZ he died by a self-inflicted gunshot to the head at around 4.30 pm. Sources told the outlet that Tumlin's girlfriend — Charity Robertson — was in the house at the time. No note has been found so far. 

She wrote in a heartbreaking post, “I’ve never experienced a hurt like this before. I feel numb, I feel defeated, I feel lost. I feel empty. My heart is absolutely shattered.”


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Houston Tumlin and Charity Robertson (Instagram)

Who was Houston Tumlin?

Born on December 27, 1992 in Alabama, USA, Houston Tumlin was lovingly known as Hutie by his close ones. 

Houston was remembered for his stint in ‘Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby’ — his only professional film credit — which also starred actors like John C Reily, Sacha Baron Cohen, Amy Adams and Jane Lynch. At the time, the film was counted among one of the highest-earning comedies of 2000s as it went on to collect almost $163 million at the box office. Recently, he shared a photo with Grayson Russell from the movie promotions and wrote, “Tell me a set of brothers more handsome. I’ll wait!”

In 2015, Tumlin was reportedly serving in the Army's 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell along the Kentucky-Tennessee border. Sharing news of his promotion, he once posted on Instagram, “A little belated but better late then never!!!! Officially SGT T today.” According to TMZ, he also took other work like repairing telephone lines.

Grayson Russell and Houston Tumlin during 'Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby' Premiere - Arrivals at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California, United States (Getty Images)

Houston Tumlin's family

A happy-go-lucky man on Instagram, he often shared adorable pictures with his family and showered love for his mother and sister. Posting a Christmas snapshot, he wrote, “The shit I do for my momma, but just know I don’t elf around.”

Sharing another picture, he wrote, “Been in my corner even when I was dead wrong!!! Love you momma.” For his sister, he wrote, “God only know what I’d do for ya lil girl Not jut that, he posted a cheeky photo of his father and captioned it, “Why my dad smile like he wanna bite half my face off?”

On the photo-sharing app, he also shared a picture of a huge tattoo across his chest and credited tattoo artist Camo for it. Not much else is known about him, but net worth aggregators estimate his fortune to be over $5 million.

Houston Tumlin with his mother and sister (Instagram)

‘He showed a lot of spirit, promise, positive energy...’

Tumlin's sister, Hayden, paid tribute to him on social media. “I lost my brother yesterday. This doesn't feel real or right to be without him. He was so special to us. I will love you forever, bubba,” she wrote. 

A former colleague penned down his heartfelt tribute too. The tweet read: “SGT Houston Tumlin came to me as PVT Tumlin. He showed a lot of spirit, promise, positive energy and was (hands down) one of my best Soldiers in my company. Came ready to work. Please check on each other. Get help if you need it. We need you.”

Tumlin often posted pictures from his movie with Ferrell. Other film stars from the film have not put out any public statements yet.



Catch a few pictures from his Instagram account here.

Houston Tumlin (Instagram)


Houston Tumlin (Instagram)


Houston Tumlin with his sister, Hayden (Instagram)


Houston Tumlin with his father (Instagram)


Houston Tumlin with his sister, Hayden (Instagram)


Houston Tumlin (Instagram)

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