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Biography

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Overview (5)

Date of Birth 24 August 1889Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Date of Death 5 December 1963North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameLeonard Thomas Clapham
Nickname Ol' Tom
Height 6' 1½" (1.87 m)

Mini Bio (2)

A character actor and veteran of hundreds of Hollywood westerns, Tom London seemed to be born in the saddle. As a trick rider he performed riding specialties in a number of films. His career started in the teens and through the 1920s he alternated between good guy and bad. He made appearances in non-westerns such as All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and Platinum Blonde (1931), but westerns were his mainstay. When the "B" western disappeared in the mid-'50s, so did his career. He appeared in only a handful of film for the rest of the decade.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Grizzled character actor of scores of Westerns. A native of Kentucky, he spent his early manhood as a salesman. He obtained work with the Selig film company in Chicago as a property man and came to California when that firm moved west. He began to get small parts in the Westerns Selig produced and both his expertise with horses and his rugged appearance soon led him to larger roles. In 1924, he adopted the stage name Tom London after years of performing under his real name. He played heavies and comical roles with equal skill and became, throughout the Thirties and Forties, a familiar face low-budget pictures. He played the comic sidekick to Western star Sunset Carson in a number of b-Westerns and continued to play character roles until his death.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (2)

H. L. Munal (13 July 1952 - ?)
Edith Stayart (? - ?) (divorced)

Trivia (5)

Listed in the Guiness Book of World Records for having appeared in more films than any other actor (into the thousands).
Although his name is sometimes listed in reference works for Edison's The Great Train Robbery (1903), he was a boy living in Louisville, Kentucky, at the time that film was made in New Jersey, and does not appear in it.
The 1940 U.S. Census records his acting income for 36 weeks in 1939 as $3,182.
Met his future wife, Edith Stayart, on the set of Nan of the North (1922) in 1922.
Prior to making his acting debut at Universal in 1920 he claimed to have been a train engineer, a builder and a draftsman.

Personal Quotes (2)

[on working with Ken Maynard] I did six pictures with him, then refused offers after that. He was mean to his horses and mean to the people he thought he could buffalo. He was often half drunk on a picture and sometimes didn't even show up.
[on the many cowboy stars he worked with over his 50-year career] I got along with all of them, with the exception of one [Ken Maynard]. I especially liked Bill Elliott [aka Wild Bill Elliott], and although a lot of people found Allan Lane [aka Rocky Lane] too hard to work with because he was too much of a perfectionist, I enjoyed working with him on around 12 pictures, and respected that he tried to make his films stand out over the usual little western. One of my favorites was Sunset Carson. He encouraged me by giving me his sidekick role in some of his pictures. A star I owe lot to is Gene Autry. I made around 18 pictures with him and he was one of the nicest guys to work with. He always saw I got decent characters to play, and, in Riders in the Sky (1949) I got a great part playing a cowpoke in a big death scene. I've been told this was the best acting of my whole career. Later on, when I auditioned for some television work, I would bring along a 16mm print of that scene and show it on a casting agent's wall. Most of the time, I got the part.

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