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Biography

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Overview (5)

Date of Birth 28 September 1919Rensselaer, Indiana, USA
Date of Death 15 March 1990Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameThomas Dudley Harmon
Nickname Old 98
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Tom Harmon was a legendary college football player who became a sportscaster and sired TV superstar Mark Harmon (who also played college football at UCLA).

Thomas Dudley Harmon was born in Rensselaer, Indiana, to Rose Marie (Quinn) and Louis Amiel Harmon, a real estate agent. His maternal grandparents were Irish, and his father had Irish, French, and German ancestry (the family surname had originally been "Hermann"). Harmon starred for the University of Michigan, being voted All-American his junior and senior years and winning the Heisman Trophy in 1940 as a senior. As a wolverine, he led college football in scoring in both 1939 and '40, setting a record. He was so famous, he went to Hollywood to make the movie Harmon of Michigan (1941), which was released in 1941, the year America entered WWII.

The war would curtail his pro football career. Drafted by the Chicago Bears of the NFL, Harmon accepted an offer from the upstart American Football League's New York Americans. (One of many pro football leagues to bear the name, this version folded after 1941.) Harmon received a commission with the U.S. Army Air Corps and won a Purple Heart and a Silver Star as a fighter pilot during the war. The silken parachute that saved his life was recut into a wedding dress when he married actress Elyse Knox in 1944. The two had met at Paramount studios when he starred in the movie about his college football exploits.

Harmon returned to football after the war, playing for the Los Angeles Rams in 1946-47, but injuries to his legs from bailing out over China curtailed his career and he could not achieve the greatness on the pro gridiron that he had as the star of the Wolverines. He became a sportscaster, appearing on ABC and on KTLA-TV, Los Angeles.

Tom "Old 98" Harmon was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954. He died on March 19, 1990. He was 70 years old.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (1)

Elyse Knox (26 August 1944 - 15 March 1990) (his death) (3 children)

Trivia (13)

All-star football player at the University of Michigan. Played halfback/defensive back for the National Football League's Los Angeles Rams (1946-1947).
Ex-father-in-law of Ricky Nelson, Mark Tinker and John DeLorean.
A member of The Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.
Won the Heisman Trophy in 1940, signifying him as the top player in college football for that season.
Father-in-law of Pam Dawber.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 375-376. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954.
Was a lifelong staunch supporter of the Republican party.
Inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1962.
Inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame 1992.
Inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1975.
Inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor in 1878 (inaugural class).

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