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Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (24) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 28 January 1914Evanston, Illinois, USA
Date of Death 7 August 1972North Hollywood, California, USA  (heart failure)
Birth NameThomas Neal

Mini Bio (1)

Tom Neal is best remembered for his off-screen exploits, which involved scandal, mayhem and a charge of murder. Before his 1938 screen debut in MGM's Out West with the Hardys (1938), Neal had been a member of the boxing team at Northwestern University, had debuted on the Broadway stage in 1935 and had received a law degree from Harvard, also in 1938. Throughout the 1940s and into the 1950s, he appeared mostly as tough guys in Hollywood low-budgeters. In 1951, in a dispute over the on-again / off-again affections and the wavering allegiance of notorious actress / "party girl" Barbara Payton, he mixed it up with Payton's paramour, the aristocratic actor Franchot Tone. The former college boxer Neal inflicted upon Tone a smashed cheekbone, a broken nose and a brain concussion. Hollywood essentially blackballed Neal thereafter, but he would come to find a livelihood in gardening and landscaping. He was brought to trial in 1965 for the murder of his wife Gale, who had been shot to death with a .45-caliber bullet to the back of her head. Prosecutors sought the death penalty for Neal, which at the time meant a trip to the cyanide-gas chamber. The trial jury, however, convicted him only of "involuntary manslaughter", for which he was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

On 7 December 1971 he was released on parole, having served exactly six years to the day. Eight months later, Tom Neal was dead of heart failure.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Bill Takacs <kinephile@aol.com>

Spouse (3)

Gale Bennett (Gale Evatt?) (1960 - 2 April 1965) (her death)
Patricia Fenton (1956 - 1958) (her death) (1 son)
Vicky Lane (1948 - 1950) (divorced)

Trivia (24)

Father of actor Tom Neal Jr. (b.1957)
Neal was born to a wealthy family in Evanston, Illinois.
Neal's family wanted him to become a lawyer, but the muscular Neal, a standout boxer on his college's boxing team, dreamed of an acting career.
Noted for his rugged good looking and charming personality, as well as his hair trigger temper, and jealous outbursts.
Tried a comeback in the movies and on television in the late 1950s, but his career was finished due to his violent off-screen reputation.
Neal had an impressive college boxing career. While at Northwestern and Harvard Universities, Neal compiled an amateur boxing record of 44-3 (41 knockouts).
Was once engaged in 1934 to Inez Martin, a one-time Follies girl and ex-mistress of murdered racketeer Arnold Rothstein, who was shot to death inside a Park Central Hotel room on November 4, 1928. Martin was twice Tom's age. His father put an end to the whole thing by threatening Tom with disinheritance of the family's million-dollar fortune.
Made his Broadway stage debut in a small role in "If This Be Treason" in 1935. Moved to California when a couple of other Broadway roles in "Spring Dance" (1936) and "Daughters of Atreus" (1936) failed to advance his career.
Both he and battling girlfriend Barbara Payton appeared together in The Great Jesse James Raid (1953).
After his film career dissipated after a flurry of bad press, he left Hollywood for Palm Springs and worked such jobs as a night manager for a restaurant and a gardener. Eventually he set up his own landscaping business, but the business failed after a few years and he went into bankruptcy.
His second wife Patricia Fenton, whom he married in 1956, died of cancer in 1958. She bore his namesake, Tom Neal Jr., who later had a role in the remake of his father's classic film noir: Detour (1992). Following her death, his son lived with Tom's sister.
1933: Tom Neal knocked out Leo Hart in 1 round in Cambridge, Massachusetts in an amateur boxing match.
1933: Tom Neal knocked out Max Levine in 1 round in Cambridge, Massachusetts in an amateur boxing match.
1933: Tom Neal knocked out James Crawford in 1 round in Cambridge, Massachusetts in an amateur boxing match.
1933: Tom Neal knocked out Tommy Mitchell in 1 round in Cambridge, Massachusetts in an amateur boxing match.
1933: Tom Neal knocked out Samuel Rodgway in 1 round in Cambridge, Massachusetts in an amateur boxing match.
1933: Tom Neal knocked out Gary Keers in 1 round in Cambridge, Massachusetts in an amateur boxing match.
1933: Tom Neal knocked out Melvin Kenyon in 1 round in Cambridge, Massachusetts in an amateur boxing match.
1933: Tom Neal knocked out Igg Rosenberg in 1 round in Cambridge, Massachusetts in an amateur boxing match.
1933: Tom Neal knocked out Lawrence O'Neil in 1 round in Cambridge, Massachusetts in an amateur boxing match.
1933: Tom Neal knocked out Lloyd Blake in 1 round in Cambridge, Massachusetts in an amateur boxing match.
1934: Tom Neal was knocked out in 2 rounds by "One of Harvard's most outstanding boxers", Bill Smith at the Indoor Athletic Building at Harvard University in an amateur boxing match. Smith went on to win the light-heavy-weight N.C.A.A. championship in 1935 and had a record of 103-3-0.
1933: Tom Neal knocked out William Beltran in 1 round in an amateur boxing match at the Indoor Athletic Building at Harvard University. Neal was coached by Henry Lamar.
1933: Tom Neal knocked out Herman Zeinman in 1 round in an amateur boxing match at the Indoor Athletic Building at Harvard University. Neal was coached by Henry Lamar.

Personal Quotes (2)

Women in my life brought me nothing but unhappiness. TN, following his 1971 release from prison for the murder of his third wife in 1965
Women come and go...like trolley cars.

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