|Born||in Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA|
|Died||in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA (bone cancer)|
|Birth Name||Thomas John Mitchell|
|Height||5' 10" (1.78 m)|
Mini Bio (2)
Thomas Mitchell was one of the great American character actors, whose credits read like a list of the greatest films of the 20th century: Lost Horizon (1937); Stagecoach (1939); The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939); Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939); Gone with the Wind (1939); It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and High Noon (1952). His portrayals are so diverse and convincing that most people don't even realize that one actor could have played them all. He won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1940 for his role as the drunken Doc Boone in John Ford's Stagecoach (1939).
- IMDb Mini Biography By: firstname.lastname@example.org
Certainly there have been many phrases coined about Thomas Mitchell as one of the most recognizable and exemplary character actors of Hollywood's golden years, but behind that elfish demeanor was a talent to fit many hats. He was a first-generation American of Irish immigrants who settled in New Jersey. The Mitchell family had a journalistic background, and after high school Thomas followed his father and brother into newspaper reporting.
However, the writing talent in him searched for more. He began turning out comic skits for the theater. Finally in 1913 he decided to become an actor. He met another future great screen character actor, Charles Coburn, a longtime Broadway stage actor--with his wife--who had formed his own company, the Coburn Players. Coburn provided young Mitchell with some much-needed experience in the works of William Shakespeare. In late 1916 Mitchell debuted on Broadway in the original play "Under Sentence" and would be a fixture on the Great White Way steadily from then to 1935. From performing he moved into writing and directing plays with his own "Little Accident" (1928) and "Cloudy with Showers" (1931) and would do directing, writing, and some producing for other companies through the 1930s. He was involved in the production of 29 plays.
Amid this full theater life, however, Mitchell looked elsewhere to exercise his versatility. In 1923 he debuted in silent film before returning to Broadway. When he next appeared in film (1936) his "Little Accident" had already been produced as a film twice (1930 and 1932, in French). It was in fact optioned as a feature twice more (1939 and as the retitled Casanova Brown (1944)). Mitchell soon became much in demand in Hollywood for leading character parts. In 1937 his Hollywood fame was sealed with the Frank Capra classic Lost Horizon (1937), in which he was banker/embezzler Henry Barnard. His dramatic timing was flawless, but so was his to-become-trademark comic relief one-liners. That same year he was memorable and Oscar-nominated as Dr. Kersaint in the John Ford dramatic adventure The Hurricane (1937).
In 1939 Mitchell had the unique good fortune to have memorable roles in such classic movies as Only Angels Have Wings (1939). His Best Supporting Actor Oscar for one of these, Stagecoach (1939), points up the fact that his considerable abilities would just as well have merited the award for any of these films. In so many of his roles he was the cocky, self-assured man of the world. And this makes his performance of Uncle Billy in another of these - Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946) - all the more unusual, for this character, now in his elder years, is quick with the wisecrack but has been apparently a failure as man of business and still works in the family business for his nephew, James Stewart. Outwardly cavalier but inwardly too self-absorbed with getting by to be reliable or competent, Mitchell's Uncle Billy is suddenly faced with an ultimate crisis - a near tragedy of circumstance he projects with profound pathos - when duped into believing he has once again been incompetent, losing the loan company's large bank deposit. His agony is multiplied by the emotional confrontation with a panic-stricken Stewart. The sequence is one of the real high dramatic gems of movie history. And Mitchell passes down one his most thought-provoking screen characters.
Of his 100 screen performances fully half of Mitchell's appearances were on the small screen. By 1951 he was immersed in the phenomenon of television playhouse, particularly and frequently appearing on Studio One, Lux Video Theater, The O. Henry Playhouse, The Ford Television Theater, but several others including Zane Grey Theater. He starred in two early TV series: Mayor of the Town (1954) and Glencannon (1959). He would become as well known and beloved to the new generation of TV watchers as he had been to the theater and film audiences going back to the early 20th century.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: William McPeak
|Anne Stewart Brewer||(30 June 1941 - 17 December 1962) ( his death)|
|Rachel Barnes Hartzell||(26 August 1937 - 1939) ( divorced) ( 1 child)|
|Anne Stewart Brewer||(1915 - 1935) ( divorced) ( 1 child)|
Personal Quotes (2)