Athletic American actor Fred Thomson had a promising career as a cowboy star that was tragically cut short when he contracted pneumonia and died on Christmas night in 1928. Born the son of a Presbyterian minister in Pasadena, California Thomson started out as a minister himself in 1913 following religious studies at Occidental College, Los Angeles and the Princeton Theological Seminary. At the latter, Thomson showed real promise as an athlete. Following graduation, he served as a pastor in Los Angeles and in Nevada. During WW I, he served as a chaplain. While recovering from an injury, he met Mary Pickford and noted screenwriter Frances Marion. He married the latter after the war and moved to Hollywood. In 1921, he left the ministry to play a role in Mary Pickford's The Love Light (1921. This led to his signing with FBO as their newest cowboy star. Thomson and his horse Silver King soon became popular. His westerns were above average in production quality and Thomson performed most of his own stunts. At his apex, he rivaled Tom Mix as the most popular cowboy star.