Tom Tyler

Active - 1924 - 1953  |   Born - Aug 9, 1903   |   Died - May 1, 1954   |   Genres - Western, Action

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Tom Tyler was a champion boxer and weightlifter when he entered films as a stuntman in 1924. Through the auspices of FBO studios (the forerunner of RKO), Tyler rose to stardom as a cowboy hero -- and never mind that he despised Westerns and reportedly was terrified of horses! In most of his silent vehicles, the towering, taciturn Tyler was teamed with diminutive juvenile star Frankie Darro. Tyler maintained his popularity into the sound era, though the grimness in his voice and the increasingly sinister undercurrent in his bearing made him more suitable for villainous roles. Among Tyler's most famous "heavy" appearances included the homicidal Luke Plummer in Stagecoach (1939) and the volatile strikebreaker in Talk of the Town (1942). By the 1940s, Tyler was for the most part consigned to minor parts, though he did play the title roles in The Mummy's Hand (1940), the serials Captain Marvel (1941), and The Phantom (1943). Virtually unable to work in his last years due to advancing arthritis, Tom Tyler died penniless at the age of 50; at the time of his death, he was living with relatives in Michigan.

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