Thomas Mitchell (actor)

Last updated
Thomas Mitchell
Thomas Mitchell (actor).jpg
Born
Thomas John Mitchell

(1892-07-11)July 11, 1892
DiedDecember 17, 1962(1962-12-17) (aged 70)
Resting place Chapel of the Pines Crematory
OccupationActor, director, playwright, screenwriter
Years active1916–62
Spouse(s)
Rachel Hartzell
(m. 19371939)

Ann Stuart Breswer
(m. 19151935)

(m. 1941)

Thomas John Mitchell (July 11, 1892 – December 17, 1962) was an American actor. Among his most famous roles in a long career are those of Gerald O'Hara in Gone with the Wind , Doc Boone in Stagecoach , Uncle Billy in It's a Wonderful Life and Mayor Jonas Henderson in High Noon . Mitchell was the first male actor to win an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony Award.

Americans citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

Actor person who acts in a dramatic or comic production and works in film, television, theatre, or radio

An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance. The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek term is ὑποκριτής (hupokritḗs), literally "one who answers". The actor's interpretation of their role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.

<i>Gone with the Wind</i> (film) 1939 film by Victor Fleming

Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from the 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell. The film was produced by David O. Selznick of Selznick International Pictures and directed by Victor Fleming. Set in the American South against the backdrop of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction era, the film tells the story of Scarlett O'Hara, the strong-willed daughter of a Georgia plantation owner. It follows her romantic pursuit of Ashley Wilkes, who is married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, and her subsequent marriage to Rhett Butler. The leading roles are played by Vivien Leigh (Scarlett), Clark Gable (Rhett), Leslie Howard (Ashley), and Olivia de Havilland (Melanie).

Contents

Nominated twice for an Oscar, first for The Hurricane (1938), he won the Best Supporting Actor award for Stagecoach (1939); later, he would be nominated three times for an Emmy Award. He was nominated twice, in 1952 and 1953, for his role in the medical drama The Doctor , winning the Lead Actor Drama award in 1953. Nominated again in 1955, for an appearance on a weekly anthology series, he did not win. Mitchell won the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical, in 1953, for his role as Dr Downer in the musical comedy Hazel Flagg , based on the 1937 Paramount comedy film Nothing Sacred , rounding out the Triple Crown of Acting. In addition to being an actor, he was also a director, playwright, and screenwriter.

Academy Awards American awards given annually for excellence in cinematic achievements

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are a set of awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry. Given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the awards are an international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy's voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the "Academy Award of Merit", although more commonly referred to by its nickname "Oscar".

<i>The Hurricane</i> (1937 film) 1937 film by Stuart Heisler, John Ford

The Hurricane is a 1937 film set in the South Seas, directed by John Ford and produced by Samuel Goldwyn Productions, about a Polynesian who is unjustly imprisoned. The climax features a special effects hurricane. It stars Dorothy Lamour and Jon Hall, with Mary Astor, C. Aubrey Smith, Thomas Mitchell, Raymond Massey, John Carradine, and Jerome Cowan. James Norman Hall, Jon Hall's uncle, co-wrote the novel of the same name on which The Hurricane is based.

<i>Stagecoach</i> (1939 film) 1939 film by John Ford

Stagecoach is a 1939 American Western film directed by John Ford and starring Claire Trevor and John Wayne in his breakthrough role. The screenplay, written by Dudley Nichols, is an adaptation of "The Stage to Lordsburg", a 1937 short story by Ernest Haycox. The film follows a group of strangers riding on a stagecoach through dangerous Apache territory.

Early life

Mitchell was born to Irish immigrants in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He came from a family of journalists and civic leaders. Both his father and brother were newspaper reporters, and his nephew, James P. Mitchell, later served as Dwight Eisenhower's Secretary of Labor. [1] Later on, in the 1952 presidential election, Mitchell, a Republican himself, would go on to support Eisenhower's campaign. [2] The younger Mitchell also became a newspaper reporter after graduating from St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth. However, Mitchell soon found that he enjoyed writing comic theatrical skits much more than chasing late-breaking scoops. In 1927 Mitchell joined The Lambs. [3]

Irish people Ethnic group with Celtic and other roots, native to the island of Ireland, with shared history and culture

The Irish are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to the island of Ireland, who share a common Irish ancestry, identity and culture. Ireland has been inhabited for about 12,500 years according to archaeological studies. For most of Ireland's recorded history, the Irish have been primarily a Gaelic people. Viking invasions of Ireland during the 8th to 11th centuries established the cities of Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork and Limerick. Anglo-Normans conquered parts of Ireland in the 12th century, while England's 16th/17th-century (re)conquest and colonisation of Ireland brought a large number of English and Lowland Scots people to parts of the island, especially the north. Today, Ireland is made up of the Republic of Ireland and the smaller Northern Ireland. The people of Northern Ireland hold various national identities including British, Irish, Northern Irish or some combination thereof.

Elizabeth, New Jersey City in Union County, New Jersey, U.S.

Elizabeth is both the largest city and the county seat of Union County, in New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 124,969, retaining its ranking as New Jersey's fourth most populous city, behind Paterson. The population increased by 4,401 (3.7%) from the 120,568 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 10,566 (+9.6%) from the 110,002 counted in the 1990 Census. For 2017, the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program calculated a population of 130,215, an increase of 4.2% from the 2010 enumeration, ranking the city the 212th-most-populous in the nation.

New Jersey State of the United States of America

New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is a peninsula, bordered on the north and east by the state of New York; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware River and Pennsylvania; and on the southwest by the Delaware Bay and Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state by area but the 11th-most populous, with 9 million residents as of 2017, making it the most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states with its biggest city being Newark. New Jersey lies completely within the combined statistical areas of New York City and Philadelphia. New Jersey was the second-wealthiest U.S. state by median household income as of 2017.

Acting career

from the trailer for
High Barbaree (1947) Thomas Mitchell in High Barbaree trailer.jpg
from the trailer for
High Barbaree (1947)

He became an actor in 1913, at one point touring with Charles Coburn's Shakespeare Company. Even while playing leading roles on Broadway into the 1920s Mitchell would continue to write. One of the plays he co-authored, Little Accident, was eventually made into a film (three times) by Hollywood. Mitchell's first credited screen role was in the 1923 film Six Cylinder Love.

Charles Coburn American film and theater actor

Charles Douville Coburn was an American film and theatre actor. Best known for his work in comedies, Coburn received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for 1943's The More the Merrier.

Broadway theatre class of professional theater presented in New York City, New York, USA

Broadway theatre, commonly known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.

Hollywood Neighborhood of Los Angeles in California, United States

Hollywood is a neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California, notable as the home of the U.S. film industry, including several of its historic studios. Its name has come to be a shorthand reference for the industry and the people associated with it.

as Tom Blue in the trailer for The Black Swan (1942) Thomas mitchell black swan 1.jpg
as Tom Blue in the trailer for The Black Swan (1942)

Mitchell's breakthrough role was as the embezzler in Frank Capra's film Lost Horizon (1937).

Frank Capra Sicilian-born American film director

Frank Russell Capra was an Italian-American film director, producer and writer who became the creative force behind some of the major award-winning films of the 1930s and 1940s. Born in Italy and raised in Los Angeles from the age of five, his rags-to-riches story has led film historians such as Ian Freer to consider him the "American Dream personified."

<i>Lost Horizon</i> (1937 film) 1937 film by Frank Capra, Andrew Marton

Lost Horizon is a 1937 American drama-fantasy film directed by Frank Capra. The screenplay by Robert Riskin is based on the 1933 novel of the same name by James Hilton.

Following this performance, he was much in demand in Hollywood. [4] That same year, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Hurricane , directed by John Ford.

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor one of the Academy Awards of Merit

The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given in honor of an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance in a supporting role while working within the film industry. The award was traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Supporting Actress winner.

John Ford American film director

John Ford was an American film director. He is renowned both for Westerns such as Stagecoach (1939), The Searchers (1956), and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), as well as adaptations of classic 20th-century American novels such as the film The Grapes of Wrath (1940). His four Academy Awards for Best Director remain a record. One of the films for which he won the award, How Green Was My Valley, also won Best Picture.

Over the next few years, Mitchell appeared in many significant films. Forty-three of the fifty-nine films in which he acted, were made in the 10-year period from 1936–1946. Considered one of the finest character actors in film, [5] in 1939 alone he had key roles in Stagecoach , Mr. Smith Goes to Washington , Only Angels Have Wings , The Hunchback of Notre Dame , and Gone with the Wind . [5] While probably better remembered as Scarlett O'Hara's loving but doomed father in Gone with the Wind, it was for his performance as the drunken Doc Boone in Stagecoach, co-starring John Wayne (in Wayne's breakthrough role), that Mitchell won the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. In his acceptance speech, he quipped, "I didn't know I was that good". Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Mitchell acted in a wide variety of roles in productions such as 1940's Swiss Family Robinson , 1942's Moontide , 1944's The Keys of the Kingdom (as an atheist doctor) and High Noon (1952) as the town mayor. He is probably best known to audiences today for his role as sad sack Uncle Billy in Capra's Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946) with James Stewart.

with Tyrone Power in the trailer for The Black Swan (1942) Tyrone power thomas mitchell black swan 1.jpg
with Tyrone Power in the trailer for The Black Swan (1942)

From the 1950s and into the early 1960s, Mitchell worked primarily in television, appearing in a variety of roles in some of the most well-regarded early series of the era, including Playhouse 90 , Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater (in a pilot episode that became the CBS series Johnny Ringo ), and Hallmark Hall of Fame productions. In 1954, he starred in the television version of the radio program, Mayor of the Town . In 1955, he played Kris Kringle in The 20th Century-Fox Hour version of The Miracle on 34th Street opposite Teresa Wright and MacDonald Carey. In 1957 he hosted The O. Henry Playhouse. In 1959, he starred in thirty-nine episodes of the syndicated television series, Glencannon , which had aired two years earlier in the United Kingdom.

In the early 1960s, Mitchell originated the stage role "Columbo", later made famous on NBC and ABC television by Peter Falk (Bert Freed played the part on live television before Mitchell portrayed Columbo on stage); Columbo was Mitchell's last role.

Death

Mitchell died at age 70 from peritoneal mesothelioma in Beverly Hills, California. He was cremated at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory and his ashes are in vaultage. [6]

Awards and honors

In 1953, Mitchell became the first man to win the "triple crown" of acting awards (Oscar, Emmy, Tony). He remains one of only a handful of individuals to have won each of these awards. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for 1939's Stagecoach . In 1952, he won the Best Actor Emmy (Comedy Actor category), and the following year a Tony Award for best performance by an actor, for the musical Hazel Flagg (based on the Carole Lombard film Nothing Sacred ). He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for his work in television at 6100 Hollywood Boulevard, and a second star for his work in motion pictures at 1651 Vine Street. [7]

Complete filmography

As actor

As writer

Other

Radio appearances

YearProgramEpisode/source
1953 Theatre Guild on the Air A Square Peg [8]
1945Suspense1945-02-22 John Barby and Son

See also

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References

  1. Life. October 19, 1953. "Labor gets a new secretary". p. 56.
  2. Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 34, Ideal Publishers
  3. http://www.the-lambs.org
  4. Monush, Barry. Hal Leonard Corporation. (2003). ISBN   1-55783-551-9. p. The Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. p. 509.
  5. 1 2 Wilson, Steve (2014). The Making of Gone With the Wind. University of Texas Press. p. 89. ISBN   978-0-292-76126-1.
  6. "Thomas Mitchell (1892-1962)". Find a Grave.
  7. "Walk of Fame Stars-Thomas Mitchell". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  8. Kirby, Walter (March 15, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 46. Retrieved June 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg