Thomas John Mitchell
July 11, 1892
Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||December 17, 1962 70) (aged|
|Resting place||Chapel of the Pines Crematory|
Ann Stuart Breswer,
(m. 1915;div. 1935)
(m. 1937;div. 1939)
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 , Pat Garrett in The Outlaw , and Mayor Jonas Henderson in High Noon . Mitchell was the first male actor to win an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony Award.
Mitchell was nominated for two Academy Awards, for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the films, The Hurricane (1938), and Stagecoach (1939). He won the award for his role in Stagecoach . He was nominated three times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series in 1952 and 1953, for his role in the medical drama The Doctor , and won in 1953. While he was nominated again in 1955, for an appearance on a weekly anthology series, he did not win. Mitchell won the Tony Award 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.
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.Later on, in the 1952 presidential election, Mitchell, a Republican himself, would go on to support Eisenhower's campaign. 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.
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.
Mitchell's breakthrough role was as the embezzler in Frank Capra's film Lost Horizon (1937).
Following this performance, he was much in demand in Hollywood.That same year, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Hurricane , directed by John Ford.
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,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 . 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.
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.
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.
|1923||Six Cylinder Love||Bertram Rogers (film debut)||Elmer Clifton|
|1936||Craig's Wife||Fergus Passmore||Dorothy Arzner|
|1936||Adventure in Manhattan||Phil Bane||Edward Ludwig|
|1936||Theodora Goes Wild||Jed Waterbury||Richard Boleslawski|
|1937||Man of the People||William J. Grady||Edwin L. Marin|
|1937||When You're in Love||Hank Miller|| Robert Riskin |
|1937||Lost Horizon||Henry Barnard||Frank Capra|
|1937||I Promise to Pay||District Attorney J.E. Curtis||D. Ross Lederman|
|1937||Make Way for Tomorrow||George Cooper||Leo McCarey|
|1937||The Hurricane||Dr. Kersaint||John Ford|
|1938||Love, Honor and Behave||Dan Painter||Stanley Logan|
|1938||Trade Winds||Commissioner Blackton||Tay Garnett|
|1939||Stagecoach||Doc Josiah Boone||John Ford|
|1939||Only Angels Have Wings||Kid Dabb||Howard Hawks|
|1939||Mr. Smith Goes to Washington||Diz Moore||Frank Capra|
|1939||Gone with the Wind||Gerald O'Hara||Victor Fleming|
|1939||The Hunchback of Notre Dame||Clopin||William Dieterle|
|1940||Swiss Family Robinson||William Robinson||Edward Ludwig|
|1940||Three Cheers for the Irish||Peter Casey||Lloyd Bacon|
|1940||Our Town||Dr. Gibbs||Sam Wood|
|1940||Angels Over Broadway||Gene Gibbons|| Ben Hecht |
|1940||The Long Voyage Home||Driscoll||John Ford|
|1941||Flight from Destiny||Prof. Henry Todhunter||Vincent Sherman|
|1941||Out of the Fog||Jonah Goodwin||Anatole Litvak|
|1942||Joan of Paris||Father Antoine||Robert Stevenson|
|1942||Song of the Islands||Dennis O'Brien||Walter Lang|
|1942||This Above All||Monty||Anatole Litvak|
|1942||Tales of Manhattan||John Halloway||Julien Duvivier|
|1942||The Black Swan||Tommy Blue||Henry King|
|1943||Immortal Sergeant||Sgt. Kelly||John M. Stahl|
|1943||The Outlaw||Pat Garrett||Howard Hughes|
|1943||Bataan||Cpl. Jake Feingold||Tay Garnett|
|1943||Flesh and Fantasy||Septimus Podgers||Julien Duvivier|
|1944||The Fighting Sullivans||Mr. Thomas F. Sullivan||Lloyd Bacon|
|1944||Buffalo Bill||Ned Buntline||William A. Wellman|
|1944||Wilson||Joseph Tumulty||Henry King|
|1944||Dark Waters||Mr. Sydney||Andre DeToth|
|1944||The Keys of the Kingdom||Dr. Willie Tulloch||John M. Stahl|
|1945||Captain Eddie||Ike Howard||Lloyd Bacon|
|1945||Within These Walls||Warden Michael Howland||H. Bruce Humberstone|
|1946||Three Wise Fools||Terence Alaysius O'Davern||Edward Buzzell|
|1946||The Dark Mirror||Police Lt. Stevenson||Robert Siodmak|
|1946||It's a Wonderful Life||Uncle Billy||Frank Capra|
|1947||High Barbaree||Capt. Thad Vail||Jack Conway|
|1947||The Romance of Rosy Ridge||Gill MacBean||Roy Rowland|
|1948||Silver River||John Plato Beck||Raoul Walsh|
|1949||Alias Nick Beal||Joseph Foster||John Farrow|
|1949||The Big Wheel||Red Stanley||Edward Ludwig|
|1951||Journey Into Light||Gandy||Stuart Heisler|
|1952||High Noon||Mayor Jonas Henderson||Fred Zinnemann|
|1954||Secret of the Incas||Ed Morgan||Jerry Hopper|
|1954||Destry||Rags Barnaby||George Marshall|
|1956||While the City Sleeps||Jon Day Griffith||Fritz Lang|
|1958||Handle With Care||Mayor Dick Williston||David Friedkin|
|1960||Too Young to Love||Judge Bentley||Muriel Box|
|1961||By Love Possessed||Noah Tuttle||John Sturgess|
|1961||Pocketful of Miracles||Judge Henry G. Blake (final film)||Frank Capra|
|1950||Showtime, U.S.A.||Performer||Episode: American Red Cross Drive|
|1951||Celanese Theatre||Uncle Sid||Episode: Ah, Wilderness!|
|1951||Armstrong Circle Theatre||Performer||Episode: The Long View|
|1952||Robert Montgomery Presents||Performer||Episode: The Farmer's Hotel|
|1951-52||Tales of Tomorrow||Prof. Frederick Vaneck/Captain Nemo||3 episodes|
|1951-52||Betty Crocker Star Matinee||Performer||2 episodes|
|1951-52||Pulitzer Prize Playhouse||Mr. Antrobus||2 episodes|
|1951-52||Studio One in Hollywood||Various Roles||4 episodes|
|1952||Lights Out||Performer||Episode: The Eyes from San Francisco|
|1952||Gulf Playhouse||Performer||Episode: Mr. Nothing|
|1952||Suspense||Henry Brown/Dr. Paul Morgan||2 episodes|
|1953||The Doctor||Matthew Day||Episode: Desk of Matthew Day|
|1953||The Backbone of America||Fred Tupple||Television Movie|
|1953||Of Time and the River||William Olivier Grant||Television Movie|
|1953||Of Time and the River Part II||Television Movie|
|1954||Omnibus||Shark Wicks||Episode: Nobody's Fool|
|1954||Medallion Theatre||Performer||Episode: The Gentle Deception|
|1954||Fireside Theatre||Performer||Episode: Afraid to Live|
|1954-55||General Electric Theatre||Mender McClure||2 episodes|
|1954-57||The Ford Television Theatre||Various Roles||6 episodes|
|1954-55||The United States Steel Hour||Scotty/Silas Lapham||2 episodes|
|1954-55||Mayor of the Town||Mayor Thomas Russell||39 episodes|
|1955||Damon Runyon Theater||Sylvester||Episode: It Comes Up Money|
|1955||The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn||Pap Finn||Television Movie|
|1955||Screen Directors Playhouse||Dr. Joseph H. Walton||Episode: The Final Tribute|
|1955||The Alcoa Hour||Cap. Jarvis||Episode: Undertow|
|1955||The 20th Century Fox Hour||Kris Kringle||Episode: The Miracle on 34th Street|
|1955-56||The Star and the Story||Various Roles||3 episodes|
|1955-56||Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||Carl Smith/Sam Hawkins||2 episodes|
|1951-56||Lux Video Theatre||Various Roles||6 episodes|
|1956||Celebrity Playhouse||Cal Logan||Episode: They Flee By Night|
|1956||Chevron Hall of Stars||Performer||2 episodes|
|1956||Telephone Time||Andrew Hamilton||2 episodes|
|1957||The O. Henry Playhouse||O. Henry||45 episodes|
|1958||Shirley Temple's Storybook||Emperor||Episode: The Nightingale|
|1958||Kraft Television Theatre||Whitehall||Episode: The Velvet Trap|
|1958||Playhouse 90||Mr. Carson||Episode: Natchez|
|1959||Laramie||Judge Matthew Hedrick||Episode: Dark Verdict|
|1959||Goodyear Theatre||Sarge||Episode: The Lady Bug|
|1959||Glencannon||Capt. Colin Glencannon |
Sgt. Harry Mork
|1959||The Untouchables||Milo Sullivan||Episode: The Underworld Bank|
|1960||Sunday Showcase||Performer||Episode: The Secret of Freedom|
|1960||The Right Man||Grover Cleveland||Television Movie|
|1961||The Joke and the Valley||Truman Winters||Television Movie|
|1961||Adventures in Paradise||Hubert Willis||Episode: A Penny a Day|
|1958-61||Zane Grey Theater||Various Roles||3 episodes|
|1961||Stagecoach West||Ethan Blount||Television Movie|
|1961||Our American Heritage||Joseph Murray||Episode: The Invisible Teddy|
|1916||Under Sentence||Performer|| Roi Cooper Megrue |
Irvin S. Cobb
|Harris Theatre, Broadway|
|1917||Nju||Performer||Osip Dymov||Bandbox Theatre, Broadway|
|1918||Crops and Croppers||Performer||Theresa Helburn||Belmont Theatre, Broadway|
|1918||Redemption||Artyomyeff||Leo Tolstoy||Plymouth Theatre, Broadway|
|1919||Dark Rosaleen||Performer||W. D. Hepenstall |
|Belasco Theatre, Broadway|
|1920||Not So Long Ago||Sam Robinson||Arthur Richman||Booth Theatre, Broadway|
|1921||The Playboy of the Western World||Christy Mahon||John Millington Synge||Bramhall Playhouse, Broadway|
|1923||Kiki||Adolphe||David Belasco||Belasco Theatre, Broadway|
|1926||The Wisdom Tooth||Bemis||Marc Connelly||Little Theatre, Broadway|
|1926||Glory Hallelujah||N/A||Thomas Mitchell||Broadhurst Theatre, Broadway|
|1927||Blood Money||James Bolton||George Middleton||Hudson Theatre, Broadway|
|1927-28||Nightstick||Tommy Glennon|| John Wray, J.C. Nugent |
Elaine Sterne Carrington
|Selwyn Theatre, Broadway|
|1928-29||Little Accident||Norman Overbeck||Thomas Mitchell||Morosco Theatre, Broadway|
|1931||Cloudy with Showers||Peter Hammill||Thomas Mitchell|
|1932||Riddle Me This||McKinley||Daniel N. Rubin||John Golden Theatre, Broadway|
|1932||Clear All Wires||Buckley Joyce Thomas|| Bella Spewack |
& Sam Spewack
|Times Square Theatre, Broadway|
|1933||Honeymoon||Bob Taylor||Samuel Chotzinoff |
& George Backer
| Little Theatre, Broadway |
Vanderbilt Theatre, Broadway
|1935||Fly Away Home||James Masters|| Dorothy Bennett |
& Irving White
|48th Street Theatre, Broadway|
|1935||Stick-in-the-Mud||Paw Meriwether||Frederick Hazlitt Brennan|
|1941||Crazy with the Heat||Performer||Sam E. Werris, Mack Davis, |
Max Liebman, Don Herold
& Arthur Sheekman,
|44th Street Theatre, Broadway|
|1947-49||An Inspector Calls||Inspector Goole||J.B. Priestly||Booth Theatre, Broadway|
|1949||The Biggest Thief in Town||Bert Hutchins||Dalton Trumbo||Mansfield Theatre, Broadway|
|1949-50||Death of a Salesman||Willy Loman (replacement)||Henry Miller||Morosco Theatre, Broadway|
|1953||Hazel Flagg||Dr. Downer||Ben Hecht||Mark Hellinger Theatre, Broadway|
|1960||Cut of the Axe||Rollie Evans||Sheppard Kerman||Ambassador Theatre, Broadway|
|1931||Cloudy with Showers||Morosco Theatre, Broadway|
|1932-33||Honeymoon|| Little Theatre, Broadway |
Vanderbilt Theatre, Broadway
|1933||Forsaking All Others||Times Square Theatre, Broadway|
|1933||Twenty-five Dollars an Hour||Theatre Masque, Broadway|
|1935||Fly Away Home||48th Street Theatre, Broadway|
|1935||Something Gay||Morosco Theatre, Broadway|
|1935-36||At Home Abroad||Winter Garden Theatre, Broadway|
|1935||Stick-in-the-Mud||48th Street Theatre, Broadway|
|1953||Theatre Guild on the Air||A Square Peg|
|1945||Suspense||1945-02-22 John Barby and Son|
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.
|1937||Academy Awards||Best Supporting Actor||The Hurricane||Nominated|
|1939||National Board of Review||Best Actor||Nominated|
|1940||New York Film Critics Circle||Best Actor||The Long Voyage Home||Nominated|
|1940||National Board of Review||Best Actor||Won|
|1952||Primetime Emmy Awards||Best Actor||N/A||Nominated|
|1955||Best Actor in a Single Performance||The Ford Television Theatre||Nominated|
|1953||Tony Award||Best Actor in a Musical||Hazel Flagg||Won|
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