Tom Drake

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Tom Drake
Drake in The Sandpiper (1965)
Alfred Sinclair Alderdice

(1918-08-05)August 5, 1918
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedAugust 11, 1982(1982-08-11) (aged 64)
Resting place Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California
Other namesRichard Alden
Years active1938–1978
Isabelle Dunn
(m. 1945;div. 1946)

Tom Drake (born Alfred Sinclair Alderdice; [1] August 5, 1918 August 11, 1982) was an American actor. Drake made films starting in 1940 and continuing until the mid-1970s, and also made TV acting appearances. [2]


Early life and career

Drake was born in Brooklyn, New York, [3] and attended Iona Preparatory School and graduated from Mercersburg Academy. [4]

He was excused from serving in World War II due to heart problems. [2] Despite this limitation, he did act in British training films.

Billed as Alfred Alderdice, Drake appeared on Broadway in Run Sheep Run (1938) and Clean Beds (1939). [5]

After appearing in the film The Howards of Virginia (billed as Richard Alden), [3] he got his break after starring in the 1942 Broadway smash Janie, [6] after which he was signed to a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. [7]


Drake in Meet Me in St. Louis Tom Drake in Meet Me in St Louis trailer.jpg
Drake in Meet Me in St. Louis

MGM started Drake in a supporting role in Two Girls and a Sailor (1944). He was third billed in a "B", Maisie Goes to Reno (1944) then had small roles in some "A" pictures, Marriage Is a Private Affair (1944) and Mrs. Parkington (1944).

He was more prominently featured in his role as Judy Garland's leading man in 1944's Meet Me in St. Louis . [3] He played John Truitt, the "boy next door".

MGM promoted him to leading roles with This Man's Navy (1944) co starring Wallace Beery.

MGM gave Drake the star role in The Green Years (1946), which was a huge hit. [8] It was followed by Courage of Lassie (1946), another big hit, and Faithful in My Fashion (1946), which lost money.

Universal borrowed him to play Deanna Durbin's leading man in I'll Be Yours (1947). [9]

Back at MGM Drake was a support in The Beginning or the End (1947) and Cass Timberlane (1947), and teamed with Beery again in Alias a Gentleman (1948). He did another Lassie film, Hills of Home (1948) and played composer Richard Rodgers in the loosely-based biography Words and Music (1948). Cass Timberlane was popular but the other films all lost money. [8]

Drake was borrowed by Fox to play the romantic lead in Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949) then at MGM was in Scene of the Crime (1949) with Van Johnson. He made The Great Rupert (1950) for George Pal.

Later career

Drake began appearing on episodes of TV shows such as The Ford Theatre Hour , Suspense, Lights Out, Tales of Tomorrow, The Unexpected.

He went to Columbia for Never Trust a Gambler (1951) and to Allied Artists for Disc Jockey (1951). He appeared in F.B.I. Girl (1951), and Sangaree (1953).

After television jobs for actors transitioned from live telecasts from New York to shows that were filmed in California, Drake had roles in the CBS series Lassie , NBC's Cimarron City , ABC's 77 Sunset Strip , ABC's The Rebel , CBS’ Perry Mason , ABC's Combat! , ABC's Land of the Giants , NBC's Adam-12 , ABC's The Streets of San Francisco and NBC's Banacek .

He continued to appear in features, starring in The Cyclops, Date with Disaster (1957) (a rare lead), and Raintree County (1957). He played the leader of a gang of criminals in Warlock (1959) and was in Money, Women and Guns (1958). He also had a minor role in the film The Singing Nun (1966), playing Ed Sullivan's producer Mr. Fitzpatrick.

His last acting credit was in 1975. [4]

Personal life

Tom Drake was married to Isabelle Dunn during the 1940s.

Drake was a Roman Catholic [10] and supported Adlai Stevenson during the 1952 presidential election. [11]


Drake died of lung cancer at age 64 at Torrance Memorial Hospital in Torrance, California on August 11, 1982. [4] His body is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. [1]



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  1. 1 2 Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 162. ISBN   9780786450190 . Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  2. 1 2 Classic Images bio. Archived 2009-07-26 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 11th December 2008
  3. 1 2 3 Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 203. ISBN   9781557835512 . Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  4. 1 2 3 "Movie actor Tom Drake, known as 'boy-next-door,' dies at 64". Chicago Tribune. Illinois, Chicago. Associated Press. August 12, 1982. p. Section 4–14. Retrieved June 12, 2018 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  5. "Alfred Alderdice". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on June 13, 2018. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  6. Replacement Cast information for Janie Archived 2012-10-21 at the Wayback Machine at Internet Broadway Database
  7. Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, 5th ed. McFarland. p. 153. ISBN   9780786457632 . Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  8. 1 2 The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  9. Scheuer, Philip K. (August 21, 1946). "Powell, Loy Recalled for 'Song of Thin Man'". Los Angeles Times. p. A2.
  10. Morning News, January 10, 1948, Who Was Who in America (Vol. 2)
  11. Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 33, Ideal Publishers