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Tom Kennedy



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July 15, 1885 in New York, NY
October 6, 1965 in Woodland Hills, CA
American actor Tom Kennedy at first entertained no notions of becoming a performer. An honor student in college, Tom excelled as an athlete; he played football, wrestled, and won the national amateur heavyweight boxing title in 1908. Eschewing a job with the New York City police force for a boxing career, Kennedy didn't have anything to do with movies until he was hired as Douglas Fairbanks Sr.'s trainer in 1915. Shortly afterward, he was hired for small parts at the Keystone Studios and remained primarily a bit actor throughout the silent period. Graduating to supporting roles in talkies, he was often cast as a dumb cop or an easily confused gangster. In 1935, Kennedy achieved star billing by teaming with comedian Monty Collins in a series of 11 Columbia two-reelers. In most of these, notably the hilarious Free Rent (1936), Tom was cast as a lummox whose density caused no end of trouble to the sarcastic Collins. Outside of his short subject work, Tom's most memorable screen appearances occured in Warner Bros' Torchy Blaine B-pictures, in which he was cast as the cretinous, poetry-spouting detective Gahagan. Tom Kennedy stayed active in films into the early '60s, looking and sounding just about the same as he had in the '30s; his most conspicuous screen bits in his last years were in Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot (1959) and Stanley Kramer's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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