Thomas Mitchell

Biography

Thomas Mitchell (July 11, 1892 – December 17, 1962) was an American actor, playwright and screenwriter. Among his most famous roles in a long career are those of Gerald O'Hara, the father of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, the drunken Doc Boone in John Ford's Stagecoach, and Uncle Billy in It's a Wonderful Life. Mitchell was the first person to win an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony Award. 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. 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 awards. 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 (his nephew, James P. Mitchell, later served as Dwight Eisenhower's Secretary of Labor). Like them, the younger Mitchell also became a newspaper reporter right after graduating from St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth. Soon, however, Mitchell found he enjoyed writing comic theatrical skits much more than chasing late-breaking scoops. Acting career 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 1937 film Lost Horizon. Following this performance, he was much in demand in Hollywood. That same year, he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his performance The Hurricane, directed by John Ford. Over the next few years, Mitchell appeared in many of the greatest films of the 20th century. 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 1942's Moontide, 1944's The Keys of the Kingdom (as an atheist doctor) and 1952's High Noon (as the town mayor). He is probably best known to audiences today for his role as sad sack Uncle Billy in Capra's 1946 Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life opposite James Stewart. This film, while not well received when released, has become a classic that is shown each year on broadcast television. It ranks regularly as one of the most beloved films of all time. 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, Zane Gray Theatre, and Hallmark Hall of Fame productions. In 1954, he starred in the TV series Mayor of the Town, in 1959 starred in 39 episodes of the TV series "Glencannon" and in the early 1960s originated the stage role "Columbo", later made famous on 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, in 1962 from peritoneal mesothelioma in Beverly Hills, California. He was cremated and his ashes stored in the vault at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory in Los Angeles. Awards and honors In 1953, Mitchell became the first person 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 motion pictures at 1651 Vine Street and one for his work in television at 6100 Hollywood Boulevard. Filmography as actor: Six Cylinder Love (1923) (film debut) Craig's Wife (1936) Theodora Goes Wild (1936) When You're in Love (1937) Lost Horizon (1937) Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) The Hurricane (1937) Trade Winds (1938) Stagecoach (1939) Only Angels Have Wings (1939) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) Gone with the Wind (1939) The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) Swiss Family Robinson (1940) Our Town (1940) Angels Over Broadway (1940) The Long Voyage Home (1940) Three Cheers for the Irish (1940) Out of the Fog (1941) The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) Joan of Paris (1942) Moontide (1942) This Above All (1942) Tales of Manhattan (1942) The Black Swan (1942) Immortal Sergeant (1943) The Outlaw (1943) Bataan (1943) Flesh and Fantasy (1943) The Fighting Sullivans (1944) Buffalo Bill (1944) Wilson (1944) Dark Waters (1944) The Keys of the Kingdom (1944) Adventure (1945) Three Wise Fools (1946) The Dark Mirror (1946) It's a Wonderful Life (1946) The Romance of Rosy Ridge (1947) Silver River (1948) Alias Nick Beal (1949) The Big Wheel (1949) Journey Into Light (1951) High Noon (1952) Destry (1954) Secret of the Incas (1954) While the City Sleeps (1956) Pocketful of Miracles (1961) By Love Possessed (1961)

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Known For
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The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

Clopin

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The Long Voyage Home

Driscoll

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The Dark Mirror

Lt. Stevenson

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Hank Morgan

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Cold Blooded

Buckmire

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The Fighting Sullivans

Mr. Thomas F. Sullivan

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Make Way for Tomorrow

George Cooper

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Immortal Sergeant

Sgt. Kelly

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Buffalo Bill

Ned Buntline

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Moontide

Tiny

Starring In
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Dream Scenario

David

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V/H/S/94

Sprayberry (segment "Holly Hell")

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Next Stop, Christmas

Kris Kringle (archive footage)

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Goalie

Punch Imlach

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Twisted

Chief Lloyd

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RoboCop

Omnicorp Technician

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Cold Blooded

Buckmire

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An Officer and a Murderer

Major Ken Lee

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Reel Love

Charlie Manfredi

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RED

Lone Agent

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1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year

Himself (archive footage)

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Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Thug

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Blind Injustice

Anthony Davis

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Our Fathers

Gary Bergeron

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The Many Trials of One Jane Doe

Detective Long

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Trilogy of Terror II

Lew

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Getting Away With Murder

Nazi Sympathizer #2

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Double Jeopardy

Eric

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Net Worth

Jimmy Thomson

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PCU

Bantam Draper

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Another Stakeout

Seattle Det. Gilliam

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Relentless: Mind of a Killer

Uniformed Policeman

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Dieppe

Jawarski

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Hitcher in the Dark

Big Man in Store

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Hollywood Out-Takes and rare Footage

Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

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The Great American West of John Ford

Actor 'Stagecoach' (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Pocketful of Miracles

Judge Henry G. Blake

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Und die Nacht wird schweigen

Noah Tuttle

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Too Young To Love

Judge Bentley

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While the City Sleeps

Jon Day Griffith

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

'Pap' Finn

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Hank Morgan

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The Miracle On 34th Street

Kris Kringle

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Destry

Rags Barnaby

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Secret of the Incas

Ed Morgan

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High Noon

Mayor Jonas Henderson

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Tales of Tomorrow, Collection 3

Captain Nemo / ... (3 episodes, 1951-1952)

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Journey Into Light

Gandy

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The Big Wheel

Arthur 'Red' Stanley

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Alias Nick Beal

Joseph Foster

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Silver River

John Plato Beck

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The Romance of Rosy Ridge

Gill MacBean

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The Dark Mirror

Lt. Stevenson

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It's a Wonderful Life

Uncle Billy

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Three Wise Fools

Terence Alaysius O'Davern

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Adventure

Mudgin

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The Keys of the Kingdom

Willie Tulloch

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Dark Waters

Mr. Sydney

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Buffalo Bill

Ned Buntline

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Wilson

Joseph Tumulty

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The Fighting Sullivans

Mr. Thomas F. Sullivan

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Bataan

Corp. Jake Feingold

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The Outlaw

Pat Garrett

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Immortal Sergeant

Sgt. Kelly

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Flesh and Fantasy

Septimus Podgers (Episode 2)

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The Black Swan

Tom 'Tommie' Blue

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This Above all

Monty

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Moontide

Tiny

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Joan of Paris

Father Antoine

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Tales of Manhatten

John Halloway

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Breakdowns of 1942

Self (uncredited)

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Song of the Islands

Dennis O'Brien

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The Devil and Daniel Webster

Daniel Webster in some long shots (uncredited)

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Out Of The Fog

Jonah Goodwin

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The Long Voyage Home

Driscoll

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Swiss Family Robinson

William Robinson

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Angels Over Broadway

Gene Gibbons

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Our Town

Dr. Gibbs

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3 Cheers for the Irish

Peter Casey

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The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

Clopin

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Gone with the Wind

Gerald O'Hara

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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Diz Moore

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Only Angels Have Wings

Kid Dabb

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Stagecoach

Doc Boone

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Trade Winds

Police Commissioner Blackton

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The Hurricane

Dr. Kersaint

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Make Way for Tomorrow

George Cooper

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Lost Horizon

Barnard

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Theodora Goes Wild

Jed Waterbury

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Adventure in Manhattan

Phil Bane

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