(aka Vincent Markowski, Bill Burns)
August 9, 1903 - May 1, 1954
Born Vincent Markowski in Port Henry, New York, USA
See Chuck Anderson's Web Tribute to Tom Tyler
See Internet Movie Database Filmography
See all Tom Tyler products for sale at Amazon.com
A Lot of Favorite Memories of Tom Tyler
- As "Vincent Markowski" and "Bill Burns", working as a movie extra and stuntman in silent pictures, including small parts in
Leatherstocking (1924) and Ben Hur (1925).
His strong good looks and athletic physique Tyler was a champion weight-lifter and had been a sailor, boxer, lumberjack and coal miner
quickly earned attention and better roles.
- With his name changed to "Tom Tyler," signed to star in Let's Go Gallagher (1925) and a long series of silent westerns.by
FBO (Film Booking Offices), run by President John F. Kennedy's shrewd businessman father, Joseph Kennedy Sr.
- Switching to Syndicate Pictures, starring in more silent westerns and a few early talkies.
- Starring as "Jim Lester" in Mascot's first all-talking serial, Phantom of the West (1931), with Dorothy Gulliver and a good cast of old timers
including William Desmond, Tom Santschi, Kermit Maynard and Joe Bonomo.
- Replacing Tim McCoy as "William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody," in Universal's 12-chapter serial Battling with Buffalo Bill (1931), featuring
Lucile Brown, William Desmond, Francis Ford, Yakima Cannutt, and Joe Bonomo.
- Switching to Monogram Pictures for starring roles in eight sound B-westerns.
- Starring in three more serials for Universal, the first two considered lost:
- as "Kirk Montgomery" in Jungle Mystery (1932), with Cecilia Parker, Noah Beery Jr., and Onslow Stevens
- as as "Sergeant Tom Clancy" in Clancy of the Mounted (1933), with Julie Bishop, William Desmond, and Francis Ford
- as "Bob Raymond" in The Phantom of the Air (1933), with Gloria Shea and LeRoy Mason
- Starring in four low-budget B-westerns for Freuler/Monarch films.
- Signed by Reliable Pictures for eighteen more horse operas.
- Getting a career break in an unforgettable "good bad guy" part as the scrupulous gunman "Sundown Saunders" in RKO's Powdersmoke Range (1935),
advertised as the "Barnum & Bailey of Westerns" with its all-star cast including Harry Carey, Hoot Gibson, Bob Steele, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams,
and Sam Hardy.
This film was a prototype for the long-running "Three Mesquiteers" series that many action stars passed through in coming years, including Tom Tyler, Ray 'Crash' Corrigan,
Robert Livingston, and John Wayne.
- Meanwhile, back in Poverty Row, Tom starred in eight more B-westerns for Sam Katzman's Victory Pictures, including Cheyenne Rides Again (1937) with young Creighton Chaney, soon to be Lon Chaney Jr.
- In a breakthrough role as John Wayne's deadly enemy "Luke Plummer," complete with memorable death scene, in John Ford's archetypal A-western
This picture made a star of Wayne, and advanced the careers of co-stars Claire Trevor, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine and Andy Devine.
- Working for appreciative John Ford in good small parts for many years:
- "Captain Morgan" rescuing the beseiged fort in Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)
- Deputy handcuffing Preacher Casy (John Carradine) in The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
- Captain at airport in They Were Expendable (1945)
- "Corporal Mike Quayne," wounded leader of the Paradise River Patrol, singing drunkenly before they operate on him in a rolling wagon
in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
- "Captain Davis" in What Price Glory (1952)
- As "Commanding officer during evacuation" in the all-time Hollywood blockbuster Gone with the Wind (1939).
- In his only classic horror role but a great one! "Kharis, the Mummy" in The Mummy's Hand (1940), with a very strong supporting
cast including Dick Foran, Wallace Ford, Peggy Moran, Cecil Kellaway, Charles Trowbridge, Eduardo Ciannelli and George Zucco.
Though it's not a sequel to Boris Karloff's original The Mummy (1932), Tom Tyler's strong features and physique made an excellent
match with flashbacks of Karloff from that film, possibly the reason he was cast.
Stock footage of Tyler is used in subsequent films in the series, after long-suffering Lon Chaney Jr. took over as "Kharis."
Why didn't he do more horror films Tom Tyler as the Frankenstein Monster?
The mind boggles!
- As "Boxing Instructor and Referee" in Abbott and Costello's wartime hit comedy Buck Privates (1941).
- As the comic book hero "Captain Marvel" in Republic's incredible 12-chapter serial, Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941).
This is (arguably, but not very) the greatest cliffhanger ever made, thrillingly directed by William Witney and John English,
with a fabulous cast including Frank Coghlan Jr. (Billy Batson), Louise Currie, Billy Benedict, Nigel De Brulier (Shazam!),
John Davidson, Harry Worth, Robert Strange, Bryant Washburn, George Pembroke, George Lynn, Jack Mulhall, Reed Hadley, Kenne Duncan,
and the voice of Gerald Mohr as "The Scorpion."
Terrific music by Cy Feuer, fantastic special effects by Howard and Theodore Lydecker, and death-defying stunt doubling by the great Dave Sharpe!
It could hardly be improved on any count... but it would all fall apart without the hardcore performance of Tom Tyler (one of the few stars
of any era who wouldn't look ridiculous dressed like this), hurling a thug off a high building to his death, and machine-gunning desert tribesman
as they try to run away from him!
- As a contract player at Republic, taking over the "Stony Brooke" role from Robert Livington
(who took it over from John Wayne) for the final thirteen films in the popular "Three Mesquiteeers" series
co-starring with Bob Steele as "Tucson Smith" and first Rufe Davis, then Jimmie Dodd (later head Mousketeer for Disney TV)
as "Lullaby Joslin":
Outlaws of Cherokee Trail,
Gauchos of El Dorado and
West of Cimarron in 1941;
Code of the Outlaw,
Raiders of the Range,
The Phantom Plainsman,
Shadows on the Sage and
Valley of Hunted Men in 1942;
The Blocked Trail,
Santa Fe Scouts and
Riders of the Rio Grande in 1943.
- As "Clyde Bracken," the bad guy who committed the crime Cary Grant is wrongly accused of in the "A" romantic comedy The Talk of the Town (1942),
directed by George Stevens.
Tom is in unusually high-toned company with Grant, Ronald Colman and Jean Arthur.
- As "The Phantom," the hereditary jungle-lord comic strip hero in the Columbia serial The Phantom (1943), directed by B. Reeves "Breezy" Eason,
and featuring Jeanne Bates, Ernie Adams, I. Stanford Jolley, and Kenneth McDonald.
- As one of the three unfortunate drovers who try to quit John Wayne's cattle drive (Glenn Strange and Paul Fierro from The Creature Walks Among Us are the other two)
in Howard Hawks' classic western version of "Mutiny on the Bounty," Red River (1948).
A few moments later, all three are headin' for the Last Roundup,
but earlier, when the drive first moved out, Tom got a nice fleeting closeup among all the other hollering cowboys in the famous "Yee Hah scene."
This great action film features a dream cast including the Duke, Montgomery Clift, Walter Brennan, Joanne Dru, John Ireland and a veritable Who's Who of classic western players.
- As the gristmill captain who gives the blinded ex-superman a drink of water from a gourd cup in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949) starring Victor Mature, Hedy Lamarr and George Sanders,
and featuring a cast of Biblical proportions including genre favorites like Fritz Leiber, Mike Mazurki, Frank Reicher, Harry Cording, Ottola Nesmith and Angelo Rossitto.
- In supporting roles as famous western badmen in his declining years:
"Geronimo" in Valley of the Sun (1942),
"Frank James" in Badman's Territory (1946) and I Shot Jesse James (1949) and Best of the Badmen (1951),
"Wild Bill Yeager" in Return of the Bad Men (1948), and
"Emmett Dalton" in The Daltons' Women (1950).
- As himself, famous western star "Tom Tyler," riding into town with a great group of other cowboy actors
Rex Allen, Allan 'Rocky' Lane, Monte Hale, William Farnum, Ray 'Crash' Corrigan, Kermit Maynard, Tom Keene, and reformed owlhoot George Chesebro
to help their old movie pal Jack Holt fight Christmas tree rustlers (I kid you not) in Republic's delightful Roy Rogers oater Trail of Robin Hood (1950).
Directed by action ace William Witney, and featuring Gordon Jones, Penny Edwards, Emory Parnell and Clifton Young.
One of the most entertaining B-westerns.
- As "The Deputy" in the half-hour TV pilot Crossroad Avenger: The Adventures of the Tucson Kid (1953), written and directed by
the notorious Edward D. Wood Jr. at the beginning of his career.
Wood's usual sterling qualities are evident but less interesting than his good cast of declining old-timers:
Tyler (Wood allegedly met him when he bumped into him in Hollywood with his car!), Tom Keene, Lyle Talbot, Forbes Murray, Kenne Duncan
and Bud Osborne.
Ed plays the Pony Express rider himself.
- As a powerful movie icon gracing the cover of Forrest J Ackerman's wondrous "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine (as Captain Marvel, issue 101)
and great photo features in other Warren publications like "Screen Thrills Illustrated," "Super Heroes" and "Wildest Westerns,"
inspiring to all Monster Boomers who came in contact with them!
Go Back to BOOS WHO Classic Horror Players Directory List
Last revised August 22, 2005 by George "E-gor" Chastain.
Maintained by George "E-gor" Chastain