Franchot Tone

Franchot Tone
Colombia Pictures


Franchot Tone
Film: South side of the 6500 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Feb. 27, 1905 in Niagara Falls, NY
Died Sept. 18, 1968 of lung cancer in New York, NY

Franchot Tone played a leading role in 100 films and four marriages.

Best known as a Hollywood star, he nevertheless preferred the stage to the screen and New York to Southern California.

In September 1951, he fought a bloody fistfight with tough-guy actor Tom Neal over actress Barbara Payton. He lost the fight (a broken nose, severe facial injuries), won the girl, then, after a seven-week marriage, rued his victory and divorced her.

Tone suffered a loss of image and considerable blood.

For Neal and Payton the scandal meant the loss of their Hollywood careers.

After Cornell University, Tone went into acting with a traveling stock company and in 1928, found quick success as a Broadway leading man.

Then sound films came in and Hollywood, seeking actors with good voices and proper diction, lured Tone and others to the movies.

Among his many films were "They Gave Him a Gun," "Three Comrades," the first version of "Mutiny on the Bounty," "The Lives of a Bengal Lancer," "Five Graves to Cairo" and later in the 1950s and '60s "Every Girl Should Be Married," "Uncle Vanya" and "Advise and Consent."

He often took stage roles between movie assignments. His "Uncle Vanya" was cited as a Chekhov classic and was later filmed.

In 1965, when his film career was fading, he became Dr. Freedland on the "Ben Casey" television series.

"I like my profession," he said. "Since there is not enough work elsewhere, I can work at it here. It's better to know you have a challenge than to sit and wait."

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Points of interest

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1935 Best Actor Mutiny on the Bounty Nomination

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