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|From the film trailer for the 1935 film Mutiny on the Bounty.|
|Birthday/Birthplace||Stanislaus Pascal Franchot Tone
(1905-02-27)February 27, 1905
Niagara Falls, New York, U.S.
|Deceased||September 18, 1968(1968-09-18)
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Cause of death||Lung cancer|
|School(s)||The Hill School|
(m. 1935; div. 1939)
(m. 1941; div. 1948)
(m. 1951; div. 1952)
(m. 1956; div. 1959)
Franchot Tone (February 27, 1905 – September 18, 1968) was an American theater, film and television actor.
His real name was Stanislaus Pascal Franchot Tone , and he was born in Niagara Falls (New York). He was the youngest son of Dr. Frank Jerome Tone, president of the Carborundum Company, and his wife, Gertrude Van Vrancken Franchot.He had Franco-Canadian, Irish, English, and Basque ancestors, including the Irish patriot Theobald Wolfe Tone. [Citation required ]
Tone studied at Cornell University, where he was president of the drama club. He left family businesses and devoted himself to acting in the theater. After graduation, he moved to Greenwich Village, in New York City, and got his first role in the Broadway theater in the 1929 production based on Katharine Cornell’s play The Age of Innocence.
The following year he joined Theater Guild, a theatrical society, and played Curly in the play Green Grow the Lilacs (which was later the musical Oklahoma!). He was later a founding member of the Group Theater theater collective, along with Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford, Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Clifford Odets, and others, many of whom had worked with the Theater Guild. Strasberg had acted alongside Tone in Green Grow the Lilacs. These were intense and productive years for him: among the productions of the Group he acted in 1931 (1931) and Success Story (1932). Franchot Tone was recognized by critics as one of the most promising actors of his generation. Gary Cooper said that Tone was the best actor he had worked with.
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935).
The same year, however, Tone was the first of the group to leave the theater and travel to Hollywood, when MGM offered him a contract. However, he always considered cinema far inferior to theater and remembered his theatrical years with nostalgia. He often gave financial support to the Group Theater, which often needed it. He finally returned to the scene occasionally from the end of the 1940s. His big screen debut was with the 1932 movie The Wiser Sex. He gained fame in 1933, shooting seven films that year, including Today We Live, written by William Faulkner, and where he met his future wife Joan Crawford, Bombshell, with Jean Harlow (with whom he worked on three other films), and the smash Dancing Lady, again with Crawford, in addition to Clark Gable. In 1935, probably his best year, he worked on Mutiny on the Bounty (for which he was nominated for best actor Oscar), The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (Three Bengal Lancers) and Dangerous, with Bette Davis, with which it was rumored that he had an adventure.
He worked constantly during the 1940s, although few of the titles of this period are notable. An exception was Five Graves to Cairo (1943), the third film by young Billy Wilder, a spy story during World War II, starring Tone, Anne Baxter, Akim Tamiroff and Erich von Stroheim in the role of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.
In the 1950s, he moved to television and returned to Broadway. In 1957, he starred on Broadway in A Moon for the Misbegotten with Wendy Hiller. He co-starred in the medical television series Ben Casey between 1965 and 1966, in the role of Chief of Surgery Dr. Daniel Niles Freeland, supervisor of Casey. He also starred, directed and produced a film, an adaptation of Tío Vania, by Antón Chéjov (1957), with whom he was then his wife, Dolores Dorn.
In 1935 he married in New Jersey with the actress Joan Crawford, from whom he divorced in 1939. They filmed seven movies together: Today We Live (1933), Dancing Lady (1933), Sadie McKee (1934), No More Ladies (No more women) (1935), The Gorgeous Hussy (1936), Love On The Run (1936) and The Bride Wore Red (1937). She married and divorced three more times: with the model and later actress Jean Wallace (1941-48, with whom she had two children), with the actress Barbara Payton (1951-52) and, finally, with the much younger actress Dolores Dorn (1956-59).
A heavy smoker, Tone died of lung cancer in New York at 63 years of age. His remains were incinerated, and his ashes scattered.
Franchot Tone has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6558 Hollywood Boulevard.
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