biography

Born Vincent Markowski (sometimes shortened to Marko) in New York on August 9, 1903, western screen hero Tom Tyler worked as an auto worker, coal miner, and a lumberjack before rising to fame in silent films. Details of his early life are sketchy, at best. By the early 1920s, Tyler made his way to Hollywood. At 6'4", the muscular and handsome Tom Tyler quickly found work as an film extra and stuntman.

Tom TylerTom Tyler

LEFT: Tyler working out in the 1920s. RIGHT: With his horse in the late 1920s

In the 1920s, Tyler worked at various studios, including Pathe, MGM, and Film Booking Offices of America (FBO). In 1925, the financially burdened FBO was purchased by Kennedy-family patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy. When Tyler secured a contract with the newly solvent FBO studio that same year, his name was changed to Tom Tyler. FBO primarily made low-budget westerns, often distributed solely in the south and midwest, and the studio paid its actors meager salaries. Tyler's first film for the studio was Let's Go Gallagher, released in August 1925. Between 1925 and 1929, Tyler made nearly 30 films at FBO. However, in 1929 FBO was absorbed into a conglomerate which became RKO Studios. After leaving RKO, Tyler made films for nearly every poverty row studio, including Mascot, Victory, and Reliable. He met actress Jeanne Martel on the set of Reliable's Santa Fe Bound in 1936, and the couple married on September 4, 1937. After making two more films together, Orphan of the Pecos (1937) and Lost Ranch (1937), Tyler and Martel parted company.

Tom Tyler

Late 1930s Universal Studios still of Tom Tyler


By the late 1930s, many poverty row studios had either folded or were bought up by larger companies. Rolling with the punches, Tom Tyler moved on to such studios as Universal, Republic, and Columbia, taking on a larger variety of roles. Branching out from westerns, Tyler took roles in horror films and in serials portraying the comic book heroes Captain Marvel and The Phantom.

the films of tom tyler

Wild to Go (1926)

Tom Tyler in Wild to Go

Scene from Wild to Go

Tom and His Pals (1926)

Tom Tyler, Doris Hill and Frankie Darro

Promotional photo from Tom and His Pals with Doris Hill and Frankie Darro

The Man from New Mexico (1932)


Tom Tyler and Caryl Lincoln

With Caryl Lincoln in the Monogram western The Man from New Mexico

When a Man Rides Alone (1933)

Tom Tyler and Adele Lacy

With Adele Lacy in the poverty-row western When a Man Rides Alone, released by Monarch

Rip Roarin' Buckaroo (1936)


Tom Tyler

Tyler portrays boxer Scotty McQuade in the comedy adventure Rip Roarin' Buckaroo

The Three Mesquiteers (1930s and 1940s Republic Series)

Tom Tyler, Rufe Davis, and Bob SteeleTom Tyler, Jimmy Dodd, and Bob Steele

Republic promotional photos from Republic's successful Three Mesquiteers series of films. LEFT: Tyler, Rufe Davis, and Bob Steele. RIGHT: Tyler with Jimmy Dodd and Bob Steele

The Mummy's Hand (1940)


Tom TylerDick Foran and Tom Tyler

LEFT: Tyler as the mummy Kharis in Universal's The Mummy's Hand. RIGHT: As Kharis, Tyler tries to strangle Dick Foran

Cherokee Strip (1940)


Tom Tyler

Tom Tyler had a supporting role in the Paramount western Cherokee Strip

Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)

Tom TylerTom TylerTom TylerTom TylerTom TylerTom Tyler and Louise Currie

LEFT, CENTER A,B,and C: Tom Tyler as the title character in Republic's entertaining 12-chapter serial Adventures of Captain Marvel. CENTER D: Captain Marvel confronts the Scorpion. RIGHT: With Louise Currie

Outlaws of Cherokee Trail (1941)


Rufe Davis, Tom Chatterton, Bob Steele, Rex Lease, and Tom Tyler

From the Republic western Outlaws of Cherokee Trail with Rufe Davis, Tom Chatterton, Bob Steele, and Rex Lease

The Phantom (1943)

Tom Tyler as The PhantomTom Tyler as The PhantomTom Tyler as The Phantom

Tyler had a dual role as Geoffrey Prescott and the title character in Columbia's 15-chapter serial The Phantom

Boss of Boomtown (1944)


Tom Tyler and Rod Cameron

With Rod Cameron in the Universal western Boss of Boomtown

later years

Republic's popular Three Mesquiteers series eventually saw the production of 51 features. Tyler, who portrayed Stony Brooke, was on board for the final 13 films. However, he also appeared in earlier Three Mesquiteers films, such as Powdersmoke Range (1935) and The Night Riders (1939). There were numerous cast changes during the run of the series. By the time Tyler took over the role of Stony Brooke, Bob Steele portrayed Tucson Smith, and Rufe Davis was in the role of Lullaby Joslin. When Davis left the series in 1942, he was replaced by Jimmy Dodd. Avid TV viewers will remember Davis as "Floyd Smoot" in the CBS TV series Petticoat Junction from 1963 to 1970. As for Jimmy Dodd, from 1955 to 1959 he hosted The Mickey Mouse Club.

Although Tom Tyler acted in at least 200 films during his 30-year career, he never earned much money. The Phantom proved to be Tyler's last starring role. At the age of 40, he was diagnosed with a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis. Although he worked in films with some regularity, often the roles were little more than bit parts. Tyler's mobility was increasingly limited, and his facial features became distorted from the disease. By 1953, Tyler's health was in a rapid decline, yet he took a part in Ed Wood's 25-minute TV pilot Crossroads Avenger; in his scenes, he's clearly in great pain. After one more small role in the 1953 western Cow Country, Tyler, now crippled, headed east to the Detroit, Michigan, area to live with family members. Sadly, he passed away on May 3, 1954, of a heart ailment at the age of 50. Tyler was survived by his siblings.

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filmography

FILM
Cow Country (1953) with Edmond O'Brien and Peggie Castle
Crossroad Avenger: The Adventures of the Tucson Kid (1953) with Tom Keene, Lyle Talbot, Kenne Duncan, Harvey B. Dunn, and Bud Osborne
The Yellow Haired Kid (1952) with Guy Madison and Andy Devine
What Price Glory? (1952) with James Cagney and Corinne Calvet
The Lion and the Horse (1952) with Steve Cochran and Bob Steele
Outlaw Women (1952) with Marie Windsor, Allan Nixon, and Jackie Coogan
Road Agent (1952) with Tim Holt
Best of the Badmen (1951) with Robert Ryan, Claire Trevor, John Archer, Jack Buetel, Robert Preston, Walter Brennan, Bruce Cabot, and Lawrence Tierney
The Great Missouri Raid (1951) with Wendell Corey, Macdonald Carey, Ellen Drew, Ward Bond, Bruce Bennett, and Bill Williams
Rio Grande Patrol (1950) with Tim Holt and Cleo Moore
Fast on the Draw (1950) with James Ellison, Russell Hayden, Julie Adams, Raymond Hatton, and Fuzzy Knight
West of the Brazos (1950) with James Ellison, Russell Hayden, Julie Adams, Raymond Hatton, and Fuzzy Knight
Colorado Ranger (1950) with James Ellison, Russell Hayden, Julie Adams, Raymond Hatton, and Fuzzy Knight
Crooked River (1950) with James Ellison, Russell Hayden, Julie Adams, Raymond Hatton, and Fuzzy Knight
Marshal of Heldorado (1950) with James Ellison, Russell Hayden, Julie Adams, Raymond Hatton, and Fuzzy Knight
Hostile Country (1950) with James Ellison, Russell Hayden, Julie Adams, Raymond Hatton, and Fuzzy Knight
The Daltons' Women (1950) with Lash La Rue, Al St. John, Jack Holt, and Tom Neal
Riders of the Range (1950) with Tim Holt, Reed Hadley, and Robert Clarke
Trail of Robin Hood (1950) with Roy Rogers, Penny Edwards, Rex Allen, Allan 'Rocky' Lane, Monte Hale, Ray 'Crash' Corrigan, Kermit Maynard, and Jack Holt
Square Dance Jubilee (1949) with Don 'Red' Barry and Mary Beth Hughes
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) with John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, and George O'Brien
The Dalton Gang (1949) with Don 'Red' Barry, Robert Lowery, and Julie Adams
Masked Raiders (1949) with Tim Holt, Marjorie Lord, and Clayton Moore
The Younger Brothers (1949) with Wayne Morris, Janis Paige, and Bruce Bennett
I Shot Jesse James (1949) with Preston Foster, Barbara Britton, John Ireland, Reed Hadley, and Tommy Noonan
Blood on the Moon (1948) with Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes, and Robert Preston
The Golden Eye (1948) with Roland Winters, Wanda McKay, Mantan Moreland, Victor Sen Yung, and Evelyn Brent
Return of the Bad Men (1948) with Randolph Scott, Robert Ryan, Anne Jeffreys, George 'Gabby' Hayes, Steve Brodie, Robert Bray, and Lex Barker
The Dude Goes West (1948) with Eddie Albert, Gale Storm, James Gleason, and Gilbert Roland
Cheyenne (1947) with Dennis Morgan, Jane Wyman, Janis Paige, Bruce Bennett, and Bob Steele
Never Say Goodbye (1946) with Errol Flynn, Eleanor Parker, and Hattie McDaniel
Badman's Territory (1946) with Randolph Scott, George 'Gabby' Hayes, Ray Collins, Lawrence Tierney, and Steve Brodie
San Antonio (1945) with Errol Flynn and Alexis Smith
Sing Me a Song of Texas (1945)
Wagon Tracks West (1944) with Bill Elliott, George 'Gabby' Hayes, and Anne Jeffreys
Boss of Boomtown (1944) with Rod Cameron and Fuzzy Knight
The Navy Way (1944) with Robert Lowery and Jean Parker
Gun to Gun (1944)
The Blocked Trail (1943) with Bob Steele and Jimmie Dodd
The Phantom (1943) with Jeanne Bates
Riders of the Rio Grande (1943)
Santa Fe Scouts (1943) with with Bob Steele and Jimmie Dodd
Thundering Trails (1943) with Bob Steele and Jimmie Dodd
Wagon Tracks West (1943) with Bob Steele and Jimmie Dodd
The Phantom Plainsmen (1942) with Bob Steele and Rufe Davis
Raiders of the Range (1942) with Bob Steele and Rufe Davis
Shadows on the Sage (1942) with Bob Steele and Jimmie Dodd
Valley of Hunted Men (1942) with Bob Steele and Jimmie Dodd
Westward Ho (1942) with Bob Steele, Rufe Davis, and Evelyn Brent
Valley of the Sun (1942) with Lucille Ball and James Craig
The Talk of the Town (1942) with Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Ronald Colman, Edgar Buchanan, Glenda Farrell, and Rex Ingram
Code of the Outlaw (1942)
Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941) with Reed Hadley and Kenne Duncan
Border Vigilantes (1941) with William Boyd, Andy Clyde, Frances Gifford, Victor Jory, and Morris Ankrum
Outlaws of Cherokee Trail (1941) with Bob Steele, Rufe Davis, and Rex Lease
West of Cimarron (1941) with Bob Steele and Rufe Davis
Gauchos of El Dorado (1941)
Riders of the Timberline (1941) with William Boyd, Andy Clyde, Victor Jory, and Anna Q. Nilsson
The Light of Western Stars (1940) with Victor Jory, Morris Ankrum, and Noah Beery Jr.
Cherokee Strip (1940) with Richard Dix, Victor Jory, Andy Clyde, and Morris Ankrum
The Mummy's Hand (1940) with Dick Foran, Peggy Moran, Wallace Ford, and George Zucco
The Westerner (1940) with Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Forrest Tucker, Chill Wills, and Dana Andrews
Brother Orchid (1940) with Edward G. Robinson, Ann Sothern, Humphrey Bogart, Donald Crisp, and Ralph Bellamy
The Night Riders (1939) with John Wayne, Ray 'Crash' Corrigan, and Max Terhune
Stagecoach (1939) with Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Andy Devine, John Carradine, and Tim Holt
King of Alcatraz (1938) with Gail Patrick, Lloyd Nolan, Harry Carey, J. Carrol Naish, Robert Preston, Anthony Quinn, Dennis Morgan, and Richard Denning
Brothers of the West (1937) with Dave O'Brien
Lost Ranch (1937) with Jeanne Martel
Orphan of the Pecos (1937) with Jeanne Martel
Mystery Range (1937)
The Feud of the Trail (1937)
Cheyenne Rides Again (1937) with Lon Chaney Jr.
Trigger Tom (1936) with Al St. John and Bud Osborne
Phantom of the Range (1936)
Rip Roarin' Buckaroo (1936)
Santa Fe Bound (1936) with Jeanne Martel
The Last Outlaw (1936) with Harry Carey and Hoot Gibson
Pinto Rustlers (1936)
Roamin' Wild (1936)
Ridin' On (1936) with Rex Lease
Fast Bullets (1936) with Rex Lease
Born to Battle (1935)
Coyote Trails (1935)
The Laramie Kid (1935) with Snub Pollard
Rio Rattler (1935)
Silent Valley (1935)
Terror of the Plains (1935)
Powdersmoke Range (1935) with Harry Carey, Hoot Gibson, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, and Bob Steele
Silver Bullet (1935)
Tracy Rides (1935)
The Unconquered Bandit (1935)
Riding the Lonesome Trail (1934)
Fighting Hero (1934)
Mystery Ranch (1934)
Ridin' Thru (1934)
War on the Range (1933)
Deadwood Pass (1933) with Carlotta Monti
The Phantom of the Air (1933)
Clancy of the Mounted (1933) with Julie Bishop
When a Man Rides Alone (1933)
The Forty-Niners (1932)
Jungle Mystery (1932) with Noah Beery Jr.
Honor of the Mounted (1932)
Vanishing Men (1932)
The Man from New Mexico (1932)
Single-Handed Sanders (1932)
99 Wounds (1931)
Galloping Thru (1931)
Battling with Buffalo Bill (1931) with Rex Bell, Yakima Canutt, Joe Bonomo, Bud Osborne, and Jim Thorpe
Two-Fisted Justice (1931) with Yakima Canutt
The Man from Death Valley (1931)
Partners of the Trail (1931)
Rider of the Plains (1931)
God's Country and the Man (1931) with George 'Gabby' Hayes
West of Cheyenne (1931)
The Phantom of the West (1931) with Joe Bonomo and Kermit Maynard
Half-Pint Molly (1930)
'Neath Western Skies (1930)
The Canyon of Missing Men (1930) with Bud Osborne and Sheila Bromley
Call of the Desert (1930) with Bud Osborne
The Lone Horseman (1929)
The Man from Nevada (1929)
Pioneers of the West (1929)
The Sorcerer (1929)
The Phantom Rider (1929)
Law of the Plains (1929)
The Pride of Pawnee (1929) with Frankie Darro
Idaho Red (1929) with Frankie Darro
Gun Law (1929) with Frankie Darro
Trail of the Horse Thieves (1929) with Frankie Darro
Terror Mountain (1928) with Frankie Darro
Tyrant of Red Gulch (1928) with Frankie Darro
The Avenging Rider (1928) with Frankie Darro
Terror (1928) with Frankie Darro
The Texas Tornado (1928) with Frankie Darro
Phantom of the Range (1928) with Frankie Darro
When the Law Rides (1928) with Frankie Darro
The Desert Pirate (1927) with Frankie Darro
The Cherokee Kid (1927)
The Flying U Ranch (1927) with Frankie Darro
Tom's Gang (1927) with Frankie Darro
Splitting the Breeze (1927)
Cyclone of the Range (1927) with Frankie Darro
The Sonora Kid (1927)
Lightning Lariats (1927) with Frankie Darro
Out of the West (1926) with Frankie Darro
Tom and His Pals (1926) with Doris Hill and Frankie Darro
Red Hot Hoofs (1926) with Frankie Darro
The Cowboy Cop (1926) with Jean Arthur and Frankie Darro
The Masquerade Bandit (1926) with Frankie Darro
Wild to Go (1926) with Frankie Darro
The Arizona Streak (1926) with Frankie Darro
Born to Battle (1926) with Jean Arthur and Frankie Darro
Ben-Hur (1925) with Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman, May McAvoy, and Betty Bronson
The Cowboy Musketeer (1925) with Frankie Darro
The Wyoming Wildcat (1925) with Frankie Darro
Let's Go Gallagher (1925)

TELEVISION APPEARANCES
Cowboy G-Men, episode Salted Mines, originally aired December 20, 1952
The Gene Autry Show, episode Trouble at Silver Creek, originally aired March 9, 1952
Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, episode Mexican Gun Running Story, originally aired February 17, 1952
The Gene Autry Show, episode Thunder Out West, originally aired January 1952
Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, episode Bitter Creek Masquerade, originally aired July 1, 1951
The Cisco Kid, episode Uncle Disinherits Niece, originally aired February 13, 1951
The Cisco Kid, episode Phoney Sheriff, originally aired February 6, 1951
The Cisco Kid, episode Haven for Heavies, originally aired January 13, 1951
The Cisco Kid, episode Wedding Blackmail, originally aired December 5, 1950
The Lone Ranger, episode Damsels in Distress, originally aired June 8, 1950

tom tyler links

Tom Tyler: Cowboy Movie Hero
This site is the last word on actor Tom Tyler, complete with a lengthy biography and many images.

The Official Tom Tyler Site
Operated by the Tyler family, the Official Tom Tyler Site is now little more than a page of links, but soon look for photos and information about the great Tom Tyler.

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Watch Tom Tyler's 1943 serial The Phantom

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