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Thomas Mitchell

Thomas John Mitchell (July 11, 1892 – December 17, 1962) was an American actor and writer. He was the first male actor to gain the Triple Crown of Acting by winning an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony Award. Throughout his career, he also served as a director, playwright and screenwriter.


Stagecoach (1940)

Our Town (1941)

Wilson (1945)

It's a Wonderful Life (1947)

High Noon (1953)


When Mitchell claimed the Tony Award in 1953 for Best Actor in a Musical for Hazel Flagg, he became the first performer to claim the Triple Crown of acting awards: a Tony, an Emmy (1953) and an Oscar (1940). He's only been preceded by 9 other actors who have the same title: Melvyn Douglas, Paul Scofield, Jack Albertson, Jason Robards, Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, Geoffrey Rush and Christopher Plummer.

He was a close friend of John Barrymore and became part of his Hollywood entourage of drinkers and raconteurs, which also included Charles MacArthur, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn, Roland Young and Anthony Quinn.

Considered one of the finest character actors in film, Mitchell had key roles in 5 movies made during "the best year in movies [1939]" alone: Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Only Angels Have Wings, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Gone with the Wind.

Mitchell was originally cast in All That Money Can Buy (1941), but while filming, he lost control of a horse-drawn carriage and suffered a fractured skull.

He was an avid collector of fine art, which included a Rembrandt panel acquired in 1940 from a Polish prince.

Mitchell attended Elizabeth (New Jersey) High School and had his first job as a newspaper reporter while a student there. Following graduation, he continued working as a reporter and was hired by newspapers in Newark, Washington, Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

Even though he was an actor of great versatility, he received both of his Oscar nominations for playing drunken doctors in John Ford films.

In the early 1960s, Mitchell originated the stage role "Columbo", later made famous on NBC and ABC television by Peter Falk.

Mitchell's nephew, James P. Mitchell, served as Dwight Eisenhower's Secretary of Labor.

One of the plays he co-authored, Little Accident, was made into a film (three times) by Hollywood.

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