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Born January 6, 1895
Bayard, Iowa, United States
Died April 14, 1980 (aged 85)
Vero Beach, Florida, United States
Years active 1915–1977
Robert Walker and Tom Fadden (right) in Vengeance Valley (1951)
Tom Fadden (January 6, 1895 – April 14, 1980) was an American actor. He performed on the legitimate stage, vaudeville, in films and on television during his long career.
He would make his film debut with a small role in 1939's I Stole a Million, which stars George Raft and Claire Trevor. He would have his first memorable bit in his next film, Destry Rides Again, starring Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart, where in the opening scene he is playing cards, and is cheated when Dietrich distracts him by spilling coffee in his lap. His film career would span almost forty years, and encompass over 90 films, mostly in small or supporting roles, although with an occasional starring role, as in 1940's Zanzibar. The 1940s would see him appear in other classic and notable films such as: the Bob Hope comedy, My Favorite Blonde (1942); Pardon My Sarong (1942), starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello; The Naughty Nineties (1945), again starring Abbott and Costello; the film noir, The Big Sleep (1946), starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall; and 1946's It's a Wonderful Life, where he had a particularly memorable scene as the Tollhouse Keeper on the bridge, who reacts to Clarence's (the angel) explanation of who he is to George Bailey (James Stewart).
The 1950s would see Fadden continue to appear in several notable films, including: Dallas (1950), starring Gary Cooper and Ruth Roman; 1956's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where his character is one of the first victims to succumb to the alien invaders; and Baby Face Nelson (1957), starring Mickey Rooney and Carolyn Jones. Fadden would also begin forays into the acting world of the small screen. One of his first television roles was that of Eben Kent, the earthman who adopts Kal-El on the inaugural episode of The Adventures of Superman. He would appear in numerous other television shows during the decade, including recurring roles on Broken Arrow (1956–58) and Cimarron City (1958–59). Although he would appear in only a handful of films in the 1960s, he would work regularly on television during the decade, including a recurring role on Petticoat Junction. His final acting credit was the 1977 science fiction horror film, Empire of the Ants, starring Joan Collins.
Fadden died of natural causes on April 14, 1980 in Vero Beach, Florida, and survived by his second wife, Jane.