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 Tom Mix

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Tom Mix

Cowboy Actor. His movie career spanned 26 years, from 1909 through 1935. He made over 300 feature films, produced 88, wrote 71 and had time to direct 117. However, he made only 9 sound films and a cheap 15 chapter series called "Miracle Rider." He had a sidekick sorrel steed named "Tony" and the duo was renowned for performing their own stunts. No trick cameras or fake scenes were ever used, but at a price. Mix was injured many times. His all white hat and costumes, conveyed the good guy image which became a film trademark. He was born Thomas Hezekiah Mix in rural Cameron County, Pennsylvania to Edwin (a lumberman) and Elizabeth Mix, the third in a family of four. In 1888 his family moved to DuBois, Pennsylvania, where Edwin Mix opened a livery stable and Tom completed grade school and then quit. His father taught him to ride, and for the next few years he worked various odd jobs in town and as a waterboy for lumberjacks in the Allegheny Mountains. The Army was his vehicle to the outside world enlisting at age 18 and attained the rank of Sergeant spending the duration of his military time in the continental U.S. Tom ended his enlistment by simple desertion (not revealed until his death), found a variety of odd jobs in the Oklahoma Territory then was employed at the 101 Ranch, a defining period in his life, the largest in the country at that time, where he honed his western skills as a horseman and expert shot even winning prizes in Rodeo competition.. The Selig Polyscope Company came to Oklahoma to make western movies. Mix was engaged to find cowboys, Indians and locations for Filming. He offered to play a part, then signed on with Selig making 170 silent movies and eventually for The Fox Company. During this time, Mix rode many different horses but his first favorite was "Old Blue" who after a leg fracture had to be put down to be replaced by "Tony" the animal who became synonymous with Mix making his film debut in "The Heart of Texas Ryan" in 1917. Some of his many..."Ranch Life in the Southwest" (his first 1910) "Sky High" "Soft Boiled" "North of Hudson Bay" "The Best Bad Man" "The Great K&A Train Robbery" "The Lone Star Ranger" "Riders of the Purple Sage" and his last in 1935 "The Miracle Rider." His movie career wound down in the 1930's after silent films were replaced by talkies. He was never successful in making the transition and simply quit accepting an offer to tour with the Sells-Floto Circus. He began his own circus in 1937, but the venture proved a financial disaster. His big top folded in 1938. The final curtain was just around the corner. Two years later, while heading to California to discus a possible return to the movies, Tom Mix died in Arizona when his car plunged into a ravine. A marker memorializes the location, renamed Tom Mix Wash. His remains were flown back to California by a plane owner friend. Tom lay in state at Forest Lawn wearing his famous Platinum belt buckle with his initials set in diamonds. It is said, he still wears it. Then a simple private graveside service prior to interment. Legacy and honors...For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Tom Mix has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has his cowboy boot prints, palm prints in Grauman's Chinese Theatre. A posthumous induction was made into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There is a Tom Mix museum in Dewey, Oklahoma and another in Mix Run, Pennsylvania. A novel by author Daryl Ponicsan outlines the life of Mix and was published in 1975. In a bit of trivia...In 1933 Tom Mix began endorsing Ralston Cereal through the Tom Mix Straight Shooters Club and a radio series that outlasted him by ten years. Millions of kids tuned in glued to their radios. They learned the secret handshake, password and then sent in their saved box tops and hard to come by quarters for such items as the guns, rings, air planes, books, lariats, coins, bandanas, badges, stationery, cowboy clothes, make-up kits, telegraph sets, periscopes and branding irons. Things a must to have in those days by kids. They command a pricey amount and are very coveted today by collectors. He also was featured in his own comic book published by Fawcett Publications.

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 721
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Tom Mix (6 Jan 1880–12 Oct 1940), Find A Grave Memorial no. 721, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .