Tommy Farrell

Tommy Farrell (born Thomas Farrell Richards; October 7, 1921 – May 9, 2004) was an American actor and comedian who appeared in over 100 films and TV series between 1944 and 1983. He was best known for his sidekick roles in the Hollywood Golden Age.

Tommy Farrell
Thomas Farrell Richards

(1921-10-07)October 7, 1921
DiedMay 9, 2004(2004-05-09) (aged 82)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles
California, U.S.
Other namesTommie Farrell
Tom Farrell
Years active1944–1983
Spouse(s)Norma Farrell
Ann Farrell
Bobbi Farrell
Parent(s)Glenda Farrell
Thomas Richards
AwardsGolden Boot Awards 2003

Early years

A native of Hollywood, California,[1] he grew up watching his mother, actress Glenda Farrell, appear in films such as Little Caesar and I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang, opposite Edward G. Robinson and Paul Muni, respectively. His father was film editor Thomas Richards. Farrell attended St. John's Military Academy in Los Angeles and was a drama student at the University of Arizona. He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II.[1]


Farrell made his Broadway debut as a young drummer in Strip for Action[2] and made his movie debut in Winged Victory,[1] the film version of the Army Air Forces play of the same title.

During the 1940s, he became entrenched as a supporting player in B Westerns and cliffhanger serials. He also appeared in a number of other films, including Kissin' Cousins costarring with his mother, Glenda Farrell, and Elvis Presley, and A Guide for the Married Man with Walter Matthau. After the Westerns and serials, he migrated to television work.

On television, Farrell played Cpl. Thad Carson on The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin,[3] Riff Ryan on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,[3]:267 and Chet Holliday, father of Alice Holliday, in the 1958–59 syndicated sitcom This is Alice.[3]:1074 He was also a recurring guest star in two other sitcoms, Room for One More and Here's Lucy. He made six appearances on Perry Mason in minor roles such as salesman or reporter. He finally retired in 1979 after filming an episode of the Robert Urich series, Vega$.

Personal life

Farrell was married three times. He had a daughter, born in 1945, with his first wife, Norma, another daughter, born in 1951, with his second wife, Ann, and two more children, a son and a daughter, with his third wife, Bobbi.


In 2003, Farrell was honored during the 21st Annual Golden Boot Awards ceremony for his work in the Western genre, along with Sue Ane Langdon, Michael Dante, Graham Greene, Kris Kristofferson, and Tommy Lee Jones, among others.[4]


Farrell died of natural causes at the Motion Picture and Television Fund hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, at the age of 82. At the time of his death, he was the last living B Western sidekick from the golden era of Westerns.

He was survived by his wife, a son, three daughters, and three grandchildren.[5]



TV shows

See also


  1. Lentz, Harris M. III (2005). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2004: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. pp. 120–121. ISBN 9780786421039. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  2. "Strip for Action (1942)". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  3. Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  4. "Golden Boot Awards". Archived from the original on 8 February 2018. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  5. Willis, John; Hodges, Ben (2006). Theatre World. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 315. ISBN 9781557836502. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
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