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Tommy Bond Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (19)  | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (5)

Born in Dallas, Texas, USA
Died in Northridge, California, USA  (heart disease)
Birth NameThomas Ross Bond
Nickname Butch
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Forever etched in our minds as the bully with the protruding lip who gave beloved Alfalfa plenty of angst in the "Our Gang" serial shorts, actor Tommy Bond was actually a gentle, benign soul off the set. Born Thomas Ross Bond on September 16, 1926, in Dallas, Texas, he was discovered by a Hal Roach talent scout at the age of five simply walking hand-in-hand down a Dallas street with his mother. Asked to interview in Hollywood, Tommy made the exhausting Depression-era trek by car with his grandmother and was not disappointed. He debuted in the short Spanky (1932), billed simply as "Tommy" and enjoyed a two-year stay. He was released from his initial contract after appearing in Washee Ironee (1934), then struggled with unbilled bits and minor roles in features and in one- and two-reelers for Charley Chase and Monte Collins for the next few years. Roach happened to spot Tommy again in a bratty film role and re-signed him for the popular series, this time as the mean little kid Butch. Starting with Glove Taps (1937), Tommy immortalized himself as every schoolboy's nightmare, the perpetually scowling young thug purposely looking for fights.

Once Tommy outgrew the "Butch" role at age 14, he was left to fend for himself again, taking whatever jobs he could scrape up. He played one of the "Little Peppers" in a series of mild comedies of the early 1940s and rejoined Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer (although playing his constant nemesis on the "Our Gang" series, the two were friends in real life) with the low-budget "Gas House Kids" film series in the early 1950s. In between Tommy served in the Navy during WWII and found "B" feature work with Man from Frisco (1944), which was one of his best roles, The Beautiful Cheat (1945) and Big Town Scandal (1948), among others. Another highlight of his career was playing cub reporter Jimmy Olson in the Superman (1948) and Atom Man vs. Superman (1950) cliffhangers that starred Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill.

With acting jobs getting scarce, Tommy decided to focus instead on TV production. Avoiding the heartache and serious troubles (i.e., unemployment and substance abuse) suffered by many of his spurned child star alumni (including Switzer), Tommy wisely prepared for his future by attending Los Angeles City College and earning a degree in theater arts from Cal State L.A. in 1951. He worked over two decades as a stage manager and head of props for KTTV-TV in Los Angeles, and another two as stage manager and assistant director at KFSN-TV in Fresno before finally retiring. He was long married (52 years) to wife Polly Bond and had a son, Thomas R. Bond II. He died at age 79 of complications from heart disease. His autobiography "You're Darn Right It's Butch" came out in 1993 detailing his kiddie fame.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Thomas Ross Bond, best known as the bully Butch in the "Our Gang" comedies, was born September 16, 1926 in Dallas. He got his start at the age of 5 when a talent scout for Hal Roach studios approached him as he was leaving a movie theater with his mother. Moving from Dallas to L.A. Bond appeared in dozens of "Our Gang" and "Little Rascals" features before outgrowing the role. In the 1940s, Bond played Jimmy Olsen in two Superman movies but turned down an offer to play the role in the TV series. He also appeared as Joey Pepper in several installments of the "Five Little Peppers" a classic Saturday morning serial. In 1951, Bond quit acting and went into television directing and production work working at TV stations in and around L.A. before retiring in 1991. He did go back in front of the camera again in the 1970s Co-hosted "The Little Rascals Theater" TV series with Dr. Jackie Lynn Taylor and Mathew ("Stymie") Beard. "The Little Rascals Theater" was syndicated in a few TV markets. Thomas Bond was survived by his wife, Polly Bond, former Miss California, his son 'Thomas Ross Bond II'.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Austin R. Taylor

Spouse (1)

Polly Bond (19 April 1953 - 24 September 2005) ( his death) ( 1 child)

Trivia (19)

Bond's wife Polly Bond (aka Polly Ellis), a former model and Miss California, turned down the role of "Miss Kitty" on Gunsmoke (1955).
Bond played Jimmy Olsen in the first live-action Superman movies: Superman (1948) and Atom Man vs. Superman (1950), both chapter serials. But he turned down the role of Olsen in the TV series, Adventures of Superman (1952), starring George Reeves.
After college in 1951, he quit acting and became an assistant director at Channel 11 in Los Angeles; in 1972, to escape the pollution and traffic of Los Angeles, moved with his family to the San Joaquin Valley where he worked at Channel 30 until he retired in 1990.
Co-hosted "The Little Rascals Theater" TV series with Dr. Jackie Lynn Taylor and Mathew ("Stymie") Beard. "The Little Rascals Theater" was syndicated in a few TV markets during the 1970s.
Bond played "Butch" in the "Our Gang" comedies. He and Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer (who played antagonists onscreen), were the best of friends in real life, off-camera.
Son, Thomas R. Bond II, is a producer as well as the President/CEO of the family corporation, known as American Mutoscope & Biograph Co.
He recently hosted the new home video The Rascals (2004) made by 'American Mutoscope & Biograph [us]' .
His original role in the "Our Gang" comedies was as another member of the Gang. He was later recast as another character, the bully "Butch.".
After being promised twice, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce "Walk of Fame" committee, turned down Mr. Bond for a star on Hollywood Blvd., after over 65 years in show business and 72 movies. The same year, three disc jockeys from local Los Angeles radio stations all received stars on the Walk of Fame.
The monument that stood at 1716 North Vine Street, commemorating the first movie made in Hollywood, made by Bonds company, the 'American Mutoscope & Biograph Co. [us]'. was stolen April, 2005. Bond felt because of the monument's size, it had to have been an "Inside Job". He was so upset, he swore that the company would never shoot any project in the district of Hollywood.
Bond was one of the first "Charter" members of the newly formed Screen Actors Guild (USA) when he joined in 1938 at the age of 11 years old. His sponsor was Eddie Cantor.
As a boy, was an actor in the movie Adventure in Washington (1941), along with his friend, actor Gene Reynolds, who later became a producer of the hit CBS series M*A*S*H (1972).
Bond worked closely with director George Sidney who started out as a director with the OurGang/Little Rascals comedies in the 1930's.
Worked in prop management on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1967).
Good friends with actors Mickey Rooney, and Dean Stockwell from his MGM days as a child actor.
He and his wife were severely injured in a car crash in 1996.
He was the neighbor's son, the boy on the staircase with the ball, in the Laurel and Hardy film Block-Heads (1938). He later recounted that Stan Laurel developed the scene on the spot.
Things didn't go well for the other "Our Gang" members. Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer was shot dead in 1959 age 31; Darla Hood contracted hepatitis in hospital and died aged 47; William "Buckwheat" Thomas died of a heart attack age 49; and "Pete" (the dog), was fatally poisoned. Robert "Bobby" Blake, as of 2019 the sole surviving actor of "Our Gang", was tried and acquitted of his wife's murder.
Despite being known as Butch the Bully in The Little Rascals he was described by many to be a very friendly man, very opposite of the signature role that made him famous.

Personal Quotes (4)

I loved the business but as an actor you wait for your agent to call. If you work two or three months out of the year, you are real lucky.
The Hollywood I grew up in used to be a wonderful and magical place, with great folks. Now it is somewhere I would never want to be.
"If I died tomorrow, I experienced so many wonderful things, and met so many great people, and I lived in a great time in Hollywood... I was very fortunate, I had a great and full life".
My creed was always this from Yankee Doodle Dandy, I've been in this business a long time and I've never met a performer who, in the long run, wouldn't rather be a great guy than a great actor.

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