93 (passed away Oct. 12th, 1991)
Aug. 13th, 1898
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Regis Toomey's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
The Pittsburgh-born and raised character actor of Irish descent initially studied drama at the university of his home town. One of four children of Francis X. and Mary Ellen Toomey, John Regis Toomey initially pondered a law career, but acting won out and he gradually established himself as a musical stage performer. Dropping his first name for acting purposes, he was touring in a production of "Little Nellie Kelly" in England when he developed an acute case of laryngitis. The severity of the problem forced a sincere rethinking of his career goals.
With the birth of sound pictures, Toomey made an auspicious debut with Alibi (1929) starring Chester Morris (I) where a climactic death scene sparked controversy...and a movie career that would include almost 200 pictures...and a number of other notorious death scenes. His lead/second lead status opposite such stars as Clara Bow (I), Constance Bennett (I), Barbara Stanwyck and Evelyn Brent fell away within a few years, finding more work in streetwise character roles. Fast-paced crime action was his forte and he was prevalent throughout the 30s and 40s, but, with time, he moved further down the credits list.
In the 50s he found employment on TV as a good guy, typically playing judges, sheriffs, businessmen, and police sergeants. He was a regular on "The Mickey Rooney Show"(1955). Fellow one-time singer Dick Powell (I) became a friend and Powell, having turned producer, saw to it that Toomey had involving roles on a couple of his TV series such as "Richard Diamond, Private Detective" (1957) and "Burke's Law" (1963). He was later a regular on "Petticoat Junction" (1987). Toomey played roles well past his 80th year.
His marriage (from 1925) to Kathryn Scott produced two children. They met in 1924 when he appeared in the musical "Rose Marie" which Kathryn had assistant choreographed. Toomey died of natural causes on October 12, 1991, at the Motion Picture Country House in Woodland Hills, California at age 93.
- Musical buffs will remember him as Uncle Arvide of The Salvation Army in the film version of _Guys and Dolls (1955/I)_ (qv).
- He had starring roles in the classic pre code films, _Alibi (1929)_ (qv) and _Other Men's Women (1931)_ (qv).
- Was a close friend to 'Ronald Reagan (I)' (qv) and 'Nancy Davis (I)' (qv).
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