Thomson (ca. 1927 or 1928)
February 26, 1890|
Pasadena, California, U.S.
|Died||December 25, 1928
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Gail Dubois Jepson (m. 1913–16)
Frances Marion (m. 1919–28) (his death); 2 children
Birth and athletic achievement
Born in Pasadena, California to Clara and Williell Thomson, he was the third of four sons. His father was a Presbyterian minister. His brother Samuel Harrison Thomson also attended Princeton University and won the all-round athlete of America title for 1919.
He married his college sweetheart, Gail Jepson and was ordained by the Presbytery of Los Angeles in September 1913. Three years later, Gail Jepson died of tuberculosis.
During World War I, Thomson served in the 143rd Field Artillery Regiment, known informally at the time as the Mary Pickford Regiment. Thomson joined the 143rd in Arcadia, California as a U. S. Army chaplain. While playing football, he broke his leg. Movie star Mary Pickford visited the patients in the hospital ward with her friend, screenwriter Frances Marion. Thomson and Marion agreed to marry after the war was over. The 143rd were sent to France in August 1918, but did not see any action before the armistice on November 11, 1918.
Thomson and Marion were married on November 2, 1919, at the Memorial Baptist Church in New York City, with Pickford as maid of honor.
Initially interested in directing, he ended up acting in one of Frances' films Just Around the Corner (1921). The movie was a success. Next, he had a co-starring role in another Pickford movie, The Love Light (1921), which was also directed and written by Frances. In 1923, Thomson starred in his own action serial The Eagle's Talons in which he performed his own stunts. Thompson was the No. 2 box office star for 1926 and 1927.
In early December 1928, Thomson stepped on a nail while working in his stables. Contracting tetanus, which his doctors initially misdiagnosed, he died in Los Angeles on Christmas Day 1928. He was survived by his widow, and their children Richard Thomson (adopted) and Frederick C. Thomson.
Thomson was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California (Whispering Pines, L-163 section). Pallbearers at his funeral included Harold Lloyd, Charles Farrell, Douglas Fairbanks, and George W. Hill. Honorary pallbearers included Buster Keaton and movie mogul Joseph M. Schenck.
Silver King was a white Palomino horse seventeen hands high. Al Rogell who directed Thomson's first seven Western films, told about Silver King:
- "He did all of the work...everything in the early pictures—the mouth work, the jumps, the chases, the falls, quick stops—and could untie knots, lift bars, etc. He could wink one eye, nod his head yes or no, push a person with his head. Thomson trained him to do certain things and expected him to perform them."
Only two of Thomson's movies have survived to the present day, The Love Light (VHS and DVD), starring Mary Pickford and Thundering Hoofs (VHS). In Thundering Hoofs, Thomson performs a dangerous jump from a moving stagecoach to one of the horses pulling the coach. He fell and suffered a compound fracture of his right thigh. Yakima Canutt completed the stunt. Production of the movie was delayed for weeks while Thomson recovered from his injury.
- Just Around the Corner (1921)
- The Love Light (1921)
- Penrod (1922)
- Oath-Bound (1922)
- The Eagle's Talons (1923)
- A Chapter in Her Life (1923)
- The Mask of Lopez (1924)
- North of Nevada (1924)
- Galloping Gallagher (1924)
- The Silent Stranger (1924)
- The Dangerous Coward (1924)
- The Fighting Sap (1924)
- Thundering Hoofs (1924)
- That Devil Quemado (1925)
- The Bandit's Baby (1925)
- The Wild Bull's Lair (1925)
- Ridin' the Wind (1925)
- All Around Frying Pan (1925)
- The Tough Guy (1926)
- Hands Across the Border (1926)
- The Two-Gun Man (1926)
- Lone Hand Saunders (1926)
- A Regular Scout (1926)
- Don Mike (1927)
- Silver Comes Through (1927)
- Arizona Nights (1927)
- Jesse James (1927)
- Pioneer Scout (1928)
- The Sunset Legion (1928)
- Kit Carson (1928)
||Constructs such as ibid., loc. cit. and idem are discouraged by Wikipedia's style guide for footnotes, as they are easily broken. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references (quick guide), or an abbreviated title. (July 2010)|
- "Fred C. Thomson, Screen Actor, Dies. Rival of Tom Mix in Western Roles. Was a Minister. Star Athlete While at Princeton.". Associated Press in New York Times. December 27, 1928. Retrieved 2009-07-24. "Fred C. Thomson, screen actor, featured in Western roles, died here shortly before midnight last night. He failed to rally from an operation for gallstones, performed three weeks ago."
- Frank Zarnowski (2005). All-around men. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-5423-6. "His father, a Presbyterian minister, was, by 1881, a pastor in Santa Monica, California. Frederick Clifton Thomson, born February 26, 1890, was the third ..."
- "Princeton Athlete, Brother of Former Champion, Scores 6,133 Points.". New York Times. September 21, 1919. Retrieved 2009-07-24. "S. Harrison Thomson, a 21-year-old Princeton University athlete, carried off the national A.A.U. all-around championship yesterday in the annual test conducted at Pershing Field, Jersey City, N.J., under the auspices of the Jersey City Department of Parks and Public Property."
- More Than A Cowboy: The Life and Times of Fred Thomson and Silver King (1988), Edgar M Wyatt, Wyatt Classics, pg. 23
- "Thomson All-Round Champion Athlete. Defeats Fifteen Picked Men in Amateur Athletic Union Contest at Chicago." (PDF). New York Times. August 14, 1910. Retrieved 2009-07-23. "C.F. [sic] Thomson of Los Angeles, Cal., to-night is champion amateur all-round athlete of America for 1910, winning that distinction at the annual championship of the Amateur Athletic Union on Marshall Field in this city this afternoon. His score was 6,991 points, 400 less than that which captured the championship last year."
- "F. C. Thomson The Leading Amateur". Boston Globe. August 14, 1910. Retrieved 2009-07-23. "F. C. Thomson of Los Angeles is champion amateur all-round athlete of the world for 1910 tonight, having won that distinction at the annual tournament on Marshall field in this..."
- Ellery Harding Clark (1920). Track athletics up to date. Duffield. "June 5, 1913; American Amateur Record, 7499 points, F. C. Thomson"
- ibid, page 38.
- ibid, pg. 39
- Fred Thomson at the Internet Movie Database
- Edgar M. Wyatt, More Than A Cowboy: The Life and Times of Fred Thomson and Silver King (Wyatt Classics, 1988), page 52
- ibid, page 110
- More Than A Cowboy: The Life and Times of Fred Thomson and Silver King (1988), Edgar M Wyatt, Wyatt Classics.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fred Thomson.|
- Fred Thomson at the Internet Movie Database
- Fred Thomson at SilentEra
- Fred Thomson at 'Readers of The Purple Sage'
- "Fred Thomson". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
- Fred Thomson "Vanity Fair" article at http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2002/04/joekennedy200204
- Fred Thomson at Virtual History