Tom Pittman

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Tom Pittman
Born Jerry Lee Alten
(1932-03-16)March 16, 1932
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Died October 31, 1958(1958-10-31) (aged 26)
San Luis Obispo, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Car accident
Other names Geoff Parish
Thomas Pittman
Occupation Actor
Years active 1956-1958

Tom Pittman (March 16, 1932 – October 31, 1958) was an American film and television actor. After his death at the age of 26, the Los Angeles Times called him "one of Hollywood's most promising young actors."[1]


Pittman was born Jerry Lee Alten in Phoenix, Arizona. His father was television and radio actor Frank Alten.[2] Pittman began his career in acting in 1956 with a guest starring role on Science Fiction Theatre. He made his film debut that same year in D-Day the Sixth of June. Pittman went on to roles in numerous television Westerns including Gunsmoke, Cheyenne, Have Gun – Will Travel, The Restless Gun, and Cimarron City.[2] He also appeared in the 1957 drama The Young Stranger (1957) and the musical comedy Bernardine (1957). His final two roles were in the films Verboten! and High School Big Shot, both released in 1959, the year following his death.[1]


On October 31, 1958, Pittman was driving home after a Halloween party when he ran his Porsche Spyder off the road at a sharp curve in the Hollywood Hills. After he failed to return home, his father filed a missing persons report. On November 19, Los Angeles police officer, Roy Kerton,[3] retraced the roads Pittman's father said his son liked to drive and found the wreckage at the bottom of a 150 foot ravine. Pittman's car had crashed through the guard rail, landed at the bottom of the ravine where it remained out of sight.[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1956 D-Day the Sixth of June Air Force Officer Uncredited
1956 Between Heaven and Hell Replacement Uncredited
1957 The Young Stranger Lynn Spears
1957 The True Story of Jesse James Hughie Uncredited
1957 The Way to the Gold Sid Songster, Jr.
1957 Bernardine George Olsen Uncredited
1957 No Time to Be Young Stu Bradley
1957 Black Patch Flytrap (Carl)
1958 The Proud Rebel Tom Burleigh Credited as Thomas Pittman
1958 Apache Territory Lonnie Foreman Credited as Thomas Pittman
1959 Verboten! Bruno Eckart Released posthumously
1959 High School Big Shot Marvin "Marv" Grant Released posthumously
Year Title Role Notes
1956 Science Fiction Theatre Willis Episode: "Who Is This Man?"
1956 Climax! Episode: "Sit Down With Death"
1956 Highway Patrol Carjack Victim Episode: "Taxi"
1956 Gunsmoke Jimmy McQueen Episode: "Dutch George"
1956 Cheyenne Bushrod Episode: "The Long Winter"
1956 West Point Episode: "The Mystery of Cadet Layton"
1956 The Man Called X Episode: "Underground"
1956 The Ford Television Theatre Episode: "The Women Who Dared"
1957 Navy Log Lieutenant Cal Radin Episode: "Operation Golden Rule"
1957 Suspicion Joe Episode: "Four O'Clock"
1957 Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre John Harris Episode: "The Deserters"
1957 Trackdown Tom Sladen Episode: "The Marple Brothers"
1957 The Restless Gun Lex Harcourt Episode: "Revenge at Harness Creek"
1957 Gunsmoke Budge Grilk Episode: "Potato Road"
1957 Wagon Train Tom "Tommy" Nichols Episode: "The Mary Halstead Story"
1957 General Electric Theater Episode: "The Trail to Christmas"
1958 Have Gun – Will Travel' Grady Stewart Episode: "The Reasonable Man"
Credited as Geoff Parish
1958 Studio 57 2 episodes
1958 The Walter Winchell File Woody 2 episodes
1958 Telephone Time Wes Sheek Episode: "Trail Blazer"
1958 Trackdown Red Bolton Episode: "The Winter Boys"
1958 Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre Hank Episode: "The Last Test"
1958 M Squad Burt Kennedy Episode: "Day of Terror"
1958 Tombstone Territory Billy Clanton Episode: "Pick Up the Gun"
Credited as Thomas Pittman
1958 The Restless Gun Jason Leaf Episode: "The Manhunters"
1958 Buckskin Dan Pruitt Episode: "The Ballad of Gabe Pruitt"
1958 Tales of Wells Fargo Bill Dowd Episode: "The Gambler"
1958 M Squad Alvin Jessop Episode: "Dead or Alive"
1958 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Herold Episode: "The Case of Dr. Mudd"
1958 Man with a Camera Terry Killeen Episode: "Profile of a Killer"
1959 Zorro Romaldo Episode: "The Runaways"
1959 Cimarron City Jesse Stainback Episode: "Child of Fear"


  1. ^ a b "Body of Actor Tom Pittman Found in Car". Los Angeles Times. November 20, 1958. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Rising Actor Meets Fate of James Dean". Associated Press. November 20, 1958. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Roy Kerton Obituary". The Daily Republic. May 17, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Tom Pittman, Like James Dean, Is Killed Driving His Race Car". The Free Lance-Star. November 20, 1958. p. 2. Retrieved January 8, 2015. 

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