Tom Breneman

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Tom Breneman's Restaurant is seen here as it looked in 1947. Breneman broadcast his Breakfast in Hollywood radio program from here in the late 1940s.

Thomas Breneman Smith (June 18, 1902 – April 28, 1948)[1] was a popular 1940s American radio personality known to his listeners as Tom Breneman.

Early years[edit]

Breneman was born in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.[2] His father worked in a sand mine, and Breneman was one of six children. Breneman graduated from the public schools in Waynesboro and attended Columbia University.[1]


Breneman began broadcasting in 1927. In 1930, he was program director at KFVD in Culver City, California.[3] In 1931-32, appearing as Tom Brennie, he had a program, Laugh Club of the Air in New York City, an early audience participation show.[1]

Returning to the west coast, he hosted a morning variety show for Fels-Naptha soap from KFRC, San Francisco, to the CBS-Don Lee network circa 1935.[4]

In 1937, Breneman was host of Secret Ambition, which originated at KNX radio in Los Angeles, California, and was carried on CBS' newly formed Pacific Coast network.[5]

Breneman was host of the show Breakfast in Hollywood which aired on the Blue Network, ABC, NBC and Mutual at various times from 1941 to 1948.[6]

Breneman's program went through numerous title changes but was best known as Breakfast in Hollywood (1948–49). By the mid-1940s, Breneman had ten million listeners. The popularity of the radio program was such that he created his own magazine, and in 1945 he opened his own establishment, Tom Breneman's Restaurant, located on Vine Street off Sunset Boulevard.[6] The opening on March 26, 1945, had "a gala crowd of Hollywoodites in attendance, including distinguished members of the radio industry, a number of famed screen and air personalities, and representatives of the press."[7]


Breneman's wife was former actress Billie Dunn. They had two children, Gloria Anne, and Tom Jr.[1]


Breneman died April 28, 1948,[1] in Encino, California in 1948. His funeral was held May 1, 1948, in Hollywood, California.[8] He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale).[9] Breneman has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Tom Breneman, Famous Radio Star, Drops Dead". The Daily News. April 28, 1948. p. 7. Retrieved April 27, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  2. ^ "Tom Breneman With Friends". The Morning Herald. April 30, 1948. p. 24. Retrieved April 27, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ "(radio listings)" (PDF). Radio Doings. May 3, 1930. p. 35. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Titan Productions air check, "Fels-Naptha Program," April 16, 1935. In private collection.
  5. ^ "Los Angeles" (PDF). Radio Daily. December 28, 1937. p. 6. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-507678-8
  7. ^ "Quandary" (PDF) (April 8, 1945). Radio Life. p. 7. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Breneman Rites Saturday At 11". The Morning Herald. April 30, 1948. p. 24. Retrieved April 27, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  9. ^ Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2. McFarland & Company (2016) ISBN 0786479922

External links[edit]