Tom Byrd

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Thomas "Tom" Byrd
Born Thomas "Tom" Byrd
(1960-05-18) May 18, 1960 (age 56)
Philippine Islands
Reared in Florida, USA


(1) Boone Sawyer on NBC's Boone (1983-1984)
(2) Lou Waller on UPN's Live Shot (1995)
Byrd was cast as young musician Boone Sawyer in NBC's Boone in 1983, but the series, created by sentimental author Earl Hamner, Jr., never garnered the needed ratings, as had Hamner's successful series, The Waltons and Falcon Crest.

Thomas Byrd, usually known as Tom Byrd, is an American actor, born in the Philippine Islands on May 18, 1960.


Byrd, who was reared in Florida, has primarily appeared on network television between 1981 and 2000. During the 1983-1984 season, at the age of twenty-three, he was cast as a teenager, Boone Sawyer, an aspiring Elvis Presley-style singer living in Tennessee during the 1950s, in the short-lived NBC series Boone.[1]

Boone was the replacement program (Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern) for Michael Landon's Little House on the Prairie, which concluded a nine-year run in the same time slot in the spring of 1983. The program was created by the author Earl Hamner, Jr., who had been far more successful with his CBS series The Waltons. A critic described Boone as "an excellent show that didn't get a chance" in the fierce competition of network television: That's Incredible! on ABC and Scarecrow and Mrs. King on CBS.[2]

Barry Corbin, a native Texan, played Byrd's father, Merit Sawyer, who considered the pursuit of a musical career to have been unlikely to succeed. Corbin later had a leading role on the CBS series Northern Exposure.[3] Ronnie Claire Edwards, the Oklahoma City native who starred as Corabeth Godsey, the wife of storekeeper Ike Godsey (Joe Conley) in Hamner's The Waltons, played Boone's "Aunt Dolly".[4]

Other stars on Boone included Elizabeth Huddle, as Boone's mother, William Edward Phipps as Uncle Link Sawyer, the husband of Aunt Dolly, Faye Sawyer, Andrew Prine as A.W. Holly, Julie Anne Haddock as Amanda, Robyn Lively as Banjo, and Amanda Peterson as Squirt Sawyer. Ten episodes aired in the fall of 1983, and three remaining segments were broadcast in late July and early August 1984.[2]

Byrd's first television appearance was in 1981 on ABC's situation comedy Laverne & Shirley in the episode entitled "Teenage Lust". His most recent role was in 2000 as Tim Walsh in two episodes of NBC's Frasier starring Kelsey Grammer. In the interval, he appeared in such series as NBC's Family Ties, The Facts of Life, and Remington Steele and CBS's Newhart and Murder, She Wrote starring Angela Lansbury. Byrd has also done stunts in several films, including Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), in which he had a small part as a soldier.[1]

In 1990, Byrd played an inmate in Young Guns II. The film, principally starring Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland, still occasionally airs on the American Movie Classic network.[5]

In 1995, Byrd was cast as Lou Waller, the ex-jock sportscaster with a secret that he fears could ruin his career, in Live Shot, a short-lived drama series from Rysher Entertainment broadcast on the UPN network during its initial season on the air. All UPN programs at the time were soon cancelled except for Star Trek: Voyager.[6]