Tom Brown; Radio, Film, TV Veteran
Tom Brown, the Arrow Collar Boy and Buster Brown to one generation of Americans but Al Weeks on television’s “General Hospital” to another, has died at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills.
Brown, born Thomas Edward Brown, was 75 when he died Sunday of lung cancer, said Louella Benson, a hospital spokeswoman.
Brown was the son of vaudevillian Harry Brown and musical comedy star Marie Francis. He broke into show business at 2 and made hundreds of radio broadcasts and dozens of appearances on the New York stage before moving into silent pictures while still a boy. He also was seen in advertisements for shirts, Buicks and Buster Brown shoes during that early period.
He came to Hollywood in 1924 for “The Hoosier Schoolmaster” and made several films in the 1920s and ‘30s, among them “Tom Brown of Culver,” “Anne of Green Gables,” “Maytime,” “In Old Chicago” and “The Duke of West Point.”
He normally portrayed baby-faced collegians, kid brothers or cadets and vainly tried to change his image after service in World War II, where he was decorated for bravery.
But he made few films after the 1950s and moved to television. There he was rancher Ed O’Connor on “Gunsmoke” and the police lieutenant on “Mr. Lucky,” in addition to his ongoing portrayals of Weeks on “General Hospital” and Nathan Curtis on “Days of Our Lives.”
Survivors include two sons, a daughter and five grandchildren.