Tom Reese


The sullen, menacing, often chilling Tom Reese became a fixture on the TV westerns of the ‘60s, especially “Gunsmoke” on which he appeared 23 times.

Reese was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1928. Tom traveled in a trailer, like a medicine show, with his country music singer-father, Austin Allen. At 15, Tom was on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, then the Arthur Godfrey Show and Ted Mack.

Later, Tom did impressions of singers on the road in various clubs and studied theatre on his GI Bill in New York after he got out of the Marines in ‘51.

Luck reached out when Tom was involved with John Cassavetes Variety Arts Studio and was part of the cast of Cassavetes’ cult film “Shadows” in ‘59. This led to a role on Cassavetes’ TV series “Johnny Staccato” in late ‘59.

Reese continued working on dozens of TV series such as “Bonanza”, “Route 66”, “Virginian”, “Untouchables”, “Hondo”, “Gunsmoke”, “Bold Ones”, “Mannix”, “Wonder Woman”, “Charlie’s Angels”, and dozens more. He was a regular as Sgt. Velie on NBC’s “Ellery Queen” (‘75-‘76). Films include “Flaming Star” with Elvis, “Taggart”, “Greatest Story Ever Told” and “Vanishing Point”, among others.














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