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,
Ones, Mannix, Wonder
Woman, Charlies Angels,
and dozens more. He was a regular as Sgt. Velie
on NBCs Ellery Queen (75-76).
Films include Flaming Star with
Greatest Story Ever Told and
Vanishing Point, among others.