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Tom Ewell (born S. Yewell Tompkins) enjoyed a stage career that spanned nearly fifty years. He made his Broadway debut in 1934. He was an established character comedian in the theater, when he was selected for George Axelrod's play, The Seven Year Itch, for the role of Richard Sherman, a summer bachelor who falls in love with his upstairs neighbor. In 1956, the film version of the comedy became a major hit, starring Marilyn Monroe and Ewell. Because of his homely face and cracked voice, Mr. Ewell admitted he could not last in leading roles. He appeared in so many flops before gaining success, he called himself "King of the Flops." Among many roles, he appeared in the comedy Adams Rib with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.
In 1950, Tom Ewell and his second wife, Marjorie Sanborn Ewell, bought a thirteen acre farm near Buckmanville in Bucks County. Mike Ellis, former Bucks County Playhouse producer, said, "Tom Ewell was the most important actor who stayed in Bucks County for a long time." He appeared at the Bucks County playhouse in Harvey, 1962, and in Clifford Odets The Country Girl, 1967. Ewell died in California in 1994 at the age of eighty-five.
Tom Ewell. Quinlan's Illustrated Dictionary of Film Stars, Hippocrene Books, Inc., NY, 1986.
Education and Training
University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin, 1927-1931
US Navy, Lieutenant and Senior grade, 1942-1945
Connection to Bucks County
Ewell bought a portion (13.344 acres) of a 100-acre farm near Buckmanville, Upper Makefield Township in 1950 with his wife Marjorie Sanborn Ewell. The property was located on Street Road and Updyke's Ferry Road and cost $30,000.
Colleagues and Affiliations
John Wexley, Oscar Hammerstein II, George Kaufman, Mike Ellis
His first wife, Judy Abbott, was the daughter of theater great George Abbott.
Ewell was active with the Bucks County Playhouse.
Clarence Derwent Award, John Loves Mary, 1947
Tony Award, The Seven Year Itch, 1952
Golden Globe Award, Best Actor for a Musical/Comedy, The Seven Year Itch, 1955
Donaldson Award, Variety's Poll of New York Drama Critics
Affiliations and Memberships
Member, The Players Club
AEA, SAG, AFTRA
They Knew What They Wanted, 1940
Desert Bandit, 1941
The Kansas Kid, 1941
Adam's Rib, 1949
Caribbean Capers, 1949
Southward Ho! Ho!, 1949
An American Guerrilla in the Philippines, 1950
A Life of Her Own, 1950
Mr. Music, 1950
Abbott and Costello Lost in Alaska, 1952
The Seven Year Itch, 1955
The Girl Can't Help It, 1956
The Lieutenant Wore Skirts, 1956
The Great American Pastime, 1956
A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed, 1958
Tender is the Night, 1961
State Fair, 1962
Wonders of Kentucky, 1965
Suppose They Gave A War And Nobody Came, 1970
To Find A Man, 1972
The Great Gatsby, 1974
The Spy Who Returned from the Dead, 1974
Easy Money, 1983
The Tom Ewell Show, CBS sitcom, 1960-1961
Baretta, ABC police drama, 1975-1977
Promise Him Anything, 1975
Return of the Mod Squad, 1979
Best of the West, ABC sitcom, 1981
Plus, many television appearances from 1951-1971
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