Thomas Ross BondOccupation / Title:
09/16/1926Date of death:
Tommy Bond was an American actor who got his start in the industry as a child at the age of 5. Bond passed away in 2005 due to heart disease.
Family and early life
Discovered by an agent of Hal Roach at the age of five leaving the cinema with his mother, Tommy Bond was driven to L.A. from Dallas by his grandmother, a gruelling journey made on mostly dirty roads between the two cities at the height of the great depression.
Landing a background and minor role for the Our Gang series, Bond worked for over two years before returning to school, earning periodic parts in various Hollwood productions. After leaving the series in 1934, Bond worked as a voice actor on various Warner Bros. short animations – appearing most notably as the character “Owl Jolson” in the cult cartoon “I Love to Singa” (1936). Bond voiced characters like Beans, and a variety of roles for the Merrie Melodies series, including Abner, Owl Jolson, Devil Boy and Peter Parrot.
Returning to Our Gang in 1936, this time Bond was cast as the infamous neighbourhood bully, the role of “Butch” which made him a memorable character, remaining on for an additional three years, before finally appearing in the final Our Gang short film – Bubbling Troubles, released in 1940.
Bond was drafted in the U.S. Navy during WWII, and retuned to acting in the late 1940s, portraying the cub reporter Jimmy Olsen – the close friend of Superman in the films Superman (1948) and Atom Man vs. Superman (1950).
After returning to college in the early 50s at Los Angeles City College – earning a degree in theatre arts, Bond transitioned from life in front of the camera to working on the production side of film and television, alongside influential individuals such as Norman Lear and George Schlatter. He had stints at Metromedia, KTTV, CBS and KFSN.
Bond retired from television in the 1990s, becoming a spokesperson for the Our Gang materials, even publishing an autobiography with the help with Fresno film historian, Ron Genini in 1994.
A credo in the film business…Never work with animals, children or Tommy Bond! I say this with love. When we did Five Little Peppers Tommy was already a pro. [Edith Fellows]
Tommy Bond is a great gentleman and true acting talent in the genre of Coogan, Cooper, and Rooney. It was always a pleasure working with this juvenile artist. [George Sidney, Academy Award Winning Director [Our Gang, Annie Get your Gun, Showboat, Pal Joey, Bye Bye Birdie]
Tommy Bond is one of the reasons I fell in love with The Little Rascals. His rendition of Just Friends in Mush and Milk is one of my favorite scenes in the entire history of the series. [Leonard Maltin, co-author The Little Rascals, The Life and Times of Our Gang] – Publisher Comments