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Overview for Tom Neal
Tom Neal

Tom Neal

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Also Known As: Died: August 7, 1972
Born: January 28, 1914 Cause of Death: congestive heart failure
Birth Place: Evanston, Illinois, USA Profession: Cast ... actor gardener landscaper
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albatros1 ( 2007-10-04 )

Source: Wikipedia The Internet Encyclopedia

Thomas Neal (January 28, 1914 - August 7, 1972) was an American actor famous for appearing in the critically lauded film Detour, a tryst with Barbara Payton and later committing manslaughter. Born in Evanston, Illinois, Tom Neal debuted on the Broadway stage in 1935. In 1938 he first appeared in film in Out West with the Hardys, part of the Mickey Rooney "Hardy family" movie series. That same year, he received a law degree from Harvard University. While in college at Northwestern and Harvard Universities, Neal was a stand-out on the schools boxing teams. He compiled a 44-3 (41 knockouts) ring record. Neal appeared in many low budget b-movies in the 40s and early 50s. In 1941 he starred with Frances Gifford in the Republic Pictures 15 episode serial, Jungle Girl. Perhaps his most memorable role was that of Al Roberts in the classic film noir Detour alongside Ann Savage. They went on to make five movies together. In 1951, he took to violence against aristocratic actor Franchot Tone. The fight broke out because of their mutual girlfriend, actress Barbara Payton. Neal, a former college boxer, inflicted upon Tone a smashed cheekbone, a broken nose and a brain concussion. After the incident Tone and Payton married and Neal had a difficult time finding work. He ended up supporting himself landscaping and gardening. Payton left Tone after only seven weeks of marriage and returned to the troubled Neal. Their relationship lasted four years. Neal remarried almost immediately and in 1957 fathered a son. His wife died the following year from cancer. In 1961, Neal married for the third time, to Gale Bennett. Four years later, he shot her in the back of the head with a .45-caliber gun, ending her life instantly. He was arrested and, although prosecutors sought the death penalty, he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to ten years in prison, of which he served 6 years. On December 7, 1971, he was released on parole, having served exactly six years. Eight months later in August of 1972, Tom Neal died of heart failure in North Hollywood, California at the age of 58. He was cremated, and his ashes stored in the vault at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory in Los Angeles.

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