Tom Laughlin


Actor

About

Also Known As
Frank Christina, Lloyd E James, Tommy Laughin, Don Henderson, Harold Lapland, T C Frank, Frank Laughlin, James E Lloyd, Donald Henderson, Mary Rose Solti
Birth Place
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Born
August 10, 1931
Died
December 12, 2013

Biography

Although Tom Laughlin was one of the most financially successful independent filmmakers of his era, his low-budget, drive-in morality tales did not endear him to critics, and his eccentric behavior turned him into even more of a fringe character. Born in Minneapolis in 1931, Laughlin moved to Hollywood in the 1950s and became a fixture in B-movies and live teleplays. He occasionally land...

Biography

Although Tom Laughlin was one of the most financially successful independent filmmakers of his era, his low-budget, drive-in morality tales did not endear him to critics, and his eccentric behavior turned him into even more of a fringe character. Born in Minneapolis in 1931, Laughlin moved to Hollywood in the 1950s and became a fixture in B-movies and live teleplays. He occasionally landed small roles in higher-profile fare like Vincente Minnelli's film of the Broadway hit "Tea and Sympathy" (1956), the lavish musical "South Pacific" (1958) and the teen hit "Gidget" (1959). Laughlin began writing and directing his own films with the independent dramas "The Proper Time" (1962) and "Like Father, Like Son" (1965), but garnered his first success with the action drama "The Born Losers" (1967), in which he played a part-American Indian pacifist and karate expert named Billy Jack. The sequel "Billy Jack" (1971), which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in, cost $800,000 to produce and grossed approximately $65 million, with a sequel, "The Trial of Billy Jack" (1974), earning over $80 million. Laughlin attempted to build a fully-fledged media empire on the strength of the "Billy Jack" phenomenon, but by the time "Billy Jack Goes To Washington" (1977) was released, his audience had moved on. Laughlin attempted to revive the series throughout the rest of his life, going so far as to begin shooting a fifth Billy Jack film in 1985, which he had to abandon after suffering an injury while performing a stunt. Laughlin also launched three quixotic bids for President of the United States, running as a Democrat in 1992 and 2008 and a Republican in 2004. In his later years, he wrote several self-published books on psychology and health. Laughlin died on December 12, 2013, survived by his wife of 59 years, actress Delores Taylor.

Life Events

Photo Collections

The Born Losers - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for the low-budget biker film The Born Losers (1967). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Lafayette Escadrille (1958) - Got Ya' Scared, Princeton? American hijinks on the French airfield, David Janssen leads the jokers and the last bit baseball, with "Billy Jack" (Tom Laughlin) pitching to "Dirty Harry" (Clint Eastwood), in producer-director William A. Wellman's tribute to the World War One flying corps, Lafayette Escadrille, 1958.
Billy Jack (1971) - Do They Love Each Other? Observed by students (featuring singer-songwriter Katy Moffat at age 20) at her free-form progressive rural Arizona school, Jean Roberts (Delores Taylor) with Tom Loughlin (her writing and producing partner, husband, title character and director) discuss a field trip into town in Billy Jack, 1971.
Billy Jack Goes To Washington (1976) - And Congress Adjourns Lucie Arnaz in the Jean Arthur role (as “Saunders,” in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington) means to demonstrate to the appointed neophyte senator Tom Laughlin (writer, director and title character), his wife (Delores Taylor) and friends they’ve no chance to pass a bill, in Billy Jack Goes To Washington, 1976.
Billy Jack (1971) - He Thinks She Ran Away Runaway Barbara (Julie Webb), just returned home to Arizona but beaten by her deputy sheriff father and found by Tom Laughlin (the title character, writer and director), is examined by the doctor (Victor Izay) and compassionate sheriff (Clark Howat), leading to the introduction of educator Jean (Delores Taylor), in Billy Jack, 1971.
Billy Jack (1971) - Now Everybody's White Shooting at courthouse plaza in Prescott, Arizona, Bernard (David Roya), the confirmed wimpy-bully son of a powerful local rancher, is abusing the part-Indian kids (Debbie Schock, Stan Rice et al) from the nearby progressive school when their advocate (Tom Laughlin, the writer, director and title character) intervenes, in Billy Jack, 1971.
Billy Jack (1971) - I Am The Law Just as Kenneth Tobey (as deputy sheriff Mike) is about to execute the instructions of crooked rancher Posner (Bert Freed) to slaughter captured wild horses, title character Tom Laughlin, who also wrote and directed under assumed names, appears, his intervention finished with continuing narration by Delores Taylor (also Mrs. Laughlin) as Jean, early in Billy Jack, 1971.
Born Losers, The (1967) - You Bumped Into My Bike Bikers led by Jeremy Slate as "Danny," in their first encounter with a citizen of a California town, William Wellman Jr. his top aide, early in the biker-boom feature directed by and starring Tom Laughlin as vigilante "Billy Jack," in The Born Losers, 1967.
Delinquents, The (1957) - Dream Boy Scotty (Tom Laughlin) sends Cholly (Peter Miller) to pick up his date for him, then faces off with thug Eddy (Richard Bakalyan), in Robert Altman's first feature, The Delinquents, 1957.
Delinquents, The (1957) - She's A Child Scotty (Tom Laughlin) picking up Janice (Rosemary Howard) for a date, runs into trouble with her parents (James Lantz, Lotus Corelli), in Robert Altman's Kansas City-made first feature, The Delinquents, 1957.

Trailer

Bibliography