Kenneth Tobey


Actor
Kenneth Tobey

About

Also Known As
Ken Tobey
Birth Place
Oakland, California
Born
March 23, 1919
Died
December 22, 2002

Biography

Solid character actor who also played a few action leads in 1950s films and TV. Tobey began playing bit parts shortly after WWII (a police photographer in Robert Siodmak's noir, "The File on Thelma Jordan," and a sentry in Henry King's war drama, "Twelve O'Clock High," both 1949). His first of a handful of leading roles in features came in one of his best-remembered films, the suspensefu...

Photos & Videos

It Came from Beneath the Sea - Lobby Card Set
The Thing from Another World - reissue Pressbook
The Thing from Another World - Publicity Stills

Biography

Solid character actor who also played a few action leads in 1950s films and TV. Tobey began playing bit parts shortly after WWII (a police photographer in Robert Siodmak's noir, "The File on Thelma Jordan," and a sentry in Henry King's war drama, "Twelve O'Clock High," both 1949). His first of a handful of leading roles in features came in one of his best-remembered films, the suspenseful science-fiction classic, "The Thing" (1951). As would be common for much of the rest of his career, Tobey played a dependable, unspectacular, heroic sort, in this case, the captain of a remote frozen outpost whose crew is being killed off by a thawed, murderous monster.

Further leading roles for Tobey came along only occasionally, and then mostly in similar fare (e.g. "It Came from Beneath the Sea" 1955). He did, however, provide sturdy support in Westerns, film noirs, and melodramas, including Otto Preminger's "Angel Face" (1952), Ida Lupino's "The Bigamist" (1953), John Ford's "The Wings of Eagles" (1956), and John Sturges' "Gunfight at the OK Corral" (1956). Tobey was also prominent in the many of the dramatic TV anthologies of the time like "Frontier" and "Panic!." He played Jim Bowie in support of Fess Parker in a series of one-hour "Davy Crockett" (1954-55) adventures, and starred opposite Craig Hill in his own series, "The Whirlybirds" (1954-57), in which the two men played daring helicopter rescue pilots.

Tobey has subsequently played supporting roles in many features through the 90s and kept busy on TV as well. He has played military men, police officers, and union leaders in films including "X-15" (1961), "Marlowe" (1968), "The Candidate" (1972), and "MacArthur the Rebel General" (1977). Tobey was one of the air traffic controllers in the hilarious "Airplane!" (1980), and Joe Dante affectionately used the veteran actor as the projectionist in "Gremlins 2: The New Batch" (1990).

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Body Shot (1993)
Desire & Hell at Sunset Motel (1992)
Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992)
Single White Female (1992)
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Innerspace (1987)
The Lost Empire (1985)
Cop
Strange Invaders (1983)
The Howling (1981)
Airplane! (1980)
The Murder That Wouldn't Die (1980)
Chuck Parks
Hero At Large (1980)
Nowhere to Run (1978)
Wild and Wooly (1978)
Mark Hannah
Don't Push, I'll Charge When I'm Ready (1977)
MacArthur (1977)
Admiral Halsey
Baby Blue Marine (1976)
Buick Driver
W.C. Fields and Me (1976)
The Death Squad (1974)
Hartman
The Missiles of October (1974)
Homebodies (1974)
The Alpha Caper (1973)
Walking Tall (1973)
Coffee, Tea Or Me? (1973)
Captain
Rage (1972)
Colonel [Alan A.] Nickerson
Ben (1972)
Engineer
The Candidate (1972)
Starkey
The Crooked Hearts (1972)
Fireball Forward (1972)
Billy Jack (1971)
Mike
Terror in the Sky (1971)
Captain Wilson
Marlowe (1969)
Sgt. Fred Beifus
A Time for Killing (1967)
Sergeant Cleehan
40 Guns to Apache Pass (1967)
Corporal Bodine
A Man Called Adam (1966)
Stark Fear (1963)
Cliff Kane
X-15 (1961)
Col. Craig Brewster
Seven Ways from Sundown (1960)
Lieutenant Herly
Cry Terror! (1958)
Frank Cole
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)
Bat Masterson
The Wings of Eagles (1957)
Herbert Allen Hazard
The Vampire (1957)
Buck Donley
Jet Pilot (1957)
Sergeant
The Search for Bridey Murphy (1956)
Rex Simmons
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)
Mahoney
The Great Locomotive Chase (1956)
Anthony Murphy
The Steel Jungle (1956)
Dr. Lewy
Davy Crockett and the River Pirates (1956)
Jocko
Rage at Dawn (1955)
Monk Claxton
It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)
Commander Pete Mathews
Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (1955)
Down Three Dark Streets (1954)
Zack Stewart
The Steel Cage (1954)
Steinberg
Ring of Fear (1954)
Shreveport
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
Col. Jack Evans
Fighter Attack (1953)
[Captain] George [Peterson]
Angel Face (1953)
Bill
The Bigamist (1953)
Tom Morgan
The Company She Keeps (1951)
Rex
The Flying Missile (1951)
Pete McEvoy
The Thing from Another World (1951)
Captain Patrick Hendry
Up Front (1951)
Cooper
Rawhide (1951)
Wingate
The File on Thelma Jordon (1950)
Police photographer
Love That Brute (1950)
Gunman
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)
Fowler
My Friend Irma Goes West (1950)
Pilot
The Gunfighter (1950)
Swede
Three Secrets (1950)
Officer
Right Cross (1950)
Third reporter
When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950)
Lieutenant
The Stratton Story (1949)
Detroit player
Twelve O'Clock High (1949)
Sentry
Illegal Entry (1949)
Dave
Free for All (1949)
Pilot
Task Force (1949)
Captain Williamson
The Great Sinner (1949)
Cabby
The Doctor and the Girl (1949)
Assistant
I Was a Male War Bride (1949)
Seaman
He Walked by Night (1948)
Detective
This Time for Keeps (1947)
Soldier
Dangerous Venture (1947)
Red

Cast (Special)

Clinic on 18th Street (1974)
Don Bates
The Old Man and the City (1963)
Burke O'Hara

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Ghost Writer (1990)

Life Events

1947

Feature film debut, "Dangerous Venture"

1951

Played first leading role in features in one of his best-remembered films, the science-fiction classic, "The Thing/The Thing from Another World"

1954

Played Jim Bowie in the five-part ABC adventure series, "Davy Crockett", starring Fess Parker in the title role

1962

Last feature film for several years, "Stark Fear"

1965

Played Dick on the short-lived CBS serial drama, "Our Private World", a primetime version of the network's daytime drama, "As the World Turns"

1967

Returned to features in the Westerns, "The Long Ride Home" and "Forty Guns to Apache Pass"

1970

First TV-movie, "Breakout"

Photo Collections

It Came from Beneath the Sea - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), featuring special effects by Ray Harryhausen. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Thing from Another World - reissue Pressbook
Here is a campaign book (pressbook) for The Thing from Another World (1951). Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater. This pressbook was prepared for the 1957 reissue.
The Thing from Another World - Publicity Stills
Here are a number of Publicity Stills from The Thing from Another World (1951). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Videos

Movie Clip

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) - Them Hollywood TV Shows Vic Morrow is Franklin the only cool guy in the sheriff's office run by Donahue (Kenneth Tobey) so they clash over techniques as we join bandits Larry and Deke (Peter Fonda, Adam Roarke) and their new sidekick Mary (Susan George), in Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, 1974.
Thing From Another World, The (1951) - Welcome To Our Igloo Banter by Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer, as Capt. Hendry (Kenneth Tobey) has first encounters with Nikki (Margaret Sheridan) and Dr. Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite), at the research station in The Thing From Another World, 1951.
Ben (1972) - Every Inch Of It Looking to determine how the pack of killer rats are getting around, LA cop Kirtland (Joseph Campanella) finds veteran character actor Kenneth Tobey as the engineer in charge of the sewers, while the gang finds its way into a spa, in Ben, 1972, sequel to Willard, 1971.
It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955) - Scans Bigger Than A Whale After a prologue referring to nuclear-age anomalies, Kenneth Tobey is Commander Matthews and Chuck Griffiths his executive, philosophical about their new submarine, but concerned when a large… thing… gives chase, opening It Came From Beneath The Sea, 1955, animation by Ray Harryhausen.
It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955) - What Makes Her So Unique? Narration resumes after a strange creature grabbed a Navy nuclear submarine in the Pacific, observing the large hunk of flesh left behind are Kenneth Tobey as Commander Matthews, Donald Curtis as Dr. Carter, and Faith Domergue, revealed as Dr Joyce, in It Came From Beneath The Sea, 1955.
It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955) - Golden Gate Bridge Systems failing, Dr. Joyce (Faith Domergue), Dr. Carter (Donald Curtis) and Commander Matthews (Kenneth Tobey) scramble as animator Ray Harryhausen's octopus adheres to the bridge in It Came From Beneath The Sea, 1955.
It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955) - Abandon Ship! Not among animator Ray Harryhausen's more famous works but still impressive, in its first proper appearance, the giant octopus takes down a supposedly French freighter in the Pacific, in It Came From Beneath The Sea, 1955.
Thing From Another World, The (1951) - Officer's Club Producer Howard Hawks' way of starting a Sci-Fi film, reporter Scotty (Douglas Spencer) meets Hendry (Kenneth Tobey) and pals (James Young, Robert Nichols) in Anchorage, in The Thing From Another World, 1951.
Thing From Another World, The (1951) - Super Carrot The whole gang, led by doctors Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite) and Stern (Edouard Franz), reporter Scotty (Douglas Spencer) following, examines the severed arm of The Thing From Another World, 1951.
Thing From Another World, The (1951) - That Thing's Alive! Barnes (William Self) takes over the watch and probably unwisely throws his electric blanket over the frozen alien, bringing Hendry (Kenneth Tobey), Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite) et al into action, in The Thing From Another World, 1951.
Thing From Another World, The (1951) - We Found A Flying Saucer! Captain Hendry (Kenneth Tobey) and the scientists (including Robert Cornthwaite as "Carrington") make a discovery at the North Pole, reporter Scotty (Douglas Spencer) in tow, in the Howard Hawks production, The Thing From Another World, 1951.
Marlowe (1969) - I'm A Trained Detective Paul Bogart, known for TV work including All In The Family directs the future Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor) as homicide cop French, reviewing a victim with a colleague (Kenneth Tobey), and P-I’s James Garner (title character) and sleazier George Tyne (as “Hady”) who were witnesses, in Marlowe, 1969, from a Raymond Chandler novel.

Trailer

Ben (1972) -- (TV Trailer) Following the surprise box office success of the rat-thriller Willard, in 1971, this was the TV trailer for the quickly produced sequel, in which the title character was not a human, but a rat, in Ben, 1972, starring Lee Harcourt Montgomery, Meredith Baxter and Joseph Campanella.
Candidate, The - (Original Trailer) A senate candidate (Robert Redford) finds his ideals weaken as his position in the polls gets stronger in The Candidate (1972).
Gunfighter, The - (Re-issue Trailer) The fastest gun in the West (Gregory Peck) tries to escape his reputation in The Gunfighter (1950).
Down Three Dark Streets - (Original Trailer) An FBI Agent takes on the three unrelated cases of his dead partner to track down his killer in Down Three Dark Streets (1954).
Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, The - (Original Trailer) A nuclear blast in the Arctic awakens The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953).
Angel Face - (Original Trailer) Jean Simmons goes to the dark side playing an unscrupulous woman who murders her loved ones for profit in Otto Preminger's Angel Face (1952).
Dirty Mary Crazy Larry - (Original Trailer) Three bandits attempt to evade the police in the high speed chase flick Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974).
Ring Of Fear - (Original Trailer) Mystery writer Mickey Spillane (himself) tries to help Clyde Beatty (also himself) deal with a plot to sabotage his circus.
Task Force -- (Original Trailer) Gary Cooper plays a naval officer who devotes his life to the development of the aircraft carrier in Task Force (1949).
This Time for Keeps (1947) - (Original Trailer) A famous singer's son falls for a swimming star in This Time For Keeps (1947) starring Esther Williams and Jimmy Durante.
Wings of Eagles, The - (Original Trailer) John Wayne stars in John Ford's The Wings Of Eagles (1957), the film biography of Frank "Spig" Wead, who started the air wing of the US Navy.
It Came From Beneath The Sea - (Original Trailer) Sushi gets its revenge as It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955) with stop-motion animation by Ray Harryhausen.

Bibliography