Tom D'Andrea

Thomas J. D'Andrea[1] (May 15, 1909 – May 14, 1998) was an American actor in films and on television.

Tom D'Andrea
Tom D'Andrea in Tension.jpg
D'Andrea in Tension (1950)
Born(1909-05-15)May 15, 1909
DiedMay 14, 1998(1998-05-14) (aged 88)
Spouse(s)Helen Pender

Early yearsEdit

D'Andrea was born May 15, 1909, in Chicago, Illinois.[2] He graduated from high school with honors and excelled in basketball.[3]


D'Andrea's first job was at the Chicago Public Library,[1] after which he worked in publicity at the Sherman Hotel in Chicago.[3] Contacts with entertainers at the hotel led to an opportunity to work in Hollywood. After moving there in 1934, he became a publicist for Betty Grable, Gene Autry, Mae Clarke and Jackie Coogan.[1]

He began writing scripts in 1937, creating lines for Ben Bernie, Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor and Olsen and Johnson[1] and continued in television, writing for Cantor and Donald O'Connor on their shows.[3]

In 1941,[3] D'Andrea was drafted into the Army Air Corps. He was assigned to write a Gracie Fields program after being stationed at Camp Roberts, California..Reading lines at a rehearsal, Fields decided to have him read the lines in the show. He was assigned to the Overseas Radio Unit in 1943, and he began performing comedy in addition to writing.[3]

While at Ciro's Restaurant on Sunset Strip attracted a Warner Bros.' executive's attention, resulting in a role in This is the Army, with Ronald Reagan.[1] In 1946, the studio signed him to a long-term contract.[4]

He went on to roles in Pride of the Marines with John Garfield, Night and Day with Cary Grant, Never Say Goodbye, Silver River with Errol Flynn, and Dark Passage with Humphrey Bogart. His last film was A House Is Not a Home with Shelley Winters in 1964.

After working in the film Kill the Umpire, with William Bendix in 1950, D'Andrea was chosen to play the part of Gillis, Riley's talkative neighbor in the long running television series, The Life of Riley starring Bendix.[5] Other TV shows he appeared in were "Death Valley Days" with Ronald Reagan, "Playhouse 90" and the "Hallmark Hall of Fame."

On television, D'Andrea portrayed Biff, the bartender, in Dante[6] and acted as himself in The Soldiers.[5]: 990 

He appeared in the films This Is the Army, Pride of the Marines, Night and Day, Two Guys from Milwaukee, Never Say Goodbye, Humoresque, Love and Learn, Dark Passage, To the Victor, Silver River, Smart Girls Don't Talk, Fighter Squadron, Flaxy Martin, Tension, Kill the Umpire, The Next Voice You Hear..., Little Egypt and A House Is Not a Home. He appeared in the television series' The Soldiers, The Life of Riley, The Bill Dana Show, My Living Doll, The Farmer's Daughter, The Double Life of Henry Phyfe, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Andy Griffith Show, Green Acres and That Girl, among others.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

D'Andrea's first marriage ended in divorce. He next married model Helen Pender.[3] He was a Catholic and a member of both the Friar’s Club and Screen Actors Guild.[8]


D'Andrea died on May 14, 1998, in Port Charlotte, Florida at the age of 88,[1] at South Port Square.


Year Title Role Notes
1942 Across the Pacific Toy Seller Uncredited
1943 This Is the Army Tommy
1945 Pride of the Marines Tom
1946 Night and Day Tommy
1946 Two Guys from Milwaukee Happy
1946 Never Say Goodbye Jack Gordon
1946 Humoresque Phil Boray
1947 Love and Learn Wells
1947 Dark Passage Cabby – Sam
1948 To the Victor Gus Franklin
1948 Silver River 'Pistol' Porter
1948 Smart Girls Don't Talk Sparky Lynch
1948 Fighter Squadron M / Sgt. James F. Dolan
1949 Flaxy Martin Sam Malko
1950 Tension Freddie
1950 Kill the Umpire Roscoe Snooker
1950 The Next Voice You Hear... Harry 'Hap' Magee
1951 Little Egypt Max
1964 A House Is Not a Home Gabe
1967 Divorce American Style Mildred's Irate Husband Voice, Uncredited


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Thomas J. D'Andrea; Actor, Fixture in Comedy". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. May 28, 1998. p. B 7. Retrieved April 22, 2020 – via
  2. ^ Leszczak, Bob (2015). From Small Screen to Vinyl: A Guide to Television Stars Who Made Records, 1950–2000. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-4422-4274-6. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "He Doubles in 3 Dimensions". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Missouri, St. Louis. March 1, 1953. p. 100. Retrieved April 22, 2020 – via
  4. ^ "Warners Sign Tom D'Andrea". The Pantagraph. Illinois, Bloomington. September 22, 1946. p. 8. Retrieved April 22, 2020 – via
  5. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 602. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  6. ^ Johnson, Erskine (November 2, 1960). "Actors Play 'Musical Chairs'". The Rhinelander Daily News. Wisconsin, Rhinelander. Newspaper Enterprise. p. 8. Retrieved April 22, 2020 – via
  7. ^ Hal Erickson. "Tom D'Andrea". AllMovie. Retrieved May 27, 2018.
  8. ^ "Thomas J. d'Andrea; Actor, Fixture in Comedy". Los Angeles Times. May 28, 1998.

External linksEdit