Tommy Noonan

Tommy Noonan (born Thomas Noone;[1] April 29, 1921 – April 24, 1968) was a comedy genre film performer, screenwriter and producer. He acted in a number of high-profile films as well as B movies from the 1940s through the 1960s, and he is best known for his supporting performances as Gus Esmond, wealthy fiancé of Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), and as the musician Danny McGuire in A Star Is Born (1954). He played a stockroom worker in the film Bundle of Joy (1956) with Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

Tommy Noonan
Tommy Noonan.gif
Thomas Noone

(1921-04-29)April 29, 1921
DiedApril 24, 1968(1968-04-24) (aged 46)
Resting placeSan Fernando Mission Cemetery
Years active1938–1967
  • Lucile Barnes (1947–1952; divorced; 2 children)
  • Carole Langley (1952–1968; his death; 4 children)

Early yearsEdit

Born in Bellingham, Washington,[2] Noonan was the younger half-brother of actor John Ireland.[2]

Noonan was the son of Michael James Noone and Gracie Ferguson. His father was a vaudeville comedian and a native of Galway County, Ireland. His mother, a piano teacher, was from Glasgow, Scotland.[2] He attended New York University.[3]


In 1934, Noonan and Ireland made their stage debuts with a New York-based experimental theater.[4] They later appeared together in three films, including I Shot Jesse James (1949).

Noonan had a repertory company of his own prior to World War II.[4] On Broadway, Noonan appeared in How to Make a Man (1960) and Men to the Sea (1944).[5]

After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, Noonan made his film debut in George White's Scandals (1945).[4]

He teamed with Peter Marshall to form a comedy team in the late 1940s. The team's performances were limited because they continued their individual careers, "working together only when both were available at the same time".[4] Working as Noonan and Marshall, they appeared on television, nightclubs, and in the films Starlift (1951), FBI Girl (1951) (in a brief appearance), The Rookie (1959), and Swingin' Along (1962). The duo went their separate ways after the release of Swingin' Along.

In 1953, Noonan appeared in the classic musical movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes as Gus Esmond, the nerdy fiancé of Marilyn Monroe's character Lorelei Lee. In 1955, he played a voyeuristic bank manager in the Richard Fleischer Film Noir Melodrama, Violent Saturday.[3]

In 1961, Noonan appeared on the CBS courtroom drama Perry Mason as the defendant and episode's title character, comedian Charlie Hatch, in "The Case of the Crying Comedian."

In the early 1960s, Noonan appeared in a few B movies, including Promises! Promises! (1963) with Jayne Mansfield and 3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt (1964) with Mamie Van Doren, which he also directed, wrote and produced. His last effort as a producer was Cottonpickin' Chickenpickers (1967), which was also Sonny Tufts' last movie.

Personal lifeEdit

Noonan was married five times. His last wife was actress Carole Langley whose stage name was Pocahontas Crowfoot.[2] They were married 16 years and had four children. Noonan also had a daughter from his first marriage and son from his second marriage.[3][6]


Eight months after an operation for a brain tumor, Noonan died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital, just a few days shy of his 47th birthday.[3][6]

Partial filmographyEdit


  1. ^ Clarke, Joseph F. (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 123.[full citation needed]
  2. ^ a b c d "Comedian Tommy Noonan, 46, Dies". The San Bernardino County Sun. United Press International. April 25, 1968. p. C-9. Retrieved November 17, 2017 – via  
  3. ^ a b c d "Tommy Noonan Dies After Long Illness at Hospital". Van Nuys News. April 25, 1968. p. 10A. Retrieved July 16, 2020 – via  
  4. ^ a b c d Erickson, Hal (2012). Military Comedy Films: A Critical Survey and Filmography of Hollywood Releases Since 1918. McFarland. pp. 76–77. ISBN 978-0786492671. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Tommy Noonan". Playbill. Archived from the original on 18 November 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Wide-eyed Star, Tommy Noonan, Dies Of Tumor". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Associated Press. April 25, 1968. p. A-15. Retrieved November 18, 2017 – via 

External linksEdit