Tommy Noonan (April 29, 1921 – April 24, 1968) was a comedy genre film performer, screenwriter and producer. He acted in a number of ‘A’ and ‘B’ pictures from the 1940s through the 1960s, and he is best known for his supporting performances as Gus Esmond, wealthy boyfriend 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 stock room worker in the film Bundle of Joy (1956)with Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Born Thomas Noon or Thomas Patrick Noone (sources differ), Nonnan was the half-brother of actor John Ireland, and the two made their stage debuts with a New York-based experimental theater. They later appeared together in three films, including I Shot Jesse James (1949). He teamed with Peter Marshall to form a comedy team in the late 1940s. 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 Thomas Noonan appeared in the movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” as Gus Esmond.
In 1961 Tommy 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, Thomas Noonan appeared in a few B movies, including Promises! Promises! (1963) with Jayne Mansfield and Three 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. Not long after the release of the film, Noonan was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He died just a few days shy of his 47th birthday. He was survived by his wife, Pokie Noonan, and his four children: Vince, Susan, Kathleen, and Timothy. Tommy is also survived by his son from his first marriage to Lucille Barnes, Tom Huntington, and grandchildren Matthew and Claire.
- April, 29, 1921
- Bellingham, Washington
- April, 24, 1968
- Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
Cause of Death
- brain tumor
- San Fernando Mission Cemetery
- Mission Hills, California