Tom Neal

Thomas Neal (January 28, 1914 – August 7, 1972) was an American actor best known for appearing in the critically lauded film Detour, a tryst with Barbara Payton and later committing manslaughter. Born in Evanston, Illinois, Neal debuted on Broadway in 1935. In 1938 he first appeared in film in Out West with the Hardys, part of the Mickey Rooney "Hardy family" movie series. That same year, he received a law degree from Harvard University. While in college at Northwestern and Harvard Universities, Neal was a stand-out on the schools' boxing teams. He compiled a 44-3 (41 knockouts) ring record, and Neal was coached by Henry Lamar. Neal appeared in many low budget B-movies in the 1940s/1950s. In 1941 he starred with Frances Gifford in the Republic Pictures 15 episode serial, Jungle Girl. Perhaps his most memorable role was that of Al Roberts in the classic film noir Detour alongside Ann Savage. They went on to make five movies together. In 1951, he fought fellow actor Franchot Tone over their mutual girlfriend, actress Barbara Payton. Neal inflicted upon Tone a smashed cheekbone, a broken nose and a brain concussion.


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