Sonny Tufts

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Sonny Tufts

Tufts ca. 1955
BornBowen Charlton Tufts III
(1911-07-16)July 16, 1911
Boston, Massachusetts U.S.
DiedJune 4, 1970(1970-06-04) (aged 58)
Santa Monica, California U.S.
OccupationActor
Years active1943–1968
 
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Sonny Tufts

Tufts ca. 1955
BornBowen Charlton Tufts III
(1911-07-16)July 16, 1911
Boston, Massachusetts U.S.
DiedJune 4, 1970(1970-06-04) (aged 58)
Santa Monica, California U.S.
OccupationActor
Years active1943–1968

Sonny Tufts (born Bowen Charlton Tufts III, July 16, 1911, Boston, Massachusetts - June 4, 1970, Santa Monica, California) was a United States film actor.

Tufts was born into a prominent banking family, whose patriarch had supposedly sailed to America from England in 1638. He broke with the family banking tradition by studying opera at Yale, where he was a member of Skull and Bones.[1] After graduating from college in 1935, he auditioned with the Metropolitan Opera in New York but eventually worked on the Broadway stage. In 1942, Tufts went to Hollywood. He attained some fame during World War II, principally because, due to an old college football injury, he was one of the few handsome male actors not serving overseas in the war. In 1944 he was voted the number one "Star of Tomorrow" by exhibitors.[2]

He was married to Spanish dancer Barbara Dare from 1938 to 1953, and a relative of Charles Tufts, for whom Tufts University is named.

Tufts was a brother of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Phi chapter).[citation needed]

In a non sequitur on the cartoon show Rocky and His Friends, in the Jet Fuel Formula story arc, Bullwinkle J. Moose becomes very upset when Boris Badenov steals his autographed picture of Sonny Tufts. Also, Tufts is mentioned in the last sentence of the third sketch of the 48th show of the second season of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (also featuring Wailing Whale episodes 5 & 6), which was first aired on May 13, 1961.

In an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Rob sees a flying saucer that makes a noise "Uhny Uftz", which Rob mis-hears as "Sonny Tufts"[3]

In an episode of My Mother the Car titled "And Leave The Drive-In To Us," Mother wants to go to a drive-in to see Sonny Tufts for her birthday. Tufts himself makes an appearance at the very end of the episode, much to Mother's appreciation, and causing her radiator cap to pop!

In the November 26, 1966 episode of The Monkees, "I've Got a Litle Song Here", Mickey Dolenz, posing as a Hollywood studio head, says he's making a blockbuster movie, starring, "... Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor, Doris Day, and Sonny Tufts." To which the other person exclaims incredulously, "Sonny T---?? What a production!".

Tufts is the subject of an urban legend. The legend holds that he had been selected to host a well-known radio show as a last-minute replacement for a better known celebrity. The week before Tufts's episode was scheduled, the previous host introduced him with a combination of surprise and outrage, shocked that a relatively unknown actor would succeed him as host. There is no evidence, however, that such an incident occurred.[4] Tufts himself parodied this legend in frequent appearances on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: seated in a director's chair with his name printed on it, he would turn around to face the camera and utter a word or phrase relevant to the previous bit, in mock contempt.

Tufts died of pneumonia at age 58 in Santa Monica, California, on June 4, 1970.

Years after Tuft's death, during the 1980s, he became known as one of the semi-random people and places that TV host Johnny Carson used in his jokes on The Tonight Show.

Select Credits

References

  1. ^ Success Stories. Harper Collins. 1996. pp. 37. http://books.google.com/books?id=bGIs7R90isEC. 
  2. ^ "SAGA OF THE HIGH SEAS.". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) (Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia): p. 9. 11 November 1944. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26044148. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Sonny Tufts at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ Sonny Tufts? 22 July 2005

External links