Tom Dugan: Hard Working Hibernian

Dublin-born Tom Dugan (1889-1955) grew up in Philadelphia and was a manual laborer before breaking into show biz as an Irish tenor. He worked in minstrelsy, medicine shows, big time vaudeville, and musical comedy during his early years.

Dugan broke into films in 1927, appearing as a supporting player in over 250 of them over nearly three decades. Among them were The Way of All Pants (1927) with Charley Chase; Lights of New York (1928), the first all-talking picture; Broadway Babies (1929) with Alice White; They Knew What They Wanted (1930) with Van and Schenck; Doctor X (1932); Too Many Highballs (1933) with Lloyd Hamilton; Palooka (1934) with Jimmy Durante; The Circus Clown (1934) with Joe E. Brown; The Cat’s Paw (1934) with Harold Lloyd; Ah, Wilderness! (1935); San Francisco (1936); Pennies from Heaven (1936) with Bing Crosby; The Farmer’s Daughter (1940); The Ghost Breakers (1940) with Bob Hope; The Boys from Syracuse (1940); Ringside Maisie (1941) with Ann Sothern; To Be Or Not to Be (1942); A-Haunting We Will Go (194) with Laurel and Hardy; The Major and the Minor (1942); Coney Island (1943); Ghost Catchers (1944) with Olsen and Johnson; In Society (1944) with Abbott and Costello; Earl Carroll Vanities (1945); The Best Years of Our Lives (1946); Bringing Up Father (1946); The Perils of Pauline (1947); Merton of the Movies (1947) with Red Skelton; Road to Rio (1947) with Hope and Crosby; and The Lemon Drop Kid (1951).

To find out more about vaudeville and vaudeville veterans like Tom Dugan, please consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous,