Tom Mix

01/6/1880 - 10/12/1940

Tom Mix was born in Mix Run, Pensylvania in 1880. When still a teenager, Mix served in the Spanish-America War in Cuba as part of the army's cavalry unit. After the war, he traveled all over the world serving in cavalry units in other conflicts in the Philippines, China, and South Africa. Once Mix settled back in United States, he joined Wild West Shows first as a ranch hand and then as a performer. Mix performed in Seattle in 1909 as part of Cheyenne Bill's Wild West Show. The show capitalized on crowds in town for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. The local newspapers praised Mix's exciting outlaw horse riding. In 1910, Mix began working behind the scenes on movie sets working with animals. Soon he was given small roles in front of the camera and before long he was starring in short western releases. In 1917, Mix signed with Fox and began to make feature length films. He is most well known for "The Lone Star Ranger" in 1923 and "The Great K & A Robbery" in 1926. These movies were the predecessors to later singing cowboys like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. Mix did not make a smooth transition to talking films and in 1928 left Hollywood and joined the Sells-Floto circus and once again toured the country. During this tour Mix again visited Seattle, this time as a movie star. He and other performers even put on a show for the Children's Orthopedic Hospital. In 1932, Mix returned to Hollywood with a contract with Universal. He filmed "Destry Rides Again" and "My Pal the King." In the late 1930s, Mix started his own circus and toured the country until his death in a car crash in October 1940.

Cultural Identity: 
Performing Art Group Affiliations: 
Flom, Eric L. Silent Film on the Stages of Seattle: A History of Performances by Hollywood Notables. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009. Print.