An actor who won the Tony, the Emmy, and the Academy Award, a playwright who created the hit comedy "Little Accident" (1928), a director who staged "Fly Away Home" (1935), Thomas Mitchell was one of the most versatile performing artists of the first half of the 20th century. He was the quintessential character actor, capable of playing a heavy, a comic foil, the dissheveled buddy, the Irish uncle, or the amorous common man.
He was trained as a Shakespearean actor under Charles Coburn, yet gravitated toward the experimental end of the dramatic world, and even directed an early Eugene O'Neill play in 1917 for the Provincetown players. He appeared in an astonishing number of major motion pictures - "Gone with the Wind," "High Noon," "Lost Horizon," "The Hurricane," "Stagecoach," "It's a Wonderful Life," - before becoming a fixture in 1950s television in the various playhouse series beloved of that decade. David S. Shields/ALS