Tom Laughlin

Actor, Director, Producer
Although Tom Laughlin was one of the most financially successful independent filmmakers of his era, his low-budget, drive-in morality tales did not endear him to critics, and his eccentric behavior turned him into even ... Read more »
Born: 08/10/1931 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Filmography

Actor (16)

The Legend of the Lone Ranger 1981 (Movie)

Neeley (Actor)

Billy Jack Goes to Washington 1975 (Movie)

Billy Jack (Actor)

The Master Gunfighter 1975 (Movie)

Finley McCloud (Actor)

The Trial of Billy Jack 1973 (Movie)

Billy Jack (Actor)

Billy Jack 1971 (Movie)

Billy Jack (Actor)

The Born Losers 1966 (Movie)

Billy Jack (Actor)

Tall Story 1960 (Movie)

Fred Jensen (Actor)

Battle of the Coral Sea 1958 (Movie)

Ensign Franklin (Actor)

Gidget 1958 (Movie)

Lover Boy (Actor)

Hell Bent For Glory 1958 (Movie)

Arthur Blumenthal (Actor)

Senior Prom 1958 (Movie)

Carter Breed III (Actor)

South Pacific 1958 (Movie)

Buzz Adams (Actor)

The Delinquents 1957 (Movie)

Scotty (Actor)

Tea and Sympathy 1956 (Movie)

Ralph (Actor)

These Wilder Years 1956 (Movie)

Football Player (Actor)
Director (4)

The Master Gunfighter 1975 (Movie)

(Director)

The Trial of Billy Jack 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

Billy Jack 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

The Born Losers 1966 (Movie)

(Director)
Writer (4)

The Master Gunfighter 1975 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Trial of Billy Jack 1973 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Billy Jack 1971 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Born Losers 1966 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Producer (2)

Billy Jack 1971 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Born Losers 1966 (Movie)

(Producer)
Camera, Film, & Tape (1)

Bob Dylan: The American Troubadour 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Photography

Biography

Although Tom Laughlin was one of the most financially successful independent filmmakers of his era, his low-budget, drive-in morality tales did not endear him to critics, and his eccentric behavior turned him into even more of a fringe character. Born in Minneapolis in 1931, Laughlin moved to Hollywood in the 1950s and became a fixture in B-movies and live teleplays. He occasionally landed small roles in higher-profile fare like Vincente Minnelli's film of the Broadway hit "Tea and Sympathy" (1956), the lavish musical "South Pacific" (1958) and the teen hit "Gidget" (1959). Laughlin began writing and directing his own films with the independent dramas "The Proper Time" (1962) and "Like Father, Like Son" (1965), but garnered his first success with the action drama "The Born Losers" (1967), in which he played a part-American Indian pacifist and karate expert named Billy Jack. The sequel "Billy Jack" (1971), which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in, cost $800,000 to produce and grossed approximately $65 million, with a sequel, "The Trial of Billy Jack" (1974), earning over $80 million. Laughlin attempted to build a fully-fledged media empire on the strength of the "Billy Jack" phenomenon, but by the time "Billy Jack Goes To Washington" (1977) was released, his audience had moved on. Laughlin attempted to revive the series throughout the rest of his life, going so far as to begin shooting a fifth Billy Jack film in 1985, which he had to abandon after suffering an injury while performing a stunt. Laughlin also launched three quixotic bids for President of the United States, running as a Democrat in 1992 and 2008 and a Republican in 2004. In his later years, he wrote several self-published books on psychology and health. Laughlin died on December 12, 2013, survived by his wife of 59 years, actress Delores Taylor.

Relationships

Delores Taylor

Wife

EDUCATION

University of Minnesota

University of Indiana

Bonus Trivia

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In October 2001, it was revealed that Laughlin was suffering with throat cancer rendered inoperable by a serious heart condition. He reportedly underwent radiation therapy.

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