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(From Old Corral collection)
Left, Mix on the white Tony II chatting with Gene Autry riding ??? during their 1939 Christmas Parade appearance in Hollywood.

Mix began using this white horse circa 1937-1938, and had taken the horse to Europe for his 1938-1939 tour and performances.

(From Old Corral collection)
As mentioned earlier, Mix was not with his circus when it shut down in September, 1938. He was overseas doing a tour with his own small show, and later, he signed on with Circus Belli, doing appearances in Europe. In late Summer, 1939, Tom returned to the states and continued performing with a small vaudeville type act.

On Saturday, October 12, 1940, Tom was driving his 1937 Cord Phaeton convertible when it left the road near Florence, Arizona. One or more suitcases in the rear of the car flew forward, striking Mix in the head/neck and killing him. The death of the silver screen legend was a major news event, and many papers reported Mix's passing on the front page of their Sunday, October 13, 1940 editions. A newspaper article that I have mentions that Mix was taken to a Florence, Arizona mortuary for several hours and then his body was flown to California. His wife Mabel said "arrangements would be made for a Masonic and military funeral service, probably in Hollywood."

Thousands of fans and Hollywood personalities attended the October 16, 1940 funeral service at Forest Lawn and participants included Rudy Vallee singing "Empty Saddles" and Monte Blue reading the Masonic rites. Mix was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

There wasn't much left in Tom's estate after five wives, losses due to the stock market crash, the Depression, the circus, as well as his free spending lifestyle. Newspaper articles from a few months after his death noted that the estate was valued at about $115,000.00. While that is a fairly nice sum for then and now, it's really not much considering that Mix had made millions.

As mentioned earlier, there were two children - Ruth was born July 13, 1912 to Olive Stokes, and daughter Thomasina (Tommie) was born February 12, 1922 to Victoria Forde. (Victoria Forde was a frequent heroine/leading lady for Tom during his Selig work.)

Bobby Copeland provides some further details on Mix's will:

Tom left his lawyer of 25 years, Ivon D. Parker, his horse Tony and all his riding equipment, guns, and western clothing used in his motion picture work, and all his trophies. The rest of the estate was divided equally between the actor's widow, Mabel Hubbell Mix, and one of his daughters, Thomasina Mix Mathews, 19, for whom the will provided a monthly income of $500 until she reaches the age of 25, when she is to receive her share of the principal. Mix disinherited his four former wives and his other daughter, Ruth Mix Knight. "I declare I have been previously married", the will stated. "I do not desire any of my former wives or my said daughter, Ruth Mix, now known as Ruth Mix Knight, in any wise participate in this will."

The comic books and Ralston radio program continued for another decade.

Mix did ten sound films, and most fans have seen THE MIRACLE RIDER, as it was shown on early TV and was one of the first serials available on videotape. However, to properly evaluate Mix in the talkies, you also need to view one or several of his better Universal talkies --- try MY PAL, THE KING, THE FOURTH HORSEMAN and THE TEXAS BAD MAN. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Tom Mix has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1958, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. And at the 1987 Golden Boot program, Mix was the recipient of their In Memorial Award.

The Family Search website (free) and the death certificate provide more on Tom Mix and family:

The Motion Picture Herald and Boxoffice polls were conducted from about the mid 1930s through the mid 1950s. With a few exceptions, the annual results would list the 'Top Ten' (or 'Top Five') cowboy film stars. In most cases, the winners were what you would expect --- Autry, Rogers, Holt, Starrett, Hoppy, etc. Tom Mix had one year where he was ranked. However, it should be noted that the polls did not begin until 1936, which was well past Mix's prime movie-making days.

Popularity Rankings of Tom Mix
Year Boxoffice Poll Ranking
1937 10th

(Courtesy of Bill Sonnett)
Left is the monument at the Tom Mix Death Site on Highway 79 South, Florence, Arizona.

If you look close, you can see some bullet holes in the metal riderless horse at the top of the monument.

The plaque is shown below.

Bill Sonnett took this photo in November, 2012.

More about the history of the monument is available at the Roadside America website:

(Courtesy of Bill Sonnett)

Tom Mix Facts
Info from Bud Norris' The Tom Mix Book

Production Company
Years Quantity
of Films
Info & Comments
Selig 1909-1917 236 All silents:
226 were half-reel, 1-reel and 2-reelers; 131 were westerns with remainder being action adventures, drama, comedy, etc.
Fox 1917-1928 85 All silents:
79 were 5-, 6-, 7-, and 8-reelers; 64 were westerns with remainder being action adventures, drama, comedy, etc.
FBO 1928 5 All silents:
all were 6- or 7-reels in length; all were westerns
Universal 1932-1933 9 Sound westerns:
all were 6- or 7-reels in length; all were westerns
Mascot 1935 1 Sound serial:
15 episodes
Totals   336  

Films featuring Mix's horse, 'Old Blue' 87
Films featuring Mix's horse, 'Tony' 181
Films featuring Mix's horse, 'Tony, Jr.' 9
Films produced by Mix 88
Films written by Mix 71
Films directed by Mix 117
5 Marriages 1902 to Grace Allin
1905 to Kitty Jewell Perrine
1909 to Olive Stokes
1918 to actress Victoria Forde
1932 to Mabel Ward
Children: 2 daughters Ruth (born 1912 to Mix & Olive Stokes)
Thomasina (nicknamed "Tommie", born 1922 to Mix & Victoria Forde)

M. G. 'Bud' Norris has authored a great bio on the legendary western movie star titled The Tom Mix Book. This $24.95 trade paperback is about 8 1/2 x 11 inches in size, has 377 pages ... includes a complete filmography, details on Mix's circus days, info on the Tom Mix radio program and Ralston premiums, lots of photos of lobby cards, postcards, arcade cards, etc.  I ordered my copy direct from Bud and the price was $27.95, including postage. Bud will also autograph if you wish. Bud's mail address is:

M. G. Norris
1324 N. Hague Ave.
Columbus, OH 43204-2108

Want more info? Bud's e-mail address is:

Another great biography is King Cowboy: Tom Mix and the Movies by author and film historian Robert S. Birchard. The 289 page paperback includes a bunch of photos and behind the scenes stills. Mix's films are documented with full production and screen credits as well as reviews and plot summaries.

Bob Birchard passed away May 30, 2016. If you're interested in his Mix book, check eBay, Amazon and online book sellers.

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