Tommy Kelly USA

Tommy Kelly

Tommy Kelly

A tough actor to find information about… supposedly Tommy kelly was reluctant to take an interview or discuss his film career. His whereabouts is unknown, nor do we know if he is still alive. Last known to be a teacher in the Washington D.C. area.

What we do know is that he is one of thirteen children born to a poor Irish family in the Bronx in 1925 (all four of his grandparents were from Ireland). For the role of Tom Sawyer he was selected out of 25,000 kids interviewed for the part. Supposedly he was found by one of Selznick’s talent scouts in the sixth grade of a Parochial school in the Bronx. He spent his early life as a child actor in poverty waiting for star-making film roles which never came. After three years of fame, the parts grew less rewarding, and after The Magnificent Yankee (1950) he faded into obscurity.

Most know him for his famous role in Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” (1938), but what may not be known is that Tommy also had a background part in “Gone with the Wind” (1939) and a minor role in “They Shall Have Music” (1939). His other most noted role is as Peck in “Peck’s Bad Boy with the Circus” (1938). If you look closely you may catch him as a young adult in the 1950 war film “Battleground”, along with other former child actors: Scotty Beckett (Our Gang), Tommy Noonan, Tommy Bond (Our Gang) and Dickie Jones.

Tommy Kelly 1925 —



  1. I saw this movie in 1938, and was delighted to be able to get it on DVD to see it now, 74 years later!!

  2. Bill said

    He is still alive. He has six children.

    • Harvey Grossmann said

      How can I get in touch with Tommy. He’s the hero of my boyhood.

    • Cynthia Hartley said

      Mr. Kelly was the Superintendent at ACS IN Monrovia, Liberia. I dated his son Mark. We are having an ACS reunion and would like to contact Mr. Kelly, Mark or Anne.

      I would appreciate any information!

      Cynthia Hartley

  3. P said

    Tom Kelly was a Deputy Peace Corps director in Liberia, West Africa in the late 60s. He then became the Principal of the American grammar/high school there where he remained some years. He remains married to Sue Kelly, the mother of his six children, He was still alive, but in poor health, when last I heard news of him @ 18 mos ago.

    • Cynthia Hartley said

      If you read my reply to Bill, I dated Mr. Kelly’ son, Mark, in Liberia while Mr. Kelly was the Sup. would love to make contact for the reunion, a lot of us are looking for them.

      Thank you,


  4. I car-pooled with Tom Kelly in the early 1980s to a govt job in DC. He attended my wedding. I have not heard from him since the mid-1980s when I relocated. Any updated information would be appreciated concerning his well-being.

    • Cynthia Hartley said

      Pls let me know if you get any, looking for them for a ACS reunion from when Mr. Kelly was the Sup in Liberia.



  5. Harvey Grossmann said

    Tommy Kelly was and remains the hero of my New York childhood. I am
    a stage director living in Antwerp, Belgium. I was born in the Bronx in
    1933. I first saw The Adventures of Tom Sawyer on Lincoln’s birthday in
    1942. I was 8. I imediately wrote to Selsnick, addressing it Hollywood,
    Cal. asking him to reissue the film. Selsnick actually answered the 8 year
    old promising the reissue. It only happened in 1944. Tommy Kelly has
    been and is my figurative and spiritual brother. What a joy it would be
    to exchange emails with him! My name is Harvey Grossmann. My email
    address is ‘’

  6. Cynthia Hartley said

    I hope someone in Mr. Kelly’s family will see and respond to our inquiries!!

    Cynthia Hartley

  7. As noted above, Tommy Kelly and I car-pooled from Reston, VA to Wash DC (US Department of Agriculture Building, where we both worked) in the early 1980s. I have a photo of him attending our wedding on 8-1-81. I could post if there is a way to do it. I can send to those that have provided POC above.

  8. Cynthia Hartley said

    Thank you for sharing your photo, Mark!

  9. Bill said

    Cynthia, email me at

  10. John L Koukol said

    My name is John Koukol. I was in the Army ASTP Infantry Basic Trainiing program with Tommy Kelly in the last thee months of 1943 in Ft Benning, GA.. He and I were best of friends. When we left basic I never saw him again, but would now like to contact him if he is still alive. I am 88 going on 89 years old about 5 months younger than he.

  11. Cynthia Hartley said

    John, I have been in contCt with his daughter Ann. Apparently none of the Kelly’s wish to be involved. I dated Mr. Kelly’s son, Mark, for 2 years when Mr. Kelly was Superintendent of our private school in Monrovia, Liberia. I am forwarding these messages on to Ann, with hope….

  12. John L Koukol said

    Thank you so much Cynthia. I hope also. I will be in touch again with you. Thank you so much for your reply . John Koukol

    • Cynthia Hartley said

      John, Ann texted that her Dad is not well, a hospital bed has been moved into the house. Ann told her Mom about you but says her Dad never talked about the war just relives it in his dreams. As of May 6 Ann said her Dad is on a big decline. I wish I had better news. Cynthia Hartley

  13. John L Koukol said

    Cynthia, Thank you again for your reply. I feel terrible that her Dad is failing. He and I were such very good friends during basic training in Ft Benning, GA.. I remember and somewhere have a copy of a photo taken of the basic training group and one of those where the camera starts at one end and swings to the other, well, he was the one that had his position on the left side and raced to the right side when the photographer told him to and had his picture on the right side also. I’ll always remember that one. I guess I waited too long to try to get in touch with him. Please keep me informed as to his condition. Thank you again so much for your interest and help in this one. SINCERELY, JOHN KOUKOL

  14. John L Koukol said

    Cynthia, my E mail is if you don’t have it . John Koukol

  15. Cynthia Hartley said


    Sorry for the delay. I have not been in touch with Ann lately as I had to get new phone/number. I will contact her tomorrow and let you know. I wish the outcome were different. My email is

    Fond regards,

    Cynthia Hartley

  16. John L Koukol said

    Thank you Cynthia, I will wait for news John

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: