If life were like a Saturday-matinee serial, the further adventures of Vincent Markowski would have had a more upbeat, action-packed ending. However, this was Hamtramck, not Hollywood, and Markowski — better known to the world as Tom Tyler — had come to his sister’s large frame house on Moenart Street to suffer a slow, tedious death. Only 50, the celluloid action hero and Western movie actor was afflicted by a rare and frightening disease that had already cost him his looks, his marriage, and his livelihood.
Film Buffs generally consider the dozen chapters of the Captain Marvel saga the apex of Tom Tyler’s screen career, a 30-year stretch that spanned the period of silent films through the early years of television. All told, Tyler appeared in seven serials and more than 150 movies, including minor roles in such classics as Gone With the Wind and Stagecoach. He associated with some of the greatest names of Hollywood’s golden age, both on and off the set, and had a fling with one of the era’s legendary actresses. He was a versatile, hard-working, and well-liked professional who thought no role was beneath him. As his illness advanced and his film career dried up, he took dozens of bit parts on such popular TV shows as The Lone Ranger, The Roy Rogers Show, and Sky King. One of his last roles was in a never-aired pilot directed by the infamous Ed Wood.
For the full article, see Richard Bak, “A Hero From Hamtramck”, Hour Detroit, September 2010. He is the strongest man in Hollywood. A man who carries trunks of trees on his head and doesn’t think anything of it. He is… a hero from Hamtramck