Famous American Freemason: Tom Mix

Tom Mix
Utopia Lodge No. 537, California
 I don't usually do posts over the weekend, but I particularly enjoyed Bro. Steve Harris' post Brother Tom Mix on his One Minute Mason blog today.  You should read it--it's an interesting list of facts about the iconic western actor Tom Mix.  It's a very entertaining list, and I didn't know most of them, and Tom Mix was one of the Masons I'd considered for the first volume of Famous American Freemasons.

Tom Mix was in 336 movies, only 7 were talkies.  The only two actors close to that number were both Freemasons.  Bro. John Wayne was in 170, and the only other actor that's close is the Illustrious Bro. Ernest Borgnine, 33rd Degree . . . who in 2009 was getting ready to appear in his 200th movie--and he's still plugging away at it (when he's not voicing the character Mermaid Man on SpongeBob Squarepants).

John Wayne circa 1930
Marion McDaniel No. 56
 Tuscon, Arizona
Tom Mix and John Wayne were bitter rivals early in John Wayne's career, but it was because of Tom Mix, that John Wayne got started in films to begin with.  When John Wayne (then Marion Morrison) was studying at the University of Southern California, Tom Mix got him his first job at at studio--as a prop boy.  In exchange, young John Wayne got football ticket for Tom Mix.  It wasn't long before John Wayne was acting in bit parts, and soon after he began to forge a life-long friendship with legendary director John Ford.  His first starring role was in 1930 in The Big Trail.  He's almost too young to even recognize in the picture as the legendary star he later became.  As Tom Mix's star faded, John Wayne's took off.

It seems ironic now, but when I put together my list of famous Freemasons for the first book, Tom Mix and John Wayne were both on the list.  I only needed one Hollywood actor for the first book, and John Wayne easily won.  My dad is a big John Wayne fan, and as a result, I'm a big John Wayne fan--in fact, the chapter on John Wayne was the very first chapter I wrote for the Famous American Freemasons series. However, when I get to that third volume in the series, I think Bro. Tom Mix will easily make the cut.



  1. What source gave you the idea that Tom Mix and John Wayne were rivals?

  2. I can't recall the source. I wrote this some time back. Perhaps competitors would have been a better term than rivals. I don't always get it right--you have a better source?

  3. I've read that they were enemies and I've read that they had little actual contact. I don't know anything about it, myself, but here's the most recent place where I saw it discussed. http://dukefanclub.blogspot.com/2012/05/when-legend-became-fact-true-life-of.html

  4. I think what it boiled down to is that Tom Mix helped John Wayne get started, and as Wayne's star was rising, Tom's career was winding down. But nobody is likely to beat Tom Mix when it comes to the number of movies he starred in.


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