John Todd (born John Frederick "Fred" McCarthy; August 14, 1876 – July 14, 1957) was an American actor. Known for Shakespearean roles, Todd soon gained work at Detroit radio station WXYZ, as part of director James Jewell's repertory company, with roles on the various series produced by the station.
His most famous work was on The Lone Ranger. He played a local sheriff in some of the show's earliest episodes, but on the twelfth broadcast, which aired February 25, 1933, Todd first played his most famous role, the masked man's Native American companion Tonto.
Todd was a bald and stocky man of Irish descent, though he occasionally donned a wig for publicity photos. He was usually replaced by a Native American performer for public appearances. With the exception of a brief period where he was replaced by a real Native American, Todd played Tonto for almost the entire radio run, and was the only original cast member heard on the final broadcast, on September 3, 1954.
Station owner George Trendle wanted to replace Todd in the role of Tonto because he was "too old". Todd's replacement, a college educated Native American, refused to perform the "me do" and "him go" type lines as written and Todd was given back the role of Tonto. Trendle had a reputation for keeping his performers working for low pay even when the show was a big money maker. This episode may have been another of Trendle's maneuvers to demonstrate that the actors could be replaced.
Other radio roles for Todd included recurring but less significant parts on The Green Hornet as Dan Reid, the title character's father and the now elderly version of the Lone Ranger's nephew, and on Challenge of the Yukon, as Inspector Conrad, Sgt. Preston's superior in the North-West Mounted Police.