Thomas William "Tom" Simcox (born June 17, 1937) is a former actor who resides in the unincorporated community of Leona Valley west of Palmdale in Los Angeles County, California.
Simcox appeared in the 13-episode Warner Brothers television series Code R, which aired on CBS from January 21 to June 10, 1977. Code R focuses on the emergency services, fire, police, and ocean rescue, of the California Channel Islands. Simcox played the police chief, Walt Robinson. The series had good scripts, beautiful scenery, and strong characters but never attracted the needed audience.
Early television roles
Simcox's television career began in 1962 with appearances on two ABC series, The Naked City, a police drama set in New York City, and Ben Casey, a medical drama starring Vince Edwards. That same year, he appeared as a waiter in CBS's Perry Mason legal drama with Raymond Burr.
In 1963, Simcox appeared on the episode "Beyond His Reach" of ABC's college drama, Channing, starring Jason Evers and Henry Jones. Simcox also appeared in 1963 in two NBC dramas, Wendell Corey's The Eleventh Hour (as Joe Parker in episode entitled "Hang by One Hand") and in Gary Lockwood's The Lieutenant, about the United States Marine Corps (as Captain Brett Parker in episode "To Take Up Serpents"). He managed to appear in numerous episodes that same year on ABC's General Hospital soap opera.
In 1965, Simcox appeared in the pilot of Joseph Stefano's proposed CBS series The Haunted. subtitled "The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre", which starred Martin Landau, Dame Judith Anderson, and Diane Baker. The program was never shown in the United States because it was deemed too frightening, but bootlegged copies have been shown around the world, especially in Japan, where there is demand that it be released on DVD.
In 1968, he played the role of a killer in Ironside's episode "The Challenge".
In 1964-1965, Simcox appeared twice on ABC's Wagon Train and began a pattern of appearances in western series. He appeared with Charles Drake in the episode "The Link Cheney Story", along with other guest stars Yvonne Craig, Pippa Scott, Paul Stader, and Harry von Zell. On October 3, 1965, Simcox appeared in the 206th episode entitled "The Other Son" of NBC's Bonanza in the role of Andy Watson, the 28-year-old son of the explosives expert Clint Watson, portrayed by Ed Begley, Sr. The script called for Andy getting accidentally killed by the explosion from unstable nitroglycerin at the summit of the Sierra Nevada. The United States Department of Agriculture assisted in filming the segment at scenic Lake Tahoe.
Other western appearances followed on The Virginian and Laredo (1966, "The Sound of Terror"). He appeared eight times on CBS's Gunsmoke, starring James Arness: "The Magician" (1963), "Dry Well" (1964), "Winner Take All" and "The Pretender" (1965), "The Good People" (1966), "A Hat" as both Jed and Ben Conniston (1967), "A Matter of Honor" (1969), and in the penultimate year of the long-running program, as Rance Woolfe in "Trail of Bloodshed" (1974).
In the 1971 World War I-era western Bearcats!, he guest starred as a German army officer involved in a plot to have Mexico fight a war with the U.S., preventing America from entering the war on the side of the allies. In 1978, he appeared as Marshal Logan in an episode of Arness's other but short-lived western series, How the West Was Won, which aired on ABC.
In the next-to-the last network episode entitled "Jonah" of ABC's Combat! military drama, which aired on March 7, 1967, Simcox starred as Dolan, a new replacement soldier burdened by the pain of seeing his friends die around him. Some of the soldiers fear that Dolan is a jinx. The episode examines fear and superstition among front-line soldiers and its impact on morale and combat readiness. "Jonah" is in contrast to a first-season Combat episode "High Named Today" in which a demoralized soldier was convinced that he would die. In "Jonah" though, Simcox plays the role of the soldier convinced that he will live at the expense of others.
The screenplay for "Jonah" was written by Richard Wendly and William Fay. Peter Haskell appears as Richards, Dolan's friend who becomes to believe the jinx fears. In the end, Simcox gets shot but survives and believes that his "curse" is either conquered or never existed. Viewers never know if the squad makes it back to their base without further injury.
As the last filmed episode of Combat!, "Jonah" leaves the fate not just of the new recruit in doubt but that of the entire squad. Their five-year trek across France hence ended in neither triumph or tragedy but uncertainty. Appearing with Simcox and Haskell in the episode were series regulars Rick Jason as Lieutenant Hanley, Vic Morrow as Sergeant Saunders, and Conlan Carter as Doc.
Other drama roles
Simcox landed many other roles besides westerns. He guest starred on Columbo with Peter Falk, Charlie's Angels, and Baretta with Robert Blake, Vega$ with Robert Urich, Matt Houston with Lee Horsley, Gibbsville with John Savage and Gig Young, Trapper John, M.D. with Pernell Roberts and Gregory Harrison, Knight Rider with David Hasselhoff, and Airwolf with Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine. Between 1977 and 1980, he appeared on NBC's Disneyland in the episodes "The Ghost of Cypress Swamp" and the two-parter "The Secret of Lost Valley". From 1983 to 1986, he appeared three times in CBS's Simon & Simon detective series with Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker. Simcox's last television role was in 1991 in an episode of the 1989-1991 third version of Jack Webb's NBC series Dragnet.
Simcox appeared in a half-dozen films, including the part of Lieutenant Johnson in the 1965 classic Shenandoah with James Stewart. Other appearances were in Incident at Phantom Hill (1966, as Lieutenant Adam Long), Rod Serling's The Doomsday Flight (1966, TV, as Flight Engineer Chipps), Istanbul Express (1968, TV, as Leland McCord), The Aquarians (1970, TV, as Jerry Hollis), Piranha, Piranha (1972), Hollywood Man (1976), and Acceptable Risks (1986, TV, as Joe Reed).
His last film appearance was as Horn in Grim Prairie Tales, a 1989 picture starring James Earl Jones as a bounty hunter. In the story line, two men at a western campfire tell four horror stories.