How much did you know about his wives?

Above is spouse No. 1…..Then (below) wife No. 2

Followed by scandal-ridden wife No. 3 (below)…

And, finally, wife No. 4 (below).

Finding Franchot: Exploring the Life and Career of Franchot Tone: Dolores Dorn on Franchot Tone

Each of these unions — which were short, averaging about four years — packed its own punch and proved that Tone was catnip to some good looking women.

Now, on to the answers to our Tone Quiz.

1) Question: Each of Tone’s four wives was an actress of a certain pedigree?  a) True; or b) False.

Answer: a) Yes, all were actresses of varying degrees of fame — from Joan Crawford (wife No. 1) to Barbara Payton (spouse No. 3) who descended into alcoholism and prostitution. Tone made seven pictures with Crawford, and the two remained friends long after the divorce. Wife No. 2 was fashion-model turned actress Jean Wallace, who proved to be an impressively sexy presence onscreen in several film noirs. Finally, wife No. 4 was Dolores Dorn, who appeared with Tone in an unsuccessful screen version of Uncle Vanya.

2) Question: Tone’s first wife (the marriage lasted less than four years) was to an actress who become genuine Hollywood royalty, logging an astonishingly durable and successful career.  Can you name her? (HINT: She was not Bette Davis’s favorite.)

Answer:  As noted above, Joan Crawford.

3) Question: Tone never won an Oscar, but was nominated in the best actor category for which picture?  a) The 1935 edition of Mutiny on the Bounty; b) 1957’s Uncle Vanya; c)  1936’s Love On The Run; or d) 1962’s Advise & Consent.

Answer: a) Mutiny on the Bounty, which costarred besides Tone none other than Clark Gable and Charles Laughton. All three were nominated for Oscars for their performances but Victor McLaglen won out as best actor for his role in John Ford’s The Informer.

4) Question: Tone’s romantic pursuit of his third wife resulted in a jealous brawl with another actor that had tongues wagging in Hollywood and sent Tone to the hospital. Who was that other actor? a) Lawrence Tierney; b) Robert Mitchum; c) Tom Neal; or d) Clifton Webb.

Answer:  c) Tom Neal.  They met when Payton made a western, Silver Blue, opposite the rugged leading man wannabe. Thus began her torrid on-again, off-again romance with the good-looking actor, who eventually made Confidential magazine headlines when he belted (and seriously injured) Tone in an argument over Payton’s romantic-sexual favors. Tone may have lost the battle but he eventually won the marital war, however briefly. He married Payton in 1951; the divorce came a year later.

As an actor, Neal is perhaps best remembered today for his performance in the grueling 1945 film noir Detour, costarring Ann Savage. (That’s the happy couple pictured below.)

Detour | film by Ulmer [1945] | Britannica


5) Question:  Late in his life Tone offered to remarry one of his prior wives. She turned him down but generously cared for the ailing actor.  Who is she? (Hint: see Question 2.)

Answer:  Again, the answer is Joan Crawford. It’s said that Tone got along so well with Crawford that he made the remarry offer. As noted, she declined. In any case, she helped out financially with his medical bills at the end.  (Tone died in 1968, of lung cancer.)

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