- Category : Entertain-Business-Director
- Type : PE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Planning 1
American dancer, actor, director, choreographer and producer.
Tommy is a nine time Tony winner and the only person in theatrical history to win in four different categories and to win the same two Tony Awards two years in a row. He was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1991 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994.
Eldest of three children and the only boy, Thomas James Tune, son of Jim and Eva Clark Tune, has roots that go back to England as his paternal ancestors arrived in the U.S. in pre-Revolutionary War days and his maternal ancestors are English and Shawnee. Their original surname was Tunesmith. His dad worked on oil rigs and trained Tennessee Walking Horses which Tommy watched and imitated their gait. When he was five his parents enrolled him in tap dance and acrobatic classes, but he preferred ballet and the feeling of flying. In his early teens he grew so quickly to his 6’6" height that he had leg pains so severe his parents took him to doctors thinking he had polio. After testing they were assured it was growing pains as Tune’s bones were growing so fast his muscles and ligaments couldn’t keep up. He stayed on crutches for six months and after that time he was fine. During his time in Lamar High School in Houston, TX he was in the drama club and staged productions. As a graduation present, his parents sent him to New York City where he attended Broadway shows. Studying two years at Lon Morris College, a junior college in Jacksonville, TX, he transferred to University of Texas at Austin and majored in drama. Tommy’s first professional performance was October 1960 in the musical "Redhead" at the Texas State Fair. He was mentioned in a review for his grace, control and power.
Tune received his B.F.A. degree in 1962 and entered the University of Houston where he intended to earn a master’s degree in theater getting as far as his thesis before leaving for New York City. On his first casting call he was hired for the chorus of the touring company of "Irma La Douce." His New York debut was 2/16/1965 in the chorus of "Baker Street." Recruited by a talent scout for 20th Century-Fox, Tommy went to Hollywood to play in "Hello, Dolly!" in 1969 and remained on the West Coast for two years becoming an assistant choreographer with occasional solo spots on TV’s "Dean Martin Show." Cast in the film "The Boyfriend" in 1971, he starred opposite Twiggy finding her the perfect dancing partner, he didn’t work with her again until "My One and Only" on stage in 1983. Leaving Hollywood on 3/18/1973 he opened on Broadway in "Seesaw." Over the next few years he found little work on Broadway, but did about 50 summer stock productions.
Tune won Tony's in 1974 and 1983, for acting, 1980, 1983, 1990 and 1991, for choreography, 1982, 1990 and 1991, for directing. In addition to his Tony's, Tune has won eight Drama Desk awards, two Obie Awards, Dance Magazine's Award for Lifetime Achievement; the 1990 American Dance Award (presented by the National Academy of Dance); the 1990 Drama League Musical Theatre Award for Direction and Choreography; the Astaire Award in both 1990 and 1991; the George Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement; the University of Texas' Distinguished Alumnus Award; and the Jean Cocteau International Style Award. He was also named to the Top 10 international Best Dressed List of 1992. He has recorded a CD for RCA, "Slow Dancin’," a collection of slow ballads. Tune began the starring role in the MGM Grand Theater, Las Vegas, NV show EFX on 1/12/1999 with a contract through February 2000 doing ten shows per week. Tune has played from Carnegie Hall to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, for three presidents, Queen Elizabeth of England and the Royal family of Monaco. In his spare time Tune enjoys painting, reading philosophy, doing yoga and meditating twice a day.
Tune wrote in his autobiography, "Footnotes: A Memoir" in November 1997, that he is bisexual, having had affairs with both men and women over the years. Tune owns a home on Fire Island, NY and shares his life with his Yorkshire terrier, Ophie.
Tommy broke his foot on 10/01/1995 in Tampa, FL and was not able to perform. He has since been named to the Honorary Board of the Foot Health Foundation of America. Tommy gives his height as 5’18" and his weight at around 160 pounds.