On August 9, 1903, Helen and Frank Markowski had a baby boy in Port Henry they named Vincent. Like many fathers and brothers in the area, Frank and Frank Junior, Vincent’s older brother worked in the mines for the Witherbee Sherman Company.
Around 1924 at the age of 21, Vincent moved to California and changed his name to Tom Tyler. He found work in the film industry as a prop man and an extra. His appearances as an extra lead to his first starring role in “Let’s Go Gallagher” (1925). Tom became the King of B-Westerns during the silent era and into the talkies of the 1930’s. Over his entire career, he acted in more than 180 movies and TV shows from 1924 to 1953.
During this period, Republic Pictures, which failed to secure the rights to Superman, purchased the rights to another comic book superhero, Captain Marvel. In his late thirties at the time, Tyler was still in good shape and physique and was offered the title role at $250 per week for four weeks of work. In the title role in “The Adventures of Captain Marvel” (1941), Tyler portrayed the first film adaption of a comic book superhero.
Sadly two years later he was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis. This left him physically limited but he continued occasional supporting roles in movies and ultimately some television. In 1953, nearly destitute, Tyler moved to Hamtramck, Michigan to live with his sister. He died there May 3, 1954 of heart failure.
Photo: Tom Tyler as Captain Marvel.