Other notable deaths


May 18, 2006

Frankie Thomas, 85, who became famous in the 1950s for his starring role in the TV children's show Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, died of respiratory failure May 11 in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

He began acting on Broadway in the early 1930s and soon ventured west to Hollywood, where he appeared in films including A Dog of Flanders, Boys Town and The Major and the Minor, as well as four Nancy Drew movies.

In 1950, he beat out actors including Jack Lemmon to win the title role of Tom Corbett, a Space Academy cadet who was training to become a member of the elite Solar Guard, 400 years in the future.

The show aired on CBS, ABC, NBC and the old DuMont network and spawned phrases including "Blast your jets," "Don't fuse your tubes" and "Spaceman's luck."

Mr. Thomas quit acting when the series ended in 1955 and, over the years worked as a television and radio writer, bridge instructor and author of mystery novels.

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