Layne Tom Jr., a Son of Charlie Chan in Three Films, Dies at 87

He appeared alongside Warner Oland and Sidney Toler in the popular crime mysteries. His daughter is fitness expert Kiana Tom.

Layne Tom Jr., who played a son of Charlie Chan in three movie mysteries featuring the fictional and famous Honolulu-born detective, has died. He was 87.

Tom, said to be the only "son" to work alongside both Charlie Chan portrayers Warner Oland and Sidney Toler, died Jan. 14 in his home in Huntington Beach, Calif., his family announced.

Tom first appeared in the popular crime series opposite Oland in Charlie Chan at the Olympics (1937) as Charlie Chan Jr. The story, with the Berlin Summer Games as its backdrop, had his brother, No. 1 son Lee Chan (Keye Luke), competing as a swimmer.

Tom then played Tommy in Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1938) and Willie in Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise (1940), with Toler serving as the title sleuth in those films.

The young Tom also appeared in such features as The Good Earth (1937) opposite Paul Muni and Luise Rainer; The Hurricane (1937) with Dorothy Lamour and Raymond Massey; Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) starring Jimmy Stewart; and Lady of the Tropics (1939) with Robert Taylor and Hedy Lamarr.

Later, he also showed up on TV in Adventures in Paradise, Hawaiian Eye and The Barbara Stanwyck Show.

Born Richard Layne Tom in Los Angeles on June 29, 1927, he served in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS West Virginia and graduated from USC with a degree in architecture.

He designed the flagship Bank of America building in Los Angeles' Chinatown as well as numerous fire stations, banks, courthouses, libraries, shopping centers, civic centers and his own home in Huntington Harbour, his family said.

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Marilynn, daughters Laurie and Kiana (a fitness expert, former Los Angeles Raiderette and host of TV's Kiana's Flex Appeal) and grandchildren Steven, Anelalani and Kiana.

Feb. 11, 2:30 p.m.: A photo from Everett Collection that earlier accompanied this article misidentified Layne Tom Jr. and has been removed.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4

 

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