He was born Thomas Tryon in Hartford, Connecticut.
Tom Tryon is often erroneously identified as the son of silent screen actor Glenn Tryon; his actual father was Arthur Lane Tryon, a clothier and owner of Stackpole, Moore & Tryon. He served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific from 1943–1946 during World War II.
Disillusioned with acting, Tryon retired from the profession in 1969 and began writing horror and mystery novels. He was successful, overcoming skepticism about a classically handsome movie star suddenly turning novelist. His best-known work is The Other (1971), about a boy whose evil twin brother may or may not be responsible for a series of deaths in a small rural community in the 1930s. The novel was adapted as a film the following year, starring Diana Muldaur, Uta Hagen, and John Ritter. Harvest Home (1973), about the dark pagan rituals being practiced in a small New England town, was adapted as The Dark Secret of Harvest Home (1978), a television mini-series starring Bette Davis. An extensive critical analysis of Tryon's horror novels can be found in S. T. Joshi's book The Modern Weird Tale (2001).
His other novels include Crowned Heads, a collection of novellas inspired by the legends of Hollywood. The first of these novellas, Fedora, about a reclusive former film actress whose relationship with her plastic surgeon is similar to that between a drug addict and her pusher, was later filmed by Billy Wilder. Though the film was only moderately successful, it is considered by many to be a minor classic of the thriller and horror genres. Other novellas in the collection were based on the murder of former silent screen star Ramón Novarro, and the quasi-Oedipal relationship between actor Clifton Webb and his mother. Lady, written in 1975, concerns the friendship between an eight-year-old boy and a charming widow in 1930s New England and the secret he discovers about her. Many consider this to be Tryon's best work. His novel Night of the Moonbow (1989) tells the story of a boy driven to violent means by the constant harassment he receives at a summer boys camp. Night Magic, written in 1991, was posthumously published in 1995.
He is usually credited and listed as an author under his birth name.
Tryon married Ann Noyes in 1955; they divorced in 1958.
During the 1970s, he was in a romantic relationship with Clive Clerk, one of the original cast members of A Chorus Line and an interior designer who decorated Tryon's apartment on Central Park West in New York City, which was featured in Architectural Digest.
Tryon was also involved in a relationship with Calvin Culver, also known as Casey Donovan, a gay porn star.
He reportedly spoke of an unseen lover throughout his life, a lover he had dubbed "Patrick Norton". This Patrick resided in the dreams and imagination of Tryon and is the basis for many of his characters (all of whom, notably, die horrific deaths).
Tryon died, age 65, from stomach cancer in Los Angeles, California.
Burial: Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea.
Further Readings :
Night Magic by Tom Tryon
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 26, 1995)
Amazon: Night Magic
An amateur magician is approached by a mysterious old man who offers him a taste of true sorcery and is torn between the human life he has been following and the dark world of mystical arts that threatens to overtake him and the woman he loves.
Boy in the Sand: Casey Donovan, All-American Sex Star by Roger Edmonson
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books; 1st edition (October 1, 1998)
Amazon: Boy in the Sand: Casey Donovan, All-American Sex Star
This candid look at the first gay porn superstar tells the story of a young man with dreams of fame who began as a stage actor and always dreamed of making mainstream films. Instead, he found himself trapped as an icon of gay sexuality.
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