The son of actors Frank M. Thomas and Mona Bruns, Frankie Thomas made his first stage appearance in 1932. The following year, the 12-year-old Thomas played the lead in the Broadway comedy-drama Wednesday's Child. He went on to star in the 1935 film Dog of Flanders, then played ever-faithful Ted Nickerson in all four of Warner Bros.' Nancy Drew programmers. Another of Thomas' roles of note was the title character in the 1937 Universal serial Tim Tyler's Luck. He became an idol of millions of baby boomers when he starred in both the radio and TV versions of the futuristic Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, which ran from 1950 through 1955. Retiring from acting after Corbett ran its course ("After Tom, where could I go?" he observed years later), Frankie Thomas launched two brand-new careers as a world-renowned bridge expert and mystery novelist.