He and his wife, actress Mona Bruns, both lived to 100 years old. He died the day before her 90th birthday; she died 11 years later. Their son was Frankie Thomas.
He was born in St. Joseph, Missouri. Thomas’ parents were Jesse and Virginia Thomas. He first appeared on Broadway in 1914. Thomas also played many supporting roles in films from the 1930s through the 1970s. His best-known films were We Who Are About To Die (1937), A Man to Remember (1938), A Shot In the Dark (1941), Desert Trail (1942), and No Place for a Lady (1943). His last screen appearance was in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976).
He performed frequently on television from the 1950s to the 1970s. His film appearances were so prolific at one point in his career that, in 1937 alone, he appeared in no fewer than 21 films.
Thomas died on 25 November 1989 at 100 in Los Angeles. He is interred with his family at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.