Tom Browne (Whistler)

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Tom Browne (Whistler)
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Born(1865-02-17)February 17, 1865
DiedJanuary 2, 1907(1907-01-02) (aged 41)
CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • Music-hall
  • Vaudeville performer

Thomas Francis Browne (17 February 1865 - 2 January 1907), known by his stage name Tom Browne, King of Whistlers, was a music-hall and vaudeville performer who was noted for his ability to whistle two notes simultaneously.

Early Life

Tom Browne was born 17 February 1865 in Adams, Massachusetts, one of eight children. [1] The family moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts, where Browne’s father worked as a paper manufacturer. Browne studied accounting and worked as bookkeeper of the Holyoke Furniture Company for 10 years until his career launch in 1891. [2]


Tom Browne’s professional career began when he joined the cast of the Byrne Brothers’ Eight Bells which toured the U.S. for the 1891-1892 season. [3] He then performed his whistling specialty in Charles Hoyt’s A Trip to Chinatown on Broadway for the 1892-1893 season. [4] In 1893-1894, he whistled in the music halls of London and Paris. [5] [6] [7]

Florenz Ziegfeld hired Browne to tour with the Eugen Sandow company on a U.S. tour for the 1894-1895 season. [8] After that, he returned to Europe for a two-year tour (1896-1898), playing in variety theaters in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, France and England. [9] [10]

After a U.S. tour with Charles Hoyt’s A Parlor Match (1898-1899 season), [11] Browne toured Australia and New Zealand for a year (1899-1900 season). [12] [13] For the remainder of his career, Browne played primarily on the U.S. vaudeville circuit. He was engaged at the Doric Theater in Yonkers, New York, in December 1906, when he fell ill and died of tuberculosis a month later on 2 January 1907 in Yonkers. [14] He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Holyoke, Massachusetts.


  1. Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910
  2. Holyoke, Massachusetts, city directories, 1882-1891
  3. The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Maryland, 6 October 1891
  4. The World, New York, New York, 11 June 1893
  5. He whistled for the Prince, The New York Dramatic Mirror, 6 January 1894
  6. In a program with Lady Randolph Churchill, The Primrose League Gazette, London, England, 1 February 1894
  7. In a program with Sarah Bernhardt, The Morning Post, London, England, 2 July 1894
  8. The Times, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 7 October 1894
  9. A Letter from Tom Browne, Hansa-Theater, Hamburg, Germany, New York Dramatic Mirror, 3 April 1897
  10. In a program with Dan Leno, George Robey, Vesta Tilley, Marie Loftus and Lily Langtry at the Tivoli Theatre of Varieties, The Morning Post, London, England, 31 May 1898
  11. The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 20 September 1898
  12. New Zealand Herald, Auckland, New Zealand, 12 December 1899
  13. The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 7 May 1900
  14. Obituary The Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 3 January 1907

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