Biographical Information
Gender Male
Eye color possibly blue
Hair color white
Died March 14, 1983 (novel)
1990 (film)
Portrayer(s) Thomas Bermingham (The Exorcist)
Harry Carey, Jr. (The Exorcist III)
You're the best we've got.

–Tom to Father Karras

Tom, also known as Father Kenneth Birmingham or Father Kanavan, is a character appearing in The Exorcist (both novel and film), Legion, and The Exorcist III. He is portrayed by real-life Jesuit Thomas Bermingham in The Exorcist and by actor Harry Carey, Jr. in The Exorcist III

Description Edit

Tom is the president of Georgetown University. His assistant is Father Joseph Dyer. Tom is first seen when he discusses a potential transfer with Damien Karras. However, Karras turns down the proposal and rather explained his need to quit the job, as the job included content that can harm his faith. He is then seen again discussing the inclusion of Father Lankester Merrin in the exorcism of Regan MacNeil, with Bishop Michael. 

Well, he does know the background. I doubt there's any danger in just having him assist. There should be a psychiatrist present, anyway. [...] How about Lankester Merrin? [...] Yeah, you're right, Mike, but he's finished. He came back three or four months ago. He's at Woodstock Now. [...] No, he's working on another book. [...] He must be all right, he's still running around digging up tombs. Besides, he's had experience. [...] Ten, twelve years ago, I think, in Africa. The exorcism supposedly lasted months. I heard it damn near killed him.

–Tom discussing the exorcist with Bishop Michael

Sometime between 1971 and 1983 (novel) or 1973 and 1990 (film), he is replaced by Father Riley as the University President. During that time period, he also had a beer with Lt. William F. Kinderman at The Tombs once. On March 14, 1983 (novel) or in 1990 (film), he is found dead in a confessional at Holy Trinity, a victim of the Gemini Killer. Kinderman did not want Dyer to know what happened, but Dr. Amfortas already told him. [1]

Notes and Trivia Edit

  • Tom appears in Legion and The Exorcist III. In the novel, his name is changed to Father Kenneth Birmingham (as all the victims of the Gemini Killer's names start with a K) and in the film, his name is changed to Father Kanavan. [2]
  • In The Exorcist, during the scene where Father Karras is talking to him at The Tombs bar, requesting reassignment, the song "Ramblin' Man" by the Allman Brothers Band can be heard playing in the background. [3]
  • In The Exorcist novel, Tom is the Maryland Provincial and he visits Georgetown University annually, while the University President is unnamed. In the film, he is the President of Georgetown University. [4]

References Edit

  1. Blatty, William Peter. Legion. New York: Macmillan, 01 Feb. 2011. eBook.
  2. "The Exorcist III (Film) - Inconsistencies", The Ninth Configuration, 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2016. Web.
  3. "The Exorcist (1973) - Soundtracks", IMDb, 1990-2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016. Web.
  4. Blatty, William Peter. The Exorcist. New York: Harper & Row. 1971. Print.
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