Thom Magister was born in 1932 and grew up in Greenwich Village, New York City. As a young boy he studied drawing and painting with his artist neighbors and later attended Pratt Institute and the Art Students League. In 1950 he went to Hollywood to work for Walt Disney. That all changed when he met Charley, who became his partner, and began working with him in films as a stunt double. After he left Hollywood and returned to New York, Thom worked as a cartoonist and illustrator for several advertising agencies and various publications. He eventually opened his own commercial art studio and finally retired in 1998.
In the 1950s, leathermen had to use their imaginations to create the gear they used. Many, like Thom, scoured the local riding-equipment shops and adapted the equestrian bits, bridles, harnesses, and whips for human use. In the 1960s, when the leather scene expanded to include custom leather shops, Thom used his artistic abilities to design leather jeans, chaps, and cod-piece pants along with a variety of harnesses and restraints for his partners.
Thom’s drawings and stories have appeared in Chiron Pages, Daddy, Bandana, Drummer, and the GMSMA newsletter. He has also written and illustrated a story for The Power Exchange, a publication for gay s/m women. The early training and influences of what we now call the Old Guard have been present in all of his relationships, and he has remained true to their values throughout his life.