His first appearance was in The Red Man and the Child (1908), as a child actor; he wrote and directed the films Wild and Wooly in 1924 and Romance of the West in 1930.
He was born in New York, New York, United States and died in Hollywood, California. His mother was actress Emma Tansey and his brothers were Robert Emmett "Bob" Tansey and James Sheridan Tansey. He had a long lost cousin also named John Tansey who was born in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, England.
- And a Little Child Shall Lead Them (1909)
- A Trap for Santa (1909)
- Barnaby Lee (1917)
- Little Miss Hoover (1918)(*uncredited)
- The Heart of a Girl (1918)
- Trouping with Ellen (1924)
- The Sky Rider (1928)
- John Holmstrom, The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995, Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, pp. 19–20.
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