Daniel Joseph "Danny" Lockin (July 13, 1943 – August 21, 1977) was an American actor and dancer who appeared on stage, television, and film. He was best known for his portrayal of the character Barnaby Tucker in the 1969 film Hello, Dolly!
In August 1977, Lockin was stabbed over 100 times by a man he met in a Garden Grove, California bar. In September 1978, his killer was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to a four-year prison term.
Born in Hawaii, Lockin was raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He began dancing professionally at area fairs at the age of eight. His act co-starred Neal Reynolds, an African American boy with whom he would tap dance, tell jokes, pantomime, and do impressions of famous people.
During his junior year in high school, Lockin's family moved to Anaheim, California, where he graduated from Rancho Alamitos High School. He was cast in leading juvenile roles in regional productions of Gypsy: A Musical Fable, The Music Man, and Time for Everything. After graduation, he immediately began working as a professional actor and dancer.
He had an early, and uncredited, role as a young farm boy in the 1962 film version of Gypsy. He appeared in the play Morning Sun in October 1963 with Patricia Neway and Bert Convy, but it closed after nine performances. The New York Times said he "dances with acrobatic suppleness and engaging freshness." He made his Broadway debut on April 8, 1964, in West Side Story in New York City in the role of Gee-Tar (a role he left on May 3), and appeared as an actor and dancer in a regional production of Take Me Along.
Later that year, he was cast in a starring role in the musical Tom Sawyer, which played at the St. Louis Municipal Opera.
He replaced Jerry Dodge in the role of Barnaby Tucker in Hello, Dolly! in the winter of 1965, and went across the United States on six traveling productions with several actresses playing Dolly Levi, including Betty Grable, Ginger Rogers, Eve Arden, Dorothy Lamour and Anne Russell. He remained in the role for the movie version of Hello, Dolly!, and when filming for that ended, continued the role in the Broadway version of Hello, Dolly!, where he worked with both Ethel Merman and Phyllis Diller until it closed on Dec. 27, 1970. He had mixed feelings about Carol Channing as Dolly, about whom he once said: "Carol Channing is rather disconcerting. You'll notice her looking at you with those big baby-stare eyes. Then eventually it dawns on you that the person behind those eyes is, in show business terms, about 200 years old." He also later expressed unhappiness with the way audiences reacted to Merman in the role of Dolly Levi, and how this changed the show. "She wasn't Dolly up there, she was Ethel Merman in Dolly clothes. ... The audiences came, of course; they came to see the Ethel Merman version. But it wasn't Hello, Dolly! any more, it was her show. ... Channing or Streisand, they were part of a cast, trying to act out a character. But with Ethel Merman—and not just her fault, with the audience, she was such an institution—the rest of us felt like just her chorus boys or her chorus line."
Lockin had a number of guest-star and incidental roles on television as well. He appeared on Father of the Bride, Dr. Kildare, Mr. Novak, My Three Sons, and the Sid Caesar Show. He did a screen test for the 1965 film version of The Sound of Music, but did not get the part. In 1967, he was cast in a minor role in the film The Graduate, but was contractually bound to continue in a regional production of Hello, Dolly! in Las Vegas, Nevada, and could not take the job.
In 1967, Lockin married dancer Kathy Haas, who was a bit-part dancer in a production of Hello, Dolly! in San Francisco. Their son, Jeremy Daniel Lockin, was born in 1969. The couple divorced in late 1969.
Lockin was cast in the 1969 film version of Hello, Dolly! on the basis of his dancing. He underwent 13 screen tests before he got the part. He later said that doing the film was "the dream of my life." He felt a strong need to compete with the film's director, legendary dancer Gene Kelly. At one point during filming, he did a series of four "butterflies" (a cartwheel in which a person does not put their hands on the ground) while Kelly looked on; Kelly suggested an improvement and, to demonstrate, leaped into six technically superior butterflies of his own. Lockin, chastened, reportedly sulked for three days. In April 1970, he guest-starred on The Dean Martin Show on television.
After his divorce, Lockin went back on tour with Hello Dolly!, continuing his role as Barnaby. He stayed with the tour until it ended; at which point, with his career in decline due to substance abuse issues, Lockin moved into his mother's apartment in Anaheim. Around 1974, Lockin began assisting his mother in running the Jean Lockin Dance Studio. The studio closed in early 1977, and Lockin began teaching at another dance studio.
On the night of August 21, 1977, Lockin went to a gay bar in Garden Grove, California. He left the bar with a slight, 34-year-old unemployed medical clerk, Charles Leslie Hopkins (who already had a police record, and was on probation at the time.) Several hours later, Hopkins called police to say that a man had entered his apartment and tried to rob him. Upon arrival, police found Lockin's body on the floor of Hopkin's apartment. He had been stabbed 100 times, and bled to death. His body had also been mutilated after death. Hopkins claimed he had no idea how the dead body got in his apartment. He was arrested immediately.
Danny Lockin was interred at Westminster Memorial Park Cemetery in Westminster, California.
Police found a book of pornographic pictures in Hopkins' apartment which showed men being tortured during sexual orgies. Prosecutors initially intended to seek a first degree murder conviction, and to use the book to prove that Hopkins had planned the murder. Hopkins' trial began in May 1978, but endured a two-month delay after the prosecutor was injured in an unrelated accident. During the delay, the Supreme Court of the United States held in United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1 (1977), that police may not engage in warrant-less searches of an individual's property in the absence of an exigency. On July 31, the trial court ruled the pornographic book inadmissible as evidence. On August 8, the trial court judge held that the death penalty could not be applied to Hopkins due to lack of evidence of premeditation.
On September 28, 1978, Hopkins was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to a three-year prison term. Since the court was permitted to consider suppressed evidence if the evidence was not seized merely to obtain a lengthier prison sentence and it did not "shock the conscience of the court," the trial judge increased Hopkins' sentence from the usual three years to four years. Prosecutors said that with good behavior, Hopkins would be released in two years (considering time served).
Date Production Role
January 16, 1964 – December 27, 1970 Hello, Dolly! Barnaby Tucker (Replacement)
April 8 – May 3, 1964 West Side Story Gee-Tar
Year Title Role Notes
1962 Gypsy Yonkers Farm Boy Uncredited
1963 The Stripper Bit part Uncredited
1964 My Three Sons Jay Robinson Episode: "The Substitute Teacher"
1969 Hello Dolly! Barnaby Tucker
1. Benjamin and Rosenblatt, p. 466.
2. Kurtti, p. 155.
3. West, Alice Pardoe. "Six Times Danny Lockin Played Barnaby Tucker." Ogden Standard-Examiner. January 3, 1970.
4. Pollock, Mike. "Singing, Dancing Lessons Pay Off for Young Actor." Ogden Standard-Examiner. January 3, 1970.
5. Larkin, p. 1782.
6. Green, p. 457.
7. Taubman, Howard. "Theater: 'Morning Sun' at the Phoenix." New York Times. October 7, 1963.
8. Flinn, p. 460.
9. Hadleigh, p. 247.
10. Hadleigh, p. 51, ellipses and emphases in original.
11. Hirschhorn, p. 299.
12. "Television." New York Times. April 23, 1970.
13. Emmons, Steve. "Murder Suspect Pleads Innocent in Actor's Death." Los Angeles Times. August 27, 1977.
14. "Judge Bars Alleged Porno Book From Murder Trial." Los Angeles Times. August 1, 1978.
15. "Man Gets 4-Year Prison Term in Death of Actor." Los Angeles Times. September 29, 1978.
16. The Supreme Court later overturned this ruling in California v. Acevedo, 500 U.S. 565 (1991).
17. "Death Penalty Ruled Out in Murder Case." Los Angeles Times. August 9, 1978.
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Flinn, Caryl. Brass Diva: The Life and Legends of Ethel Merman. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2009.
Green, Stanley. The World of Musical Comedy: The Story of the American Musical Stage as Told Through the Careers of Its Foremost Composers and Lyricists. New York: Da Capo Press, 1980.
Hadleigh, Boze. Broadway Babylon: Glamour, Glitz, and Gossip on the Great White Way. New York: Back Stage Books, 2007.
Hirschhorn, Clive. Gene Kelly: A Biography. London: W.H. Allen, 1974.
Kurtti, Jeff. The Great Movie Musical Trivia Book. New York: Hal Leonard Corporation, 1996.
Larkin, Colin. The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Enfield, U.K.: Guinness Pub., 1995.