Lloyd Benedict Nolan (August 11, 1902 – September 27, 1985) was an American film and television actor.
Nolan was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Margaret and James Nolan, who was a shoe manufacturer. His parents disapproved of his choice of a career in acting, preferring that he join his father's shoe business, "one of the most solvent commercial firms in San Francisco."
Nolan served in the United States Merchant Marine before joining the Dennis Players theatrical troupe in Cape Cod. He began his career on stage and was subsequently lured to Hollywood, where he played mainly doctors, private detectives, and policemen in many film roles. He attended Santa Clara Preparatory School and Stanford University, flunking out of Stanford as a freshman "because I never got around to attending any other class but dramatics."
He was a brother in the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Sigma Rho chapter).
Nolan's obituary in the Los Angeles Times contained the evaluation, "Nolan was to both critics and audiences the veteran actor who works often and well regardless of his material." Although Nolan's acting was often praised by critics, he was, for the most part, relegated to B pictures. Despite this, Nolan costarred with a number of well-known actresses, among them Mae West, Dorothy McGuire, and former Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Gladys Swarthout. Under contract to Paramount and 20th Century Fox studios, he assayed starring roles in the late 30s and early-to-mid 40s and appeared as the title character in the Michael Shayne detective series. Raymond Chandler's novel The High Window was adapted from a Philip Marlowe adventure for the seventh film in the Michael Shayne series (above), Time to Kill (1942); the film was remade five years later as The Brasher Doubloon, truer to Chandler's original story, with George Montgomery as Marlowe.
Most of Nolan's films were light entertainment with an emphasis on action. His most famous include Atlantic Adventure, costarring Nancy Carroll; Ebb Tide; Wells Fargo; Every Day's A Holiday, starring Mae West; Bataan; and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, with Dorothy McGuire and James Dunn. He also gave a strong performance in the 1957 film Peyton Place (below) with Lana Turner.
Nolan also contributed solid and key character parts in numerous other films. One, The House on 92nd Street, was a startling revelation to audiences in 1945. It was a conflation of several true incidents of attempted sabotage by the Nazi regime (incidents which the FBI was able to thwart during World War II), and many scenes were filmed on location in New York City, unusual at the time. Nolan portrayed FBI agent Briggs, and actual FBI employees interacted with Nolan throughout the film; he reprised the role in a subsequent 1948 movie, The Street with No Name.
One of the last of his many military roles was playing an admiral at the start of what proved to be Howard Hughes' last film, Ice Station Zebra.
Later in his career, he returned to the stage and appeared on television to great acclaim in The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, for which he received a 1955 Emmy award for portraying Captain Queeg, the role made famous by Humphrey Bogart. Nolan also made guest appearances in television shows including NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford, The Bing Crosby Show, a sitcom on ABC and the Emmy-winning NBC anthology series The Barbara Stanwyck Show.
On November 7, 1961, Nolan played the outlaw Matt Dyer in the episode "Deadly Is the Night" on NBC's Laramie western series. Series character Jess Harper (Robert Fuller) stops at the former stagecoach outpost of Ma Tolliver, played by Olive Carey, to rest his lame horse. Suddenly Matt Dyer arrives with his gang and takes as hostage Jess, Ma, and her granddaughter, Sue, portrayed by Marlene Willis. The cruel Dyer proceeds to humiliate the hostages. When a posse arrives, Dyer tries to use Ma and Sue to prevent the storming of the house. However, the posse forces his hand, and the outlaws flee, but Jess keeps Dyer from running away.
On October 2, 1962, Nolan appeared again on Laramie in the episode "War Hero" as former Union Army General George Barton, who arrives in Laramie as a potential candidate for President of the United States. Jess Harper halts an assassination attempt against the general, who recuperates at the Sherman Ranch. Joanna Barnes plays Barton's daughter, Lucy. Francis De Sales, Mort Mills, and Herbert Rudley also appear in this episode.
Nolan starred in the classic 1964 episode "Soldier" of ABC's The Outer Limits, written by Harlan Ellison. He appeared in the NBC western Bonanza as LaDuke, a New Orleans detective. In 1967, he and Strother Martin guest starred in the episode "A Mighty Hunter Before the Lord" of NBC's The Road West series starring Barry Sullivan. Also in 1967, Nolan was a guest star in the popular western TV series The Virginian, episode "The Masquerade".
Nolan co-starred from 1968 to 1971 in the pioneering NBC series Julia (above), with Diahann Carroll, who became the first African American to star in her own television series outside of the role of a domestic worker.
One of his last appearances was a guest spot as himself in the episode "Cast in Steele" on the TV detective series Remington Steele.
In his later years, Nolan did commercials for Polident.
In 1964, Nolan spoke at the "Project Prayer" rally attended by 2,500 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The gathering, which was hosted by Anthony Eisley, a star of ABC's Hawaiian Eye series, sought to flood the United States Congress with letters in support of school prayer, following two decisions in 1962 and 1963 of the United States Supreme Court which struck down the practice as in conflict with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Joining Nolan and Eisley at the rally were Walter Brennan, Rhonda Fleming, Dale Evans, Pat Boone, and Gloria Swanson. At the rally, Nolan asked, "Do we permit ourselves to be turned into a godless people, or do we preserve America as one nation under God?" Eisely and Fleming added that John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Roy Rogers, Mary Pickford, Jane Russell, Ginger Rogers, and Pat Buttram would also have attended the rally had their schedules not been in conflict. "Project Prayer" was ultimately unsuccessful in its campaign to keep prayer in public schools. According to some opinions, the Court seemed to effectively change the interpretation of the First Amendment from freedom 'of' religion to freedom 'from' religion. The broader intention was to prevent the state from inappropriately advancing religion in the school room.
Nolan founded the Jay Nolan Autistic Center (now known as Jay Nolan Community Services) in honor of his son, Jay, who had autism and was chairman of the annual Save Autistic Children Telethon.
Nolan and his wife, Mell, had a daughter, Melinda, and a son, Jay.
Nolan died of lung cancer on September 27, 1985 at his home in Brentwood, California; he was 83. He is buried at Westwood Village Cemetery.
G Men - Hugh Farrell (1935)
Stolen Harmony (1935)
Atlantic Adventure (1935)
She Couldn't Take It (1935)
Big Brown Eyes (1936)
15 Maiden Lane (1936)
The Texas Rangers (1936)
Internes Can't Take Money (1937)
King of Gamblers (1937)
Ebb Tide (1937)
Every Day's a Holiday (1937)
Wells Fargo (1937)
King of Alcatraz (1938)
Dangerous to Know (1938)
St. Louis Blues (1939)
Ambush Tony Andrews (1939)
The Magnificent Fraud (1939)
Behind the News (1940)
The House Across the Bay (1940)
Johnny Apollo (1940)
The Man I Married (1940)
Pier 13 (1940) - Detective Danny Dolan
The Man Who Wouldn't Talk (1940) - Joe Monday
Blues In The Night (1941)
Sleepers West (1941)
Dressed to Kill (1941)
Steel Against the Sky (1941)
Mr Dynamite (1941) - Tony Thorsten
Time to Kill (1942)
Apache Trail (1942) Trigger Bill Folliard
Manila Calling (1942)
Michael Shayne, Private Detective (1942)
The Man Who Wouldn't Die (1942)
Blue, White and Perfect (1942)
Just Off Broadway (1942)
Guadalcanal Diary (1943)
Bataan (1943) - Corp. Barney Todd
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
The House on 92nd Street (1945) - Agent George A. Briggs
Captain Eddie (1945)
Circumstantial Evidence (1945) - Sam Lords
Two Smart People (1946)
Somewhere in the Night (1946)
Lady in the Lake (1947)
Green Grass of Wyoming (1948)
The Street with No Name (1948) - Insp. George A. Briggs
The Sun Comes Up (1949)
Bad Boy (1949)
Easy Living (1949)
The Lemon Drop Kid (1951)
Island in the Sky - Captain Stutz (1953)
The Last Hunt (1956)
Toward the Unknown (1956)
Santiago (1956) - Clay Pike
A Hatful of Rain (1957)
Seven Waves Away (1957)
Peyton Place (1957) = Dr. Swain
Abandon Ship! (1957) - Frank Kelly
Portrait in Black (1960)
The Girl of the Night (1960)
Susan Slade (1961)
The Girl Hunters (1962)
We Joined the Navy (1962)
Circus World (1964) - Cap Carson
An American Dream (1966)
The Double Man (1967) - Edwards
Ice Station Zebra (1968)
Airport (1970) - Harry Standish
The November Plan, TV Movie (1977) - Gen. Smedley Butler
The Mask of Alexander Cross, TV Movie (1977)
The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977) - Attorney General Harlan Stone
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, TV Movie (1984) -
Monsignor Donoghue Prince Jack (1985) - Joe Kennedy
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Martin Kane - 7 episodes - Martin Kane (1951-1952)
Wagon Train - The Hunter Malloy Story - Hunter Malloy (1959)
Special Agent 7 - 25 episodes - Special Agent Philip Conroy (1959)
The Untouchables - episode - The George 'Bugs' Moran Story - George 'Bugs' Moran (1959)
Laramie - episode - The Star Trail - Sheriff Tully Hatch (1959)
Bonanza - episode - The Stranger - Inspector Charles Leduque (1960)
Laramie - episode - Deadly Is the Night - Matt Dyer (1961)
Outlaws - episode - Buck Breeson Rides Again - Buck Breeson (1962)
Laramie - episode - War Hero - General George Barton (1962)
The Virginian - episode - It Takes a Big Man - Wade Anders (1963)
The Virginian - episode - The Payment - Abe Clayton (1964)
Daniel Boone - episode - The Price of Friendship - Ben Hanks (1965)
Mannix - episode - The Name Is Mannix - Sam Dubrio (1967)
The Virginian - episode - The Masquerade - Tom Foster (1967)
I Spy - episode - The Name of the Game - Manion (1968)
Julia - 86 episodes - Dr. Morton Chegley / Dr. Norton Chegley (1968-1971)
Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law - episode - A Question of Degree (1972)
The F.B.I. - episode - The Killing Truth - Judge Harper (1973)
McCloud - episode - Butch Cassidy Rides Again - Elroy Jenkins (1973)
The Magician - episode - The Illusion of the Curious Counterfeit: Parts 1 and 2 - Charles Keegan (1974)
Lincoln - TV mini series - episode - The Unwilling Warrior - William H. Seward (1975)
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color - episode - The Sky's the Limit: Parts 1 and 2 - Cornwall (1975)
Ellery Queen - episode - The Adventure of the Sunday Punch - Doctor Sanford (1976)
McMillan and Wife - episode - Affair of the Heart - Horace Sherwin (1977)
Police Woman - episode - Merry Christmas Waldo - Q. Waldo Mims (1977)
The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries - episode - Search for Atlantis - Professor Anton Hendricks (1978)
The Waltons - episode - The Return - Cyrus Guthrie (1978)
Quincy M.E. - episode - A Test for Living - Dr. Schumann (1978)
$weepstake$ - episode - Episode #1.2 - Dr. Warnecke (1979)
Archie Bunker's Place - episode - Custody: Parts 1 and 2 - Judge Sean McGuire (1981 )
Remington Steele - episode - Cast in Steele - Lloyd Nolan (1984)
Murder, She Wrote - episode - Murder in the Afternoon - Julian Tenley (1985)
Year Program Episode/source
1952 Suspense The Man with Two Faces 1953 Suspense Vial of Death
1. Folkart, Burt A. (September 28, 1985). "Lloyd Nolan, the Actor's Actor, Dies". Los Angeles Times.
2. "His Parents Thought Acting a Risk, Preferring Shoe Business". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. September 3, 1933. p. 15.
3. "Lloyd Nolan at Cancer Kickoff Drive in S.M.". The Times. April 26, 1973. p. 34.
4. "Actor Lloyd Nolan Went Up In Lights the Very Hard Way". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 4, 1943. p. 32.
5. "Laramie: Deadly Is the Night", November 7, 1961". Internet Movie Data Base.
6. "Laramie: "War Hero", October 2, 1962". Internet Movie Data Base.
7. ""The Washington Merry-Go-Round", Drew Pearson column, May 14, 1964" (PDF). dspace.wrlc.org.
8. "Lloyd Nolan: Tough Movie Gangster Is Now Crusty Television Doctor". The Danville Register. September 2, 1969. p. 11.
9. "Actor Lloyd Nolan Dies". The Glaveston Daily News. September 29, 1985. p. 4.
10. Kirby, Walter (December 14, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 54
11. Kirby, Walter (May 17, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 48.
Lloyd Nolan: An Actor's Life With Meaning, by Joel Blumberg and Sandra Grabman. BearManor Media, Albany, 2010. ISBN 1-59393-600-1.