|Born||Lloyd Benedict Nolan
August 11, 1902
San Francisco, California, USA
|Died||September 27, 1985
Los Angeles, California, USA
|Spouse(s)||Mell Efrid (1933-1981) (her death) 2 children
Virginia Dabney (1983-1985) (his death)
Nolan was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Margaret and James Nolan, who was a shoe manufacturer. He began his career on stage and was subsequently lured to Hollywood, where he played mainly doctors, detectives, and police officers in many movie roles.
He was a brother to the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Sigma Rho chapter).
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, 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.
The majority of Nolan's films comprised light entertainment with an emphasis on action. His most famous films 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 with Lana Turner.
Nolan subsequently contributed many solid and key character parts in numerous other films. One of these films, 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, an unusual occurrence 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.
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, with Diahann Carroll, who became the first African American to star in her own television series outside of the role of a domestic worker.
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 Fleming 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 W. 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.
Nolan died of lung cancer in Los Angeles at the age of eighty-three.
- Burt A. Folkart (September 28, 1985). "Lloyd Nolan, the Actor's Actor, Dies". Los Angeles Times.
- "Laramie: Deadly Is the Night", November 7, 1961". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
- "Laramie: "War Hero", October 2, 1962". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- ""The Washington Merry-Go-Round", Drew Pearson column, May 14, 1964". dspace.wrlc.org. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
Lloyd Nolan: An Actor's Life With Meaning, by Joel Blumberg and Sandra Grabman. BearManor Media, Albany, 2010. ISBN 1-59393-600-1.
- Lloyd Nolan at the Internet Movie Database
- Lloyd Nolan at the Internet Broadway Database
- Lloyd Nolan at Find a Grave
- Lloyd Nolan photos and links