Lois Nettleton

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Lois Nettleton
Lois Nettleton 4 crop.jpg
Lois Nettleton at the 1989 Emmy Awards.
Born Lois June Nettleton
(1927-08-16)August 16, 1927
Oak Park, Illinois
Died January 18, 2008(2008-01-18) (aged 80)
Woodland Hills, California
Cause of death
Lung cancer
Resting place
Saint Raymond's Cemetery in Bronx borough of New York City
Other names Lydia Scott
Years active 1949–2008
Spouse(s) Jean Shepherd
(1960–1967) (divorced)

Lois June Nettleton (August 16, 1927[1] – January 18, 2008)[2] was an American actress of film, stage, and television.


Born on August 16, 1927 in Oak Park, Illinois (suburban Chicago), to Virginia and Edward L. Nettleton.[citation needed] She was Miss Chicago of 1948 as well as a semifinalist at the Miss America 1948 Pageant.[3] Her professional acting career began in 1949. She understudied Barbara Bel Geddes in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and first appeared on television in Captain Video.


Television/Emmy Award nominations[edit]

She performed in dozens of guest-starring roles on television shows, including the original Twilight Zone (in the classic episode "The Midnight Sun" in 1961); Naked City; Route 66; Mr. Novak; The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (episode "The Dark Pool", 1963); The Eleventh Hour; Dr. Kildare; Twelve O'Clock High; The Fugitive; The F.B.I.; Bonanza; Gunsmoke; The Virginian; Daniel Boone.

Continued: Night Gallery (in the 2nd season episode "I'll Never Leave You—Ever"); Cannon; The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Marcus Welby, M.D.; Barnaby Jones (as an embezzler); Kung Fu; Medical Center; The Streets of San Francisco; The Love Boat; Trapper John, M.D.; The Golden Girls; Cagney & Lacey; In the Heat of the Night; Full House; Murder, She Wrote; Seinfeld; Babylon 5 (in the episode "Soul Mates", 1994); Coach; Baywatch Nights; and Crossing Jordan.

In 1987, she portrayed the role of Penny VanderHof Sycamore on the TV series version of the classic Kaufman and Hart comedy play You Can't Take It With You with Harry Morgan and Richard Sanders. She was a regular celebrity guest on various versions of the game show Pyramid from the 1970s through 1991.

Nettleton won two Emmy Awards during her career. She won one for her role as Susan B. Anthony in the television film The American Woman: Profiles in Courage (1977), and for "A Gun For Mandy" (1983), which was an episode of the religious anthology, Insight. She also received an Emmy Award nomination for "Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series" for an episode of The Golden Girls, titled "Isn't It Romantic?," in which she portrayed a lesbian and college friend of Dorothy grieving the loss of her long-term partner who develops feelings for Rose. She received Emmy nominations for her work in the TV movie Fear on Trial (1975) ("Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special") and for a recurring role on the series In the Heat of the Night, in 1989 ("Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series").

Nettleton appeared in a 2006 Christmas TV movie special, The Christmas Card.


A life member of The Actors Studio,[4] Nettleton made her Broadway debut in the 1949 production of Dalton Trumbo's play, The Biggest Thief in Town using the name "Lydia Scott."[5] She appeared in a 1959 off-Broadway production of Look Charlie, which was written by her future husband, humorist Jean Shepherd. She received critical praise for her performance as Blanche DuBois in a 1973 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. In an interview with David Frost, Williams said she was "the best Blanche I've ever seen." She was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as "Amy" in a 1976 revival of They Knew What They Wanted. Other stage credits include Broadway productions of Darkness at Noon and Silent Night, Lonely Night.

Nettleton continued to act on stage into her seventies. Her final stage performance was in 2004, in an off-Broadway play called How to Build a Better Tulip.


Her film roles included Tennessee Williams' Period of Adjustment, Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd, The Man in the Glass Booth, and Colin Higgins' The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. In 1964 she played the role of the bride in Mail Order Bride, a western film also starring Buddy Ebsen and Keir Dullea. She was also in The Honkers with James Coburn. She also played the villainous murderer Maud Wendell in the TV mini series Centennial.


In recent years, she did several voice roles for Disney, such as Disney's House of Mouse (as Maleficent), and Herc's Adventures. She also appeared in episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.

Personal life and death[edit]

She was the first caller to Jean Shepherd's late-night radio program on WOR. She became a regular guest, known to listeners as "The Caller." They appeared together in Shepherd's off-Broadway play Look Charlie in 1959, and married in 1960. They divorced seven years later. They had no children.

Her last public appearance was at the 2007 Twilight Zone Convention, in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, in August 2007.

She died at the age of 80, from lung cancer, in Woodland Hills, California, on January 18, 2008. She was interred in New York City's Saint Raymond's Cemetery.


  1. ^ SSN: 356-18-1157. - United States Social Security Death Index.
  2. ^ "Actress Lois Nettleton dies at 80", Variety (Associated Press), January 21, 2008 
  3. ^ Martin, Douglas (January 22, 2008), "Lois Nettleton, 80, Dies; Acted on Stage and TV", The New York Times 
  4. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 279. ISBN 0-02-542650-8. 
  5. ^ IMDB.com Biography of Lois Nettleton

External links[edit]