|Born||Lon Leonard Chapman
October 1, 1920
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
|Died||October 12, 2007
Sherman Oaks, California, USA
|Alma mater||University of Oklahoma|
|Spouse(s)||Erma Dean (1944–2007, his death)|
Lonny Chapman (October 1, 1920 – October 12, 2007) was an American television actor best known for his numerous guest star appearances on drama series, such as Storefront Lawyers, Quincy, M.E., The A-Team, Murder, She Wrote, Matlock, and NYPD Blue. In the 1954 movie "Young at Heart" with Doris Day and Frank Sinatra, he played Ernie the plumber.
He also appeared as a guest star on the CBS adventure/drama Harbourmaster, starring Barry Sullivan, and on the same network's anthology series The Lloyd Bridges Show. He guest starred too in several episodes of NBC's McCloud, which starred his long-time friend Dennis Weaver, whom Chapman had originally urged to go into show business. He also appeared in three episodes of CBS's Gunsmoke opposite Dennis Weaver. He was cast several times on ABC's The Rifleman, twice on the syndicated adventure series, The Everglades, starring Ron Hayes, and once each on the syndicated crime drama Decoy, starring Beverly Garland, and the short-lived CBS western, Dundee and the Culhane. In 1964 he appeared on Perry Mason as murderer Jack Talley in "The Case of the Tandem Target."
In 1966, Chapman appeared in the episode "Lone Woman" of Barry Sullivan's NBC western series, The Road West. In 1977, Chapman appeared in the episode "The Waterhole" of the short-lived Rod Taylor western series The Oregon Trail on NBC.
Chapman was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but lived thereafter in Joplin, Missouri. After service in the South Pacific during World War II, Chapman graduated from the University of Oklahoma at Norman and then moved to New York City, where he landed the role of Turk in Come Back, Little Sheba, a role played by Richard Jaeckel in the 1952 film version. After moving to California Chapman appeared in East of Eden and The Birds.
He played the sheriff in Where the Red Fern Grows. He had a starring role in the short-lived 1965 series For the People. In 1972, Chapman founded the Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles and was named artistic director, a title he held until his death. Under his direction, the nonprofit 99-seat theater staged more than 350 productions and at least 45 premieres of original works.
He appeared in several motion pictures, including the 2000 movie Reindeer Games. Chapman was also a playwright; his works The Buffalo Skinner and Cry of the Raindrop were both produced Off-Broadway.
In the fall of 2005, Chapman was named "Outstanding Alumnus" at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. He graduated from Joplin High School and, in 1940, Joplin Junior College, the predecessor institution of Missouri Southern.
Chapman died in an area care facility of complications from heart disease. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Erma Dean, and his son, Wyley Dean.
- TV Tome site on Lonny Chapman
- Lonny Chapman at the Internet Movie Database
- LA Times Obituary