August 22, 1904
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||September 2, 1982
North Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Resting place||San Fernando Mission Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Occupation||Radio, film and television actor|
|Spouse(s)||Rose Motto (1 child)
Patricia C. (Lucy) Lewis
(1961–1982) (his death)
|Children||Yvonne Ann (Romano) Harscher|
Jay Novello (August 22, 1904 – September 2, 1982) was an American radio, film, and television character actor.
Born in Chicago as Michael Romano, of Italian descent. His parents were Joseph Romano and Maria (Salemme) Romano. He had three siblings: John Romano, Joseph Romano, and Theresa (Romano) Rizzo.
Novello began his career on radio in the 1930s. He played Jack Packard on the Hollywood version of I Love a Mystery for a brief period during the mid-1940s. He sometimes employed accents in voicing supporting characters.
His portrayals include Cairo police captain Lt. Sam Sabaaya on Rocky Jordan, Jamison the butler on the radio version of Lone Wolf, and Judge GlennHunter on One Man's Family. He had roles on Escape, Crime Classics, Lux Radio Theater, Suspense, and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.
On film, Novello alternated between pompous or fussy professionals and assorted ethnic roles, often as Italian or Hispanic characters. One of his earliest and more familiar film appearances is in the 1945 Laurel and Hardy comedy The Bullfighters, in which Novello plays a Latin restauranteur. Novello was limited mostly to bits in minor films, one of his notable being the officious Spanish consul in Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles (1961). Among his other movie credits are roles in such films as Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953), The Mad Magician (1954), Lisbon (1956), The Pride and the Passion (1957), This Rebel Breed (1960), The Lost World (1960), Escape from Zahrain (1962), The Man from the Diner's Club (1963), Sylvia (1965), Harum Scarum (1965), What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966), The Caper of the Golden Bulls (1967), The Comic (1969) and The Domino Principle (1977).
Besides several appearances on CBS's I Love Lucy, Novello guest starred on a 1952 episode of CBS's espionage drama Biff Baker, U.S.A., starring Alan Hale, Jr. He appeared too on NBC's Northwest Passage series, based on the work of Major Robert Rogers in the French and Indian War. He appeared with James Best, John Dehner, and Paul Richards in 1956 on NBC's western anthology series Frontier in the episode "The Texicans". About this time, he also guest starred in Brian Keith's first series, Crusader, a Cold War drama which aired on CBS. He was cast in a 1955 episode as Andre in "Sock Plays Cupid" of Jackie Cooper's NBC sitcom, The People's Choice.
In 1957, he guest starred in Frank Lovejoy's NBC detective series, The Adventures of McGraw, initially titled Meet McGraw. In 1958, he was cast in five episodes as Juan Greco on ABC's Zorro, with Guy Williams and in this same year played Gio Bartolo in the episode "Sidewalk Fisherman" in the acclaimed ABC series, Naked City.
In the episode "Small Hostage" (May 26, 1959) of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series Sugarfoot, with Will Hutchins in the title role, Novello plays the vivacious Pepe Valdez, the owner of an orphanage in Mexico, who persuades a United States Army colonel, Cyrus Craig (Robert Warwick), that a blonde Anglo boy in the orphanage, "Chico" (Gary Hunley), is the colonel's grandson. Craig had come south of the border to reclaim from a cemetery the body of Craig's military son killed in an Apache attack.
He also guest starred in episodes of two ABC sitcoms, The Donna Reed Show as Nick Melinas in "The Love Letter" (1960) and on The Real McCoys, in which he plays the fiance of Gladys Purvis (Lurene Tuttle), the widowed mother of Kate McCoy (Kathleen Nolan). At first the Novello character clashes with Grandpa Amos McCoy (Walter Brennan), but the two are reconciled over a game of horseshoes.
Between 1957 and 1960, Novello appeared as a skittish coroner in an episode of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Maverick, starring James Garner, also two episodes of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. He appeared in the ABC/WB detective series, Bourbon Street Beat, starring Andrew Duggan. He guest starred as Beanie in the 1958 episode "Arson" of David Janssen's CBS crime drama, Richard Diamond, Private Detective. In 1962, he played coin collector Nickolas Trevelian in "The Case of the Captain's Coins". He appeared in the syndicated crime drama, Johnny Midnight, starring Edmond O'Brien. Novello guest starred twice on CBS's The Andy Griffith Show, as the main character in the episode entitled "Guest of Honor" and as an opportunist lawyer in "Otis Sues the County". He secured an early guest spot on the television incarnation of Gangbusters as famed bank robber Willie Sutton. He was a regular on ABC's McHale's Navy as the con artist Mayor Mario Lugatto of Volta Fiore, Italy.
He appeared in the episode of Climax!, Escape From Fear, and had a recurring role on Zorro as Juan Greco. Novello also appeared in several episodes of the ABC/WB series, Lawman, with John Russell and Peter Brown. He was cast as Guido Morales in the 1960 episode "Unsurrendered Sword" of another ABC western series, The Rebel, starring Nick Adams. He also appeared in an episode of the Brady Bunch as Mr. Martinelli, the owner of a bike shop who hires, and then fires, Peter Brady. He also appeared as a pompous Coin collector in a Perry Mason episode The Case of the Captain's Coins".
Personal life and death
His first marriage, to Rose Motto, ended in divorce. In 1961, he married Patricia C. Lewis and they remained together until his death.
- "Meet McGraw". Classic TV Archives. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
- ""Small Hostage", May 26, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- "Full Cast and Crew for The Real McCoys (1957)". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
- "Colt .45". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved December 17, 2012.