John Davis Lodge

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John Davis Lodge
John Davis Lodge.jpg
Lodge in 1935 during his acting days
United States Ambassador to Switzerland
In office
May 19, 1983 – April 30, 1985
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Faith Ryan Whittlesey
Succeeded by Faith Ryan Whittlesey
United States Ambassador to Argentina
In office
July 23, 1969 – November 10, 1973
President Richard Nixon
Preceded by Carter Lane Burgess
Succeeded by Robert Charles Hill
United States Ambassador to Spain
In office
March 24, 1955 – April 13, 1961
President Dwight Eisenhower
Preceded by James Clement Dunn
Succeeded by Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle
79th Governor of Connecticut
In office
January 3, 1951 – January 5, 1955
Lieutenant Edward N. Allen
Preceded by Chester Bowles
Succeeded by Abraham A. Ribicoff
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1951
Preceded by Clare B. Luce
Succeeded by Albert P. Morano
Personal details
Born (1903-10-20)October 20, 1903
Washington, D.C.
Died October 29, 1985(1985-10-29) (aged 82)
New York City
Resting place Arlington National Cemetery
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Francesca Braggiotti
Children 2, including Lily Lodge
Parents George Cabot Lodge
Mathilda Frelinghuysen Davis
Relatives Henry Cabot Lodge (grandfather)
Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (Brother)
Alma mater Harvard University (1925)
Harvard Law School (1929)
Profession Actor, lawyer, diplomat, politician
Military service
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1942-1946 (Active)
1946-1966 (Reserve)
Rank US-O6 insignia.svg Captain
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Legion of Honor;
Croix de Guerre

John Davis Lodge (October 20, 1903 – October 29, 1985), was an American lawyer, actor, politician, and diplomat.[1][2] He was the 79th Governor of Connecticut from 1951 to 1955, and U.S. Ambassador to Spain, Argentina, and Switzerland.[3] As an actor, he was often credited simply as John Lodge.

Early life[edit]

Lodge was born in Washington, D.C. His father was George Cabot Lodge, a poet, through whom he was a grandson of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, great-great grandson of Senator Elijah H. Mills, and great-great-great-grandson of Senator George Cabot. Through his mother, Mathilda Elizabeth Frelinghuysen Davis, he was a great-great grandson of Senator John Davis. He had two siblings: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., also a politician, and Helena Lodge de Streel, a baroness.[4][5] He married actress Francesca Braggiotti (1902–1998).

Lodge attended the Evans School for Boys in Mesa, Arizona, Middlesex School, Concord, Massachusetts, Ecole de Droit, Paris, France, and St. Albans School, Washington, D.C. In 1925, he graduated from Harvard College, where he was a member of the Fox Club. In 1929, he graduated from Harvard Law School. In 1932, he was admitted to the New York bar and commenced practice in New York City.



During the 1930s and after a brief career as a lawyer Lodge worked as an actor on screen and stage, appearing in starring roles in several notable productions, including some major Hollywood pictures.

Lodge was affiliated with the motion-picture industry and the theater from 1933 to 1942, appearing in movies such as Little Women and The Little Colonel in which he played Shirley Temple's father. He was Marlene Dietrich's co-star in The Scarlet Empress. Lodge appeared in several European-made films, in France and the United Kingdom, playing Bulldog Drummond in the 1937 film Bulldog Drummond at Bay. A fluent French speaker, he performed his roles in French in Maurice Tourneur's Koenigsmark (1935) and in Max Ophüls's De Mayerling à Sarajevo, in which he played the part of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (1940). In 1941, after returning to the United States, he appeared in several Broadway stage productions, including Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine.[6]


He served in the United States Navy as a lieutenant and lieutenant commander August 1942 to January 1946 and was a liaison officer between the French and American fleets. He was decorated with the rank of Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor and with the Croix de Guerre with palm by General Charles de Gaulle. After the war he engaged in research work in economics. He retired from the United States Navy Reserve in 1966 with the rank of Captain.


He was elected as a Republican from Connecticut's 4th congressional district to the 80th and 81st Congresses, serving from January 3, 1947 to January 3, 1951. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1950. He was elected Governor of Connecticut, serving from January 1951 to January 1955 and was unsuccessful for reelection in 1954. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention from Connecticut in 1952 and 1960.

Local legend is that the proximate cause of Lodge's defeat in 1954 to Abraham Ribicoff was disenchantment on the part of Fairfield County Republicans with the disruption caused by the construction of the Connecticut Turnpike. The highway is now named after the former Governor.[7]

Lodge then served as United States Ambassador to Spain from January 1955 until January 1961. He was National president, Junior Achievement, Inc., 1963–1964. He was an unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senator from Connecticut in 1964. He was chairman, Committee Foreign Policy Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania, 1964–1969; delegate and assistant floor leader, Connecticut Constitutional Convention, in 1965; United States Ambassador to Argentina, 1969 to 1974; United States Ambassador to Switzerland, 1983.

Personal life[edit]

He was married July 6, 1929, to actress and ballet dancer, Francesca Braggiotti; both of them appearing in the 1938 film Tonight at Eleven. They had two daughters, Lily and Beatrice. Lily Lodge is the Director of the Actors Conservatory. He was a resident of Westport, Connecticut until his death in New York City. He was interred in Arlington National Cemetery.[8] Two months after his death, the Connecticut Turnpike was renamed the Gov. John Davis Lodge Turnpike in his honor.

Selected filmography[edit]

Published works[edit]

  • Lodge, John Davis (1962). "The Iberian Peninsula and Western Europe". Journal of International Affairs. 16 (N.1): 77–78. JSTOR 24363099. 


  1. ^ "John Lodge". 
  2. ^ "John Lodge - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie". AllMovie. 
  3. ^ Fowler, Glenn (October 20, 1985). "JOHN DAVIS LODGE IS DEAD AT 82; A POLITICIAN, DIPLOMAT AND ACTOR". The New York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2018. 
  4. ^ "LODGE, John Davis, (1903–1985)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved July 29, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. Photographs II". The Massachusetts Historical Society. MHS. Retrieved December 24, 2011. 
  6. ^ Watch on the Rhine at the Internet Broadway Database
  7. ^ "Providence Journal: I-95 in Fairfield" (uncredited blog entry). Westportnow Media, Inc. April 23, 2003. Retrieved February 10, 2007. 
  8. ^ Patterson, Michael Robert. "John Davis Lodge, Captain, United States Navy & Member of Congress". 

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Clare B. Luce
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Albert P. Morano
Political offices
Preceded by
Chester Bowles
Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
Abraham A. Ribicoff
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
James Clement Dunn
United States Ambassador to Spain
Succeeded by
Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle
Preceded by
Carter L. Burgess
United States Ambassador to Argentina
July 23, 1969 – November 10, 1973
Succeeded by
Robert C. Hill
Preceded by
Faith Ryan Whittlesey
United States Ambassador to Switzerland
Succeeded by
Faith Ryan Whittlesey
Party political offices
Preceded by
William A. Purtell
Republican nominee for United States Senator from Connecticut
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
Lowell Weicker