John Hoyt

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John Hoyt
JohnHoyt BigCombo.jpg
John Hoyt in The Big Combo
Born John McArthur Hoysradt
(1905-10-05)October 5, 1905
Bronxville, New York, U.S.
Died September 15, 1991(1991-09-15) (aged 85)
Santa Cruz, California, U.S.
Cause of death Lung cancer
Years active 1946-87
Spouse(s) Dorothy Oltman Haveman (1961-1991, his death) 1 child

John Hoyt (October 5, 1905 – September 15, 1991) was an American film, stage, and television actor.

Early life[edit]

Hoyt was born John McArthur Hoysradt. He attended The Hotchkiss School and Yale University, where he served on the editorial board of campus humor magazine The Yale Record.[1] Before becoming an actor with Orson Welles's Mercury Theatre, he worked as a history instructor, acting teacher, and even (under his birth name) a nightclub comedian.[citation needed] In the latter activity, Hoyt performed impressions of famous entertainers. His impersonation of Noël Coward was so remarkable that he was hired for the original cast of the Broadway comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner, in which he played Beverley Carlton.[citation needed] Hoyt soon shortened his surname when he began his movie career.

Television and film[edit]

On the silver screen, he played the chillingly strict Principal Warneke in the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle with Glenn Ford.

In the popular western TV series Gunsmoke, in an episode titled "Bureaucrat" that aired on March 16, 1957, John Hoyt played the part of Rex Propter, a government agent sent to Dodge City, Kansas, in order to try to discover why it had such a bad reputation for gun violence.

Hoyt made five guest appearances on CBS's Perry Mason, including in the role of defendant Joseph Harrison in the 1958 episode "The Case of the Prodigal Parent", as the title character and defendant William Harper Caine in the 1961 episode "The Case of the Resolute Reformer," and as Darwin Norland in the 1963 episode "The Case of the Libelous Locket." He played an industrialist in the 1951 film When Worlds Collide. He guest-starred on the religion anthology series Crossroads.

In 1958, Hoyt was cast as rancher Clete Barron in the episode "Trouble in Paradise Valley" of the syndicated western series Frontier Doctor, with Rex Allen in the starring role as Dr. Bill Baxter.

In 1958 and 1959, Hoyt was cast in two episodes of the CBS crime drama Richard Diamond, Private Detective starring David Janssen. He appeared as Burnison in "The George Dale Case" and as Harding, Sr., in "Murder at the Mansion," with James Drury as Harding, Jr.

On November 17, 1959, Hoyt appeared as the mentally troubled Colonel Brandon in the episode "The General Must Die" on NBC's Laramie western series. Brian Keith appears with Hoyt in the role of Whit Malone, an old Union Army friend of series character Slim Sherman, portrayed by John Smith. Malone and Brandon arrive at the Sherman ranch and relay station with a daring but foiled plan to assassinate General William Tecumseh Sherman, who passes through the station on a stagecoach. Gilman Rankin makes a cameo appearance as General Sherman, who is unrelated to Slim Sherman but under whom Slim had fought in the American Civil War.

Hoyt was cast as Antoine Rigaud in the 1959 episode "About Roger Mowbray" of another NBC western series, Riverboat, starring Darren McGavin and Burt Reynolds. Robert Vaughn held the lead role of Roger Mowbray, a young man accused of marrying his wife, Jeanette (Vera Miles), for her money.

In 1959, Hoyt was cast as John Cavanagh in "The Mourning Cloak" episode of the ABC/Warner Brothers crime drama Bourbon Street Beat, starring Andrew Duggan. About this time, he also guest-starred on the ABC/WB western series The Alaskans and in Grant Sullivan's syndicated western series Pony Express. Also in 1959, Hoyt was cast in an episode ("Three Legged Terror") of The Rifleman. He played Gus Fremont, the cruel uncle of Johnny Clover as portrayed by Dennis Hopper.[2]

In 1960 and 1961, he appeared in the episodes "Burnett's Woman" and "The Salvation of Killer McFadden" of another ABC-WB dramatic series, The Roaring 20s.

Hoyt guest-starred on at least three CBS sitcoms, Bringing Up Buddy, Hogan's Heroes, and Petticoat Junction. He was cast as Dr. Philip Boyce in the pilot episode of NBC's Star Trek ("The Cage"). Hoyt appeared twice during the second season of The Twilight Zone, in the episodes "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" and "The Lateness of the Hour." He also appeared as the KAOS agent Conrad Bunny in the Get Smart episode "Our Man in Toyland", as General Beeker in ABC's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea episode "Hail to the Chief," and as Dr. Mendoza in NBC's The Monkees episode "I Was a Teenage Monster."

He was also a guest player in an episode of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show on CBS. Because of his stern demeanor, the writers had him play opposite to the befuddled way strangers usually reacted to Gracie Allen's convoluted behavior. In the teleplay, Hoyt simply would not tolerate Gracie's antics and immediately removed himself from the room—twice.

His last screen role was as Grandpa in Nell Carter's television series Gimme a Break!.

Hoyt appeared in one Shakespearean film, MGM's Julius Caesar, reprising the role of Decius Brutus (a.k.a. Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus), whom he had played in the 1937 Mercury Theatre production. In 1953, he portrayed Elijah in the biblical film Sins of Jezebel.


Hoyt died of lung cancer at the age of eighty-five in 1991 in Santa Cruz, California.[3]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Yale Banner and Pot Pourri. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1926. p. 236.
  2. ^ a b "The Rifleman Three Legged Terror (TV Episode 1959)". IMDb. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "John Hoyt Is Dead; Actor, 86, Played In Films and on TV". Retrieved 30 March 2013. 

External links[edit]