John Marley

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John Marley
Black-and-white close-up photo of the face of a smiling man with light hair, thick dark eyebrows, and visible stubble.
John Marley from a poster promoting Faces (1968)
Mortimer Marlieb

(1907-10-17)October 17, 1907
New York City, U.S.
DiedMay 22, 1984(1984-05-22) (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeCedar Park Cemetery
Years active1947–1984
  • Stanja Lowe
    (m. 1951; div. 1971)
  • Sandra Marley
    (m. 1975)

John Marley (born Mortimer Marlieb,[2] October 17, 1907 – May 22, 1984) was an American actor who was known for his role as Phil Cavalleri in Love Story and as Jack Woltz— the defiant film mogul who awakens to find the severed head of his prized horse in his bed—in The Godfather (1972).[3] He starred in John Cassavetes' feature Faces (1968)[3] and appeared in The Glitter Dome (1984).

Early years[edit]

Marley was born in Harlem in New York City to Russian-Jewish parents.[2] He dropped out of the City College of New York, turning instead to a career in acting.[1]


Military service[edit]

Marley served in the United States Army Signal Corps during World War II.[1]

Film and television[edit]

Marley was a prolific character actor, appearing in nearly 250 films and television series during a career spanning over forty-five years. Some of the TV series he mde an appearance in have included The Web, Peter Gunn, Johnny Staccato, Bourbon Street Beat, Perry Mason, Rawhide, The Untouchables, Sea Hunt, 77 Sunset Strip, The Lloyd Bridges Show, Dr. Kildare, The Outer Limits, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, The Wild Wild West, Mannix, Bonanza, Ironside, The Name of the Game, The F.B.I., Cannon, McCloud, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Baretta, Barnaby Jones, and Hawaii Five-0.

He was cast as George Campbell in the 1961 episode "Jerkwater" of the ABC western series, The Rebel, starring Nick Adams.

In 1962 he played the role of murderer Matthew Owen in the Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Angry Astronaut."

One of Marley's most notable roles, albeit short, was that of film producer Jack Woltz in The Godfather. Marley later spoofed that role in an episode of SCTV Network. He played Max Berns, a film producer who was a caring father figure to Burt Reynolds in the stuntman tribute, Hooper.[3]

In the late 70's, he appeared in the third season of the popular television series, The Incredible Hulk as D.W. Banner, the father of the main character, David Banner, in the "Homecoming" episode.


Marley's Broadway credits include The Investigation (1966), Sing Till Tomorrow (1953), The Strong Are Lonely (1953), Skipper Next to God (1947),[4] and Johnny Doodle (1942).[1] Elsewhere on stage, Marley appeared in the world premiere production of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poetry drama, Conversation At Midnight in 1961 in Los Angeles, in an ensemble cast which included James Coburn, Jack Albertson and Eduard Franz. The production was directed by Robert Gist and produced by Worley Thorne and Susan Davis.

He also directed Little Theater productions in several cities.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Marley was twice married. His first wife, the actress Stanja Lowe bore him three children.[5]


In 1984, Marley died at age 76 following open-heart surgery.[6] He is interred at Cedar Park Cemetery, in Emerson, New Jersey.[7]


In 1968, Marley won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for his work in Faces.[8] In 1970, he was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his role in Love Story[9] but lost to John Mills, who won for Ryan's Daughter. He was also nominated for a 1971 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting role in Any Motion Picture for his work in Love Story.[10]


Year Title Role Notes
1942 Native Land Thug With Crowbar Uncredited
as John Marlieb
1947 Kiss of Death Prisoner in Spinning Mill Uncredited
1948 The Naked City Managing Editor Uncredited
1950 Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town Second Cab Driver Uncredited
1951 The Mob Tony
1952 My Six Convicts Knotty Johnson
1953 The Joe Louis Story Mannie Seamon
1955 The Square Jungle Tommy Dillon - Referee
1956 Time Table Bobik
1958 I Want to Live! Father Devers
1960 Pay or Die D. Caputo, Ragman
Sea Hunt Season 3, Episode 31
1961 Sea Hunt Season 4, Episode 28
1962 The Twilight Zone - Kick the Can Mr. Cox
1963 A Child Is Waiting Holland
The Wheeler Dealers Achilles Dimitros
America, America Garabet
1964 The Twilight Zone - The Old Man in the Cave Jason
1965 Nightmare in the Sun Hogan, Gas station owner
Cat Ballou Frankie Ballou
The Lollipop Cover George
1967 The Wild Wild West King Stefan IX Episode: "The Night of the Wolf"
1968 Faces Richard Forst
In Enemy Country Rausch
1970 A Man Called Sledge Old Man
Love Story Phil Cavalleri Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Hawaii Five-O Dr. Gregorios Lemira "The Second Shot"
1971 Clay Pigeon Police Captain
1972 The Dead Are Alive Nikos Samarakis
The Godfather Jack Woltz
1973 Jory Roy Starr
Blade Tommy Blade
1974 Deathdream Charles Brooks
1975 Framed Sal Viccarrone
Kolchak: The Night Stalker Captain Maurice Molnar Episode: "Primal Scream"
1976 W.C. Fields and Me Studio Head Bannerman
1977 The Car Sheriff Everett Peck
Hawaii Five-O Noah "Tread the King's Shadow"
Vengeance Jesus
The Greatest Dr. Ferdie Pacheco
The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover Dave Hindley
1978 Greatest Heroes of the Bible Moses
It Lives Again Mr. Mallory
Hooper Max Berns
1980 Tribute Lou Daniels
1981 Threshold Edgar Fine
The Amateur Molton
SCTV Leonard Bernstein Played parody of his role in The Godfather but with his character as Leonard Bernstein instead of Jack Woltz.
1982 Mother Lode Elijah
1983 Utilities Roy Blue
1986 On the Edge Elmo Glidden (final film role)


  1. ^ a b c d Pareles, Jon (May 24, 1984). "John Marley, Actor, An Oscar Nominee and Venice Winner". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 26 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Marley, John". American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press. February 2000. Archived from the original on October 24, 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Pareles, Jon (May 24, 1984). "JOHN MARLEY, ACTOR, AN OSCAR NOMINEE AND VENICE WINNER". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "("John Marley" search results)". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Archived from the original on 26 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b Corday, Barbara (January 12, 1971). "They're Saying His Name in Same Breath With 'Oscar'". Valley News. California, Van Nuys. p. 22. Retrieved August 26, 2017 – via open access
  6. ^ Obituary Variety, May 30, 1984.
  7. ^ Resting Places
  8. ^ "Volpi Cup for Best Actor". Carnival of Venice. Archived from the original on 26 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  9. ^ "("John Marley" search results)". Academy Awards Database. Retrieved 26 August 2017.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "John Marley". Golden Globe Awards. Archived from the original on 26 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.

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