Lois Nettleton

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Lois Nettleton
Lois Nettleton 4 crop.jpg
Lois Nettleton at the 1989 Emmy Awards.
Lois June Nettleton

(1927-08-16)August 16, 1927
DiedJanuary 18, 2008(2008-01-18) (aged 80)
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
Resting placeSaint Raymond's Cemetery, Bronx, New York City
Other namesLydia Scott
EducationArt Institute of Chicago
Years active1949–2008
(m. 1960; div. 1967)

Lois June Nettleton (August 16, 1927 – January 18, 2008)[1] was an American film, stage, radio, and television actress. She received three Primetime Emmy Award nominations and won two Daytime Emmy Awards.

Early life[edit]

Lois Nettleton was born on August 16, 1927 in Oak Park, Illinois to Virginia and Edward L. Nettleton. She was also raised by her maternal aunt's family. She attended Senn High School, where she was a classmate of Lee Stern,[2] and Goodman School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago (now at DePaul University). She was Miss Chicago of 1948 and a semifinalist at the Miss America 1948 Pageant.[3] After performing to favorable reviews with Geraldine Page in repertory theatre at the New Lake Zurich Playhouse (Lake Zurich, Illinois) in 1946 and with the Woodstock Players (Woodstock, Illinois) the following year, her professional acting career began in 1949. She understudied Barbara Bel Geddes in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and appeared on television in a production of "Flowers from a Stranger" on Westinghouse Studio One on the CBS network in 1949.



Nettleton played Patsy in the soap opera The Brighter Day.[4]

Television and Emmy Award nominations[edit]

She performed in dozens of guest-starring roles on television shows. Early roles included The Twilight Zone (episode "The Midnight Sun", 1961); Naked City; Route 66; Mr. Novak; The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (episode "The Dark Pool", 1963); The Eleventh Hour; Hawaii Five-O; Dr. Kildare; Twelve O'Clock High; The Fugitive; The F.B.I.; Cannon; Bonanza; Gunsmoke (starring in 1961 as the title character in season 7, episode 12’s "Nina’s Revenge," where she played an abused wife driven to murder after finally finding love); The Virginian; and Daniel Boone.[5] In 1973, she appeared on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Lou Grant's new boss, Barbara Coleman.[5] She appeared in the pilot episode of The Eddie Capra Mysteries in 1978, as well as hit TV miniseries, such as Washington: Behind Closed Doors and Centennial, as the murderous Maude Wendell.[5]

In 1987, she portrayed the role of Penny Vanderhof Sycamore on the TV series version of the Kaufman and Hart comedy play You Can't Take It with You with Harry Morgan and Richard Sanders. She was a regular celebrity guest on various versions of the game show Pyramid from the 1970s through 1991.[5]

Nettleton won two Emmy Awards during her career. She won one for her role as Susan B. Anthony in the television film The American Woman: Profiles in Courage (1977), and for "A Gun for Mandy" (1983), which was an episode of the religious anthology Insight. She received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for the Golden Girls episode "Isn't It Romantic?." She also received Emmy nominations for her work in the TV movie Fear on Trial (1975) (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special) and for a recurring role on the series In the Heat of the Night in 1989 (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series). Nettleton appeared in a 2006 Christmas TV movie special titled The Christmas Card.


A life member of the Actors Studio,[6] Nettleton made her Broadway debut in the 1949 production of Dalton Trumbo's play, The Biggest Thief in Town. She appeared in a short-lived off-Broadway production of Look Charlie, which was written by her future husband, humorist Jean Shepherd. It opened for three performances in late December 1958 and closed after several more the following February.[7][8]

She received critical praise for her performance as Blanche DuBois in a 1973 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. Nettleton was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as Amy in a 1976 revival of They Knew What They Wanted. Other stage credits include Broadway productions of Darkness at Noon and Silent Night, Lonely Night.[9] She continued to act onstage into her 70s. Her final stage performance was in 2004, in an off-Broadway play, How to Build a Better Tulip.

Voice acting[edit]

Nettleton appeared in episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater. In her later years, she did several voice roles for Disney, such as Disney's House of Mouse, Mickey's House of Villains (as Maleficent), and Herc's Adventures.

Personal life and death[edit]

Nettleton was the first caller to Jean Shepherd's late-night radio program on WOR, later becoming his third wife. She became a regular guest, known to listeners as "the Listener." They appeared together in Shepherd's off-Broadway theater piece Look, Charlie!, which opened in December 1958.[8] They married on December 3, 1960, in Tarrytown, New York.[10] It has been reported that they divorced in 1967.[11] She never remarried or had children.

Nettleton made her last public appearance in August 2007 at the Twilight Zone Convention in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. Five months later, in January 2008, she died in Woodland Hills, California at the age of 80 from a brain tumor.[3] She was interred in New York City's Saint Raymond's Cemetery.

In popular culture[edit]

A highly fictionalized version of her appears in James Ellroy's 2021 novel Widespread Panic.[12]



Year Title Role Notes
1957 A Face in the Crowd Mr. Mason's Nurse Uncredited
1962 Period of Adjustment Dorothea Bates
1963 Come Fly with Me Hilda 'Bergie' Bergstrom
1964 Mail Order Bride Annie Boley
1968 The Bamboo Saucer Anna Karachev
1969 The Good Guys and the Bad Guys Mary
1970 Pigeon Mildred
Dirty Dingus Magee Prudence Frost
1971 The Bull of the West Mary Justin
1972 The Honkers Linda Lathrop
1975 The Man in the Glass Booth Miriam Rosen
1976 Echoes of a Summer Ruth Striden
1981 Deadly Blessing Louisa Stohler
Soggy Bottom, U.S.A. Molly
1982 Butterfly Belle Morgan
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Dulcie Mae
1994 Mirror, Mirror 2: Raven Dance Sister Marion
2001 Mickey's House of Villains Maleficent Voice, Video


Year Title Role Notes
1949-1956 Studio One in Hollywood Bertha Randall / Mona 3 Episodes: "Flowers from a Stranger", "The Willow Cabin", "An Incident of Love"
1953 Man Against Crime Ethel 1 Episode: "Murder Mountain"
1954 Captain Video and His Video Rangers 1 Episode: "The Enemy from Within"
1954-1957 The Brighter Day Patsy Dennis
1955-1958 Camera Three Emily Dickinson / Akulina 3 Episodes: "The Forty-Niners", "The Rendezvous", "Emily Dickinson: Portrait of a Poet"
1956 The Big Story Jean 1 Episode: "Ex-Convict"
1958 Armstrong Circle Theatre 2 Episodes: "The Mummy Complex", "Accused of Murder"
Kraft Theatre Beth / Sarah 2 Episodes: "Now Will You Try for Murder?", "Presumption of Innocence"
Decoy Lois Bergen 2 Episodes: "Deadly Corridor", "Ladies Man"
1959 Meet Me in St. Louis Lucille Ballard TV Movie
Brenner 1 Episode: "One of Our Own"
The United States Steel Hour Jan Livingston 1 Episode: "Seed of Guilt"
True Story Sue Richards 1 Episode: "12 September 1959"
Summer of Decision Receptionist TV Movie
Captain David Grief Rosita Molina 1 Episode: "The Gun Runner"
1960 Startime 1 Episode: "Mr. Arcularis"
Dow Hour of Great Mysteries Laura / Anne Catherick 1 Episode: "The Woman in White"
The Play of the Week Mary / Abigail Sarclet 2 Episodes: "Duet for Two Hands", "Emmanuel"
1960-1962 Naked City Sara / Marie Marianni / Fran Burney / Merissa Mori 4 Episodes: "Debt of Honor", "To Dream Without Sleep", "Show Me the Way to Go Home", "A Run for the Money"
1961 Encounter Lise 1 Episode: "The Neighbour"
Great Ghost Tales 1 Episode: "Mr. Arcularis"
The Twilight Zone Norma 1 Episode: "The Midnight Sun"
1961-1963 Route 66 Isabelle / Jahala West / Susan 3 Episodes: "The Opponent"; "Some of the People, Some of the Time"; "Suppose I Said I Was the Queen of Spain"
1961-1967 Gunsmoke Amy Todd / Nina Sharkey 2 Episodes: "Nina's Revenge", "The Returning"
1962 The DuPont Show of the Week Jennifer Graham 1 Episode: "The Shadowed Affair"
1963 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Dianne Castillejo 1 Episode: "The Dark Pool"
The Eleventh Hour Ruth 1 Episode: "Oh, You Shouldn't Have Done It"
East Side/West Side Ann Severson 1 Episode: "No Hiding Place"
1963-1964 The Nurses Ella Johnson / Molly Kane 2 Episodes: "The Guilt of Molly Kane", "A Messenger to Everyone"
1964-1965 Dr. Kildare Lisa Dowling / Hildy Pochek 2 Episodes: "Speak Not in Angry Whispers"; "My Name Is Lisa, and I Am Lost"
1964-1966 The Fugitive Marcia Stone / Susan Cartwright / Lucey Russell 3 Episodes: "Man on a String", "In a Plain Paper Wrapper", "Death Is the Door Prize"
1965 Mr. Novak Jean Corcoran 1 Episode: "Where Is There to Go, Billie, But Up?"
Twelve O'Clock High Susan Nesbit 1 Episode: "Show Me a Hero, I'll Show You a Bum"
1966 Bonanza Elizabeth Ann Clauson 2 Episodes: "The Pursued: Part 1 & 2"
1966-1970 The F.B.I. Elizabeth Colling / Catherine Fossburg 2 Episodes: "Vendetta", "The Innocents"
1967 Accidental Family Sue Kramer 16 episodes
1967 Valley of Mystery Rita Brown TV Movie
1968 Daniel Boone Sulie 1 Episode: "The Bait"
Macbeth Lady Macbeth TV Movie
The Virginian Suzanne Mayo "The Wind of Outrage"
1968-1970 The Name of the Game Laura Garver / Ruth Prochek 2 Episodes: "The Taker", "All the Old Familiar Faces"
1969 Any Second Now Nancy Dennison TV Movie
The Outsider April Endby 1 Episode: "Periwinkle Blue"
Then Came Bronson Barbara Timmons 1 Episode: "All the World and God"
The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Laura Michaels 1 Episode: "And Those Unborn"
1970 Bracken's World Eva Sanders 1 Episode: "Nude Scene"
Weekend of Terror Sister Ellen TV Movie
1970-1976 Medical Center Maj. Annie Malone / Katie Height / Dr. Annie Claymor 5 Episodes
1971 The Interns Jeanne / Jenny 1 Episode: "Metamorphosis"
The Forgotten Man Anne Wilson TV Movie
Terror in the Sky Janet Turner TV Movie
The Man and the City Jennifer Wilson 1 Episode: "Jennifer"
1972 Women in Chains Sandra Parker / Sally Porter TV Movie
Night Gallery Moira 1 Episode: "I'll Never Leave You - Ever/There Aren't Any More MacBanes"
Cannon Linda Dean 1 Episode: "The Shadow Man"
1973 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Barbara Coleman 1 Episode: "What Do You Do When the Boss Says 'I Love You'"
1974 The ABC Afternoon Playbreak Jennifer Clifton 1 Episode: "Last Bride of Salem"
Movin' On Karen 1 Episode: "Life Line"
Marcus Welby, M.D. Mary Anderson 1 Episode: "Child of Silence"
Barnaby Jones Ellen Blazeford 1 Episode: "Death on Deposit"
1975 Kung Fu Delonia Cantrell 2 Episodes: "Danny Caine:Barbary House", "Flight to Orion"
Petrocelli Gloria 1 Episode: "A Night of Terror"
Fear on Trial Nan Claybourne TV Movie
Hawaii Five-O Chelsea Merriman 1 Episode: "Sing a Song of Suspence"
1976 The American Woman: Portraits of Courage Susan B. Anthony TV Movie
1977 All That Glitters Christina Stockwood 65 Episodes
The Streets of San Francisco Carolyn Blake 1 Episode: "Interlude"
Washington: Behind Closed Doors Linda Martin 6 Episodes
1978 The Eddie Capra Mysteries 1 Episode: "Nightmare at Pendragon Castle"
1978-1979 Centennial Maude Wendell 10 Episodes
1980 The Love Boat Susan Stoddard 1 Episode: "Celebration/Captain Papa/Honeymoon Pressure"
Tourist Terry Carrell TV Movie
1982 Trapper John, M.D. Janet Weems 1 Episode: "Three on a Mismatch"
Insight Joanna / Mandy 2 Episodes: "A Gun for Mandy", "So Little Time"
1984 Glitter Sister Abigail 1 Episode: "A Minor Miracle"
1984-1991 Murder, She Wrote Ginny Blanchard / Deidre French / Amelia 3 Episodes: "Lovers and Other Killers", "Mourning Among the Wisterias", "Terminal Connection"
1985 Finder of Lost Loves Helen Sanderson 1 Episode: "From the Heart"
Hotel Cheryl Pomeroy 1 Episode: "Lost and Found"
Brass Claire Willis TV Movie
1986 Manhunt for Claude Dallas Dee Pogue TV Movie
The Golden Girls Jean 1 Episode: "Isn't It Romantic?"
1986-1987 The Facts of Life Noreen Stickle / Radio Voice 2 Episodes: "Ready or Not", "Ex Marks the Spot"
1987 Cagney & Lacey Faith Dewey 1 Episode: "Divine Couriers"
1987-1988 You Can't Take It with You Penny Vanderhof Sycamore 3 Episodes: "Like Mother, Like Son"; "The Trial of Martin Vanderhof"; "For Whom the Phone Rings"
1988 Mr. Belvedere Barbara Collins 1 Episode: "Black Widow"
1988-1989 In the Heat of the Night Joanne St. John 22 Episodes
1989 The Munsters Today Ms. Jessica Bowton 1 Episode: "Eau de Munster"
1990 The Flash Belle Crocker 1 Episode: "Ghost in the Machine"
1991 Full House Nedra Donaldson 2 Episodes: "The Wedding: Part 1 & 2"
1993 Traveler's Rest Joanne TV Short
1994 Seinfeld Mrs. Enright 1 Episode: "The Gymnast"
Babylon 5 Daggair 1 Episode: "Soul Mates"
1995 The Cosby Mysteries Mrs. Adams 1 Episode: "Last Tango"
University Hospital Sarah McCormick 1 Episode: "'Til Death Do Us Part"
Coach Lois 1 Episode: "Fool for Lunch"
Baywatch Nights Frances Sandreen 1 Episode: "Bad Blades"
1996 The Making of a Hollywood Madam Katherine TV Movie
Charlie Grace Sarah McCormick 1 Episode: "I've Got a Secret"
1996-1998 General Hospital Virginia Benson
1997 Spider-Man Nora 2 Episodes: "Partners in Danger Chapter 1: Guilty", "Partners in Danger Chapter 2: The Cat"
1999 The Pretender Gloria 1 Episode: "Risqué Business"
2001 Crossing Jordan Evelyn 5 Episodes
2002 Disney's House of Mouse Maleficent 1 Episode: "Halloween with Hades"
2006 The Christmas Card Rosie Spelman TV Movie, (final film role)

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role
1997 Herc's Adventures Athena


  1. ^ "Lois Nettleton, actress, dies at 80". Variety. February 11, 2008.
  2. ^ Senn High School 1944 Yearbook
  3. ^ a b Martin, Douglas (January 22, 2008), "Lois Nettleton, 80, Dies; Acted on Stage and TV", The New York Times
  4. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved 2019-09-22. The Brighter Day, soap opera.
  5. ^ a b c d "Lois Nettleton". TV Guide. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  6. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan. p. 279. ISBN 978-0-0254-2650-4.
  7. ^ "Look Charlie". Flicklives. February 1, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Theatre: Look Charlie" (PDF). The Village Voice. December 24, 1958. pp. 13, 20. Retrieved December 3, 2021 – via Flicklives.
  9. ^ Lois Nettleton at the Internet Broadway Database
  10. ^ "People: Lois Nettleton". Flicklives. December 9, 2014.
  11. ^ Potempa, Philip (January 24, 2012). "Region TV producer in NYC for tribute honoring Shepherd". The Times of Northwest Indiana. Munster. p. A 10. Retrieved August 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ Ellroy, James (July 1, 2021). Widespread Panic. Alfred Knopf. ISBN 978-0-5933-1934-5. Retrieved 2021-12-03.

External links[edit]