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|Born||Lon Leonard Chapman
October 1, 1920
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Died||October 12, 2007
North Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||Joplin High School
Joplin Junior College
University of Oklahoma
|Spouse(s)||Erma Dean (1944–2007, his death)|
Lon Leonard "Lonny" Chapman (October 1, 1920 – October 12, 2007) was an American television actor best known for his numerous guest star appearances on drama series, such as Storefront Lawyers, Quincy, M.E., The A-Team, Murder, She Wrote, Matlock, and NYPD Blue. He played "Ernie the plumber" in the 1954 movie, Young at Heart, starring Doris Day and Frank Sinatra,
He also appeared as a guest star on the CBS adventure/drama Harbourmaster, starring Barry Sullivan, and on the same network's anthology series The Lloyd Bridges Show. He guest starred too in several episodes of NBC's McCloud, which starred his long-time friend Dennis Weaver, whom Chapman had originally urged to go into show business. He also appeared in three episodes of Gunsmoke and appeared in such series as The Rifleman, The Everglades, Decoy and Dundee and the Culhane. In 1964 he appeared on Perry Mason as murderer Jack Talley in "The Case of the Tandem Target". In 1966, Chapman appeared in the episode "Lone Woman" of The Road West. In 1977, he appeared in the episode "The Waterhole" on The Oregon Trail and in 1979 in the episode "Now You see Her..." on The Eddie Capra Mysteries.
Chapman was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but lived thereafter in Joplin, Missouri. He graduated from Joplin High School and, in 1940, from Joplin Junior College, the predecessor institution of Missouri Southern. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps served in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war, Chapman graduated from the University of Oklahoma at Norman and then moved to New York City, where he landed the role of Turk in Come Back, Little Sheba. After moving to California, he appeared in Young at Heart (1954), East of Eden (1955), Baby Doll (1956), and The Birds (1963). He also had a starring role in the short-lived 1965 series For the People.
His other film roles included appearances in A Covenant with Death (1967), Hour of the Gun (1967), The Stalking Moon (1968), Take the Money and Run (1969), The Reivers (1969), I Walk the Line (1970), Welcome Home, Soldier Boys (1971), The Cowboys (1972), Run, Cougar, Run (1972), Where the Red Fern Grows (1974), The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976), Moving Violation (1976), The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978), Norma Rae (1979), Hanging by a Thread (1979), When Time Ran Out (1980), Running Scared (1980), Amy (1981), The Border (1982), Cave-In! (1983), 52 Pick-Up (1986), Reindeer Games (2000), and The Hunted (2003).
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In 1972, Chapman founded the Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles and was named artistic director, a title he held until his death. Under his direction, the nonprofit 99-seat theater staged more than 350 productions and at least 45 premieres of original works. He was also a playwright; his works The Buffalo Skinner and Cry of the Raindrop were both produced Off-Broadway. In the fall of 2005, Chapman was named "Outstanding Alumnus" at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.
Chapman died in an area care facility of complications from heart disease, and was survived by his wife of 63 years, Erma (née Dean), and their son, Wyley.
- Notice of death of Lonny Chapman, latimes.com, October 20, 2007; accessed May 23, 2015.
- Lonny Chapman at the Internet Movie Database