Neville Brand

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Neville Brand
Neville Brand 1966.JPG
Brand in 1966
Lawrence Neville Brand

(1920-08-13)August 13, 1920
DiedApril 16, 1992(1992-04-16) (aged 71)
Resting placeEast Lawn Memorial Park
EducationAmerican Theatre Wing
Years active1949–1985
Spouse(s)Jean Enfield (m. 19??; div. 1955)
Laura Rae Araujo (m. 1957; div. 1969)
Mae Brand (m. 19??; d. 1992)
Children3 daughters

Lawrence Neville Brand (August 13, 1920 – April 16, 1992) was an American actor.[1] His most memorable film roles were in Stalag 17 (1953), Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954), and Birdman of Alcatraz (1962). Brand was also a highly decorated World War II combat soldier.

Early life[edit]

Neville Brand was born in Griswold, Iowa, one of seven children of Leo Thomas Brand (June 24, 1892 – April 18, 1985) and the former Helen Louise Davis (August 4, 1900 – October 23, 1991). His father had worked as an electrician and bridge-building ironworker in Detroit. Neville was raised in Kewanee, Illinois, where he attended high school. After his schooling he helped support the family, employed as a soda jerk, waiter, and shoe salesman in Kewanee.

He entered the Illinois Army National Guard on October 23, 1939, as a private in Company F, 129th Infantry Regiment. He was enlisted in the United States Army as Corporal Neville L. Brand, infantryman on March 5, 1941.

World War II[edit]

Brand trained at Fort Carson and served in World War II, seeing action with B company, 331st Infantry Regiment of the 83rd Infantry Division (Thunderbolt Division) in the Ardennes, Rhineland and Central European campaigns. Brand, a sergeant and platoon leader, was wounded in action along the Weser River on April 7, 1945. His upper right arm was hit by a bullet, and he nearly bled to death.

Brand was awarded the Silver Star, the third-highest decoration for valor in the U.S. military, for gallantry in combat. His other awards and decorations were the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three Battle Stars, one Overseas Service Bar, one Service Stripe and the Combat Infantryman Badge. In a 1966 interview Brand explained the Silver Star, stating that withering fire from German machine guns in a hunting lodge kept him and his unit pinned down. "I must have flipped my lid," he said. "I decided to go into that lodge." He was discharged from service in October 1945.

Brand worked on a 1946 U.S. Army Signal Corps film with Charlton Heston and next settled in Greenwich Village and enrolled at the American Theatre Wing, working off-Broadway, including Jean-Paul Sartre's The Victors. He also attended the Geller Drama School in Los Angeles on the G.I. Bill.[2]

Medals and ribbons[edit]

Silver Star Medal ribbon.svg Silver Star
Purple Heart
Army Good Conduct Medal ribbon.svg Good Conduct Medal (United States)
American Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge

Acting career[edit]

Early roles[edit]

Brand had an uncredited bit in Battleground (1949) and Port of New York (1949). His first credited part was in D.O.A. (1950) as a henchman named Chester. His hulking physique, rough-hewn, craggy-faced looks and gravelly voice led to him largely playing gangsters, Western outlaws and other screen "heavies", cops and other tough-guy roles throughout his career.

Brand was uncredited in My Foolish Heart (1949), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), and Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) but had a good role on TV in The Bigelow Theatre.

Brand's parts slowly grew bigger: Halls of Montezuma (1951), Only the Valiant (1951), The Mob (1951), and Red Mountain (1951).

On TV he did a short, Benjy (1951), and episodes of The Unexpected and Your Favorite Story. He was in Kansas City Confidential (1952), The Turning Point (1952), and, notably, Stalag 17 (1953).[3]

Brand was now much in demand as a support actor, appearing in The Charge at Feather River (1953), The Man from the Alamo (1953), and Gun Fury (1953).

Leading man[edit]

Brand moved up to leading roles with Man Crazy (1953) and then Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954). He was down the cast list for The Lone Gun (1954) but had the lead in Return from the Sea (1954).[4]

Brand had a support role in The Prodigal (1955) and The Return of Jack Slade and guest roles in Appointment with Adventure, Screen Directors Playhouse, Studio One in Hollywood, Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre, Chevron Hall of Stars, Schlitz Playhouse, General Electric Theater, The United States Steel Hour, and Stage 7.

He had lead roles in Bobby Ware Is Missing (1955) and Fury at Gunsight Pass (1956) and supported in Raw Edge (1956), and Mohawk (1956).

He had the distinction of being the first actor to portray outlaw Butch Cassidy, in the film The Three Outlaws opposite Alan Hale Jr. as the Sundance Kid. Though not the big-budget romp that the later Paul Newman–Robert Redford film was, both Brand's Cassidy and Hale's Kid were played as likable outlaws, a rare change from Brand's typecasting as a murderous psycho. He followed it with Gun Brothers (1956).

Brand became well known as a villain when he killed the character played by Elvis Presley in Love Me Tender (1956). He was in The Way to the Gold (1957), The Lonely Man (1957), The Tin Star (1957), Cry Terror! (1958), and Badman's Country (1958).[5][6]

He often had better roles on such TV shows as Climax!, Playhouse 90, Target and notably an adaptation of All the King's Men for Kraft Theatre, directed by Sidney Lumet, playing Willie Stark.

Brand was also a guest star on The Texan, Pursuit, Zane Grey Theater, and The Dupont Show of the Month (doing Body and Soul with Ben Gazzara[7]).

Al Capone[edit]

Of the hundreds of roles he played, he is probably most well known as Al Capone on the television series The Untouchables. The characterization—including in the television series pilot episode an odd broken-English pseudo-Italian accent which the American-born Capone did not have in real life - caused an outcry from the Italian American community over stereotypes. He played Capone twice on the show, in the pilot and in the double episode "The Big Train".

Brand was in Five Gates to Hell (1959), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960), The Last Sunset (1961), and The George Raft Story (1961), reprising his role as Al Capone in the latter.[8]

He guest-starred on Straightaway, Cain's Hundred, Death Valley Days, The Joey Bishop Show, Naked City, The DuPont Show of the Week, Ben Casey, Rawhide, The Lieutenant, Theatre of Stars, Arrest and Trial, Destry, Wagon Train, Suspense, Combat!, and Gunsmoke.and the Virginian

He also portrayed a prison guard of Birdman of Alcatraz, was second billed in Hero's Island (1962) and had a key role in That Darn Cat! (1965).

Brand co-starred with George Takei in "The Encounter", an episode of the original Twilight Zone series. Brand, a genuine decorated veteran, portrays a phony war hero, a coward who obtained his prize trophy (a Japanese soldier's sword) by murdering a Japanese officer after he had surrendered.


Brand was given the star role in a TV series, Laredo (1965–67) which ran for 56 episodes.[9]

Brand played a heartwarming character who was brain damaged and misunderstood in an episode of the television series Daniel Boone. He guest-starred on Tarzan.

He was in The Desperados (1969) and played U.S. Navy Lieutenant Kaminsky, ignored as he tried to warn his commander of the opening skirmish in Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970).


In the 1970s Brand could be seen in Westward the Wagon (1971), Lock, Stock and Barrel (1971), The Chicago Teddy Bears, Marriage: Year One, and The Smith Family. He played Hoss Cartwright's (Dan Blocker) Swedish uncle Gunnar Borgstrom on Bonanza in the episode "The Last Viking".

He was in Longstreet, Alias Smith and Jones, Adventures of Nick Carter, Marcus Welby, M.D., Two for the Money (1972), No Place to Run (1972), The Police Connection (1972), This Is a Hijack (1973), Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973) with John Wayne, Scalawag (1973), The Magician, The Deadly Trackers (1973) with Richard Harris, Killdozer (1974), Death Stalk (1975), Police Story, Police Woman, Barbary Coast, Kojak, Mobile One, McCloud, Psychic Killer (1975), Island of Adventure, The Quest, and Captains and the Kings.

In 1975 Brand did an interview where he admitted to being an alcoholic and having spent most of his fortune.[10]

Brand was top billed in Eaten Alive (1976) directed by Tobe Hooper. He was in Fire! (1977), The Mouse and His Child (1977), Baretta, Captains Courageous, Man from Atlantis, Quincy M.E., The Seekers and Hi-Riders (1978). He had a key part in Five Days from Home (1978) directed by George Peppard, and in Angels' Brigade (1979).


In 1980, Brand appeared as Major Marvin Groper in The Ninth Configuration, written and directed by The Exorcist author William Peter Blatty.

His final roles included Fantasy Island, Without Warning (1980), Harper Valley P.T.A., and The Return (1982). He was top billed in his last film, Evils of the Night (1985).

Personal life[edit]

Brand was an insatiable reader who amassed a collection of 30,000 books over the years, many of which were destroyed in a 1978 fire at his Malibu home.[11] He and his wife, Rae, had three daughters.[12]

A Republican, he supported the campaign of Dwight Eisenhower during the 1952 presidential election.[13]


Brand died from emphysema at Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, California, on April 16, 1992, at age 71.[14] After a private funeral service[15] he was cremated, and his remains were interred in a niche of the Morning Glory Room at East Lawn Memorial Park in Sacramento.[16]

Selected filmography[edit]



  • Stage 7 - episode - "Armed" (1955) as Maj. Stevens
  • The Scarface Mob - television movie (1959) as Al Capone
  • The Untouchables - episode - Pilot (1959-1961) as Al Capone
  • Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse - episodes - "The Untouchables: Parts 1 & 2" (1959) as Al Capone
  • Bonanza (1960-1971, three episodes) as Gunnar Borgstrom / Pepper Shannon / Doyle
  • Rawhide - episode - "Incident of the Devil and His Due" (1960) as Gaff
  • Straightaway - episode - "The Tin Caesar" (1961) as Sheriff Bardeen
  • Death Valley Days - episode - "Preacher with a Past" (1962) as John Wesley Hardin
  • Ben Casey - episode - "Will Everyone Who Believes in Terry Dunne Please Applaud" (1963) as Terry Dunne
  • The Lieutenant - episode - "The Two Star Giant" (1963) as General Stone
  • Rawhide - episode - "Incident of the Red Wind" (1963) as Lou Bowdark
  • Wagon Train (1964) as Zebedee Titus / Sheriff Frank Lewis aka Jed Whitmore
  • Destry - episode - "The Solid Gold Girl" (1964) as Johnny Washburn
  • The Twilight Zone - episode - "The Encounter" (1964) as Fenton
  • Combat! - episode - "Fly Away Home" (1964) as Sergeant Keeley
  • Gunsmoke - episode - "Kioga" (1965) as Jayce McCaw
  • The Virginian (1965-1970) as Sheriff Wintle / Reese Bennett
  • Laredo (1965-1967) as Reese Bennett
  • Daniel Boone - episode - "Tanner" (1967) as Tanner
  • Tarzan - episode - "Alex the Great" (1968) as Alex Spence
  • Alias Smith and Jones (1971-1972) as Chuck Gorman / Sam Bacon
  • Marcus Welby, M.D. - episode - "Don't Talk About Darkness" (1972) as Kenny Carpenter
  • Longstreet - episode - "Survival Times Two" (1972) as La Brien
  • McCloud (1972-1975) as Burl Connors / Det. Lt. Roy Mackie / Fred Schultke
  • The Magician - episode - "Lighting on a Dry Day" (1973) as Sheriff Platt
  • Kojak - episode - "Sweeter Than Life" (1975) as Sonny South
  • Police Story - episode - "War Games" (1975) as Norman Schoeler
  • Police Woman - episode - "The Loner" (1975) as Briscoe
  • Swiss Family Robinson - episode - "Jean LaFitte: Part 1" (1976) as Gambi
  • Captains and the Kings (1976) as O'Herlihy
  • Captains Courageous (1977) as Little Penn
  • The Eddie Capra Mysteries - episode - "Murder Plays a Dead Hand" (1979) as Frankie Dallas
  • Quincy, M.E. - episode - "Dark Angel" (1979) as Police Officer Tommy Bates
  • Fantasy Island - episode - "Nona/One Million B.C." (1980) as Lucus


  1. ^ Twilight Zone Encyclopedia
  2. ^ Neville Brand; Tough-Guy Actor, Decorated War Hero Los Angeles Times 18 Apr 1992: VYA18.
  3. ^ Neville Brand Signed for 'Kansas City 117' Los Angeles Times 8 June 1952: E3.
  4. ^ Sperling Aims Yordan Tale at Brando; Neville Brand Again Will Star Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 15 Sep 1953: B7.
  5. ^ MOVIELAND EVENTS: Neville Brand to Star With Montgomery Los Angeles Times 15 Oct 1957: A9.
  6. ^ Drama: James Arness Will Star in Rome; Neville Brand to Menace Jack Palance Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 20 Mar 1956: A7.
  7. ^ 'BODY AND SOUL' ADEQUATE PUNCH Page, Don. Los Angeles Times 29 Sep 1959: A9.
  8. ^ Gordon Kay Slates Huffaker 'Posse': Los Angeles Times 12 May 1960: C9.
  9. ^ "Niche for Neville? Try and Find One," Los Angeles Times 30 Nov 1965: c20.
  10. ^ Neville Brand's 5-Year Lost Weekend: New Spring in His Step Stingley, Jim. Los Angeles Times 9 Mar 1975: s26.
  11. ^ John Carradine, Neville Brand Rescued in 2 Southland Blazes Los Angeles Times 9 Dec 1978: A36.
  12. ^ Lambert, Bruce (April 19, 1992). "Neville Brand, 71, Craggy Actor Known for Many Roles as Villains". The New York Times. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  13. ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 34, Ideal Publishers
  14. ^ "Death takes tough-guy actor Neville Brand, 71". The Bulletin. April 19, 1992. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  15. ^ "Private Service Planned for Neville Brand". The Los Angeles Times. April 19, 1992. p. 13.
  16. ^ "Capital's Elite Address Residents Treasure "Fabulous Forties"". The Sacramento Bee. August 8, 1993. p. B1.


  • Hannsberry, Karen Burroughs. Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2003.
  • Horner, William R. Bad at the Bijou. Jefferson NC: McFarland, 1982.
  • Wise, James E., Jr. and Paul W. Wilderson III. Stars in Khaki. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2000.

External links[edit]