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1966 publicity photo
|Born||Lawrence Neville Brand
August 13, 1920
Griswold, Iowa, U.S.
|Died||April 16, 1992
Sacramento, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Emphysema|
|Resting place||East Lawn Memorial Park in Sacramento, California, U.S.|
|Spouse(s)||Rae Brand (m. 1957–92)|
Neville Brand was born in Griswold, Iowa, to Leo Thomas Brand (June 24, 1892–April 18, 1985) and the former Helen Louise Davis (August 4, 1900–October 23, 1991) as one of seven children. His father had worked as an electrician and bridge-building steelworker 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
He 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 he 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.
He 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.
Brand started his big-screen career in D.O.A. (1950) as a henchman named Chester. His hulking physique, rough-hewn, craggy-faced looks and gravelly voice lead to him largely playing gangsters, Western outlaws and other screen "heavies," cops and other tough-guy roles throughout his career. He became well known as a villain when he killed the character played by Elvis Presley in Love Me Tender. He had the distinction of being the first actor to portray outlaw Butch Cassidy, in the film 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.
However, Brand was occasionally cast against type, playing a romantic lead in the movie Return from the Sea with Jan Sterling and a heartwarming character who was brain damaged and misunderstood in an episode of the TV show Daniel Boone. He played Hoss Cartwright’s (Dan Blocker) Swedish uncle Gunnar Borgstrom on Bonanza in the episode “The Last Viking.” He also played U.S. Navy Lieutenant Kaminsky, ignored as he tried to warn his commander of the opening skirmish in Tora! Tora! Tora!.
Of the hundreds of roles he played, he is probably most well known as Al Capone in the TV show The Untouchables and again in the movie The George Raft Story. The characterization -- including in the TV show's 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 also portrayed a prison guard of Birdman of Alcatraz and as the antagonistic and untrusting, yet dedicated POW, Duke, in Stalag 17. In 1980 Brand appeared as Major Marvin Groper in The Ninth Configuration, written and directed by The Exorcist author William Peter Blatty.
Brand was also known for his roles in Westerns; he appeared in numerous Westerns throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, including The Tin Star with Henry Fonda and Anthony Perkins, The Desperados with Jack Palance, and The Deadly Trackers with Richard Harris. On television, he appeared in The Virginian and then went on to star as Reese Bennet in the series Laredo. 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 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.
Brand died from emphysema at Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, California, on April 16, 1992 at age 71. After a private funeral service, Brand was cremated, and his remains are interred in a niche of the Morning Glory Room at East Lawn Memorial Park in Sacramento. Brand was survived by his wife, Rae, and three daughters.
- D.O.A. (1950)
- Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)
- Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)
- Halls of Montezuma (1951)
- Only the Valiant (1951)
- The Mob (1951)
- Kansas City Confidential (1952)
- The Turning Point (1952)
- Stalag 17 - Duke (1953)
- Gun Fury (1953)
- The Charge at Feather River (1953)
- The Man from the Alamo (1953)
- The Lone Gun (1954)
- Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954)
- Return from the Sea (1954)
- The Prodigal (1955)
- Fury at Gunsight Pass (1956)
- Mohawk (1956)
- Three Outlaws - as Butch Cassidy (1956)
- Love Me Tender (1956)
- The Tin Star (1957)
- Badman's Country (1958)
- Cry Terror! (1958)
- Five Gates to Hell (1959)
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960)
- The Last Sunset (1961)
- The George Raft Story - as Al Capone (1961)
- Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)
- Hero's Island (1962)
- That Darn Cat! (1965)
- Three Guns for Texas (1968)
- Backtrack (1969)
- The Desperados (1969) - Marshal Kilpatrick
- Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) - Lieutenant Kaminsky
- Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973)
- The Deadly Trackers (1973)
- The Mad Bomber (1973)
- This Is a Hijack (1973)
- Scalawag (1973)
- Killdozer! (1974) (TV)
- Psychic Killer (1975)
- Eaten Alive (1977)
- Fire! (1977) (TV)
- Hi-Riders (1978)
- The Seekers (1979) (TV) - Capt. Isaac Drew
- Five Days from Home (1979) - Inspector Markley
- Angels' Brigade (1979) - Miller
- The Ninth Configuration (1980) - Maj. Marvin Groper
- Without Warning (1980) - Leo
- The Return (1980) - Walt
- Evils of the Night (1985) - Kurt (Last appearance)
- Stage 7 - episode - "Armed" - Maj. Stevens (1955)
- The Scarface Mob - TV Movie - Al Capone (1959)
- The Untouchables - episode - Pilot - Al Capone (1959)
- Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse - episodes - "The Untouchables: Parts 1 & 2" - Al Capone (1959)
- Bonanza - episode - "The Last Viking" - Gunnar Borgstrom (1960)
- Rawhide - episode - "Incident of the Devil and His Due" - Gaff (1960)
- The Untouchables - episode - "The Big Train: Parts 1 & 2" - Al Capone (1961)
- Death Valley Days - episode - "Preacher with a Past" - John Wesley Hardin (1962)
- Ben Casey - episode - "Will Everyone Who Believes in Terry Dunne Please Applaud" - Terry Dunne (1963)
- The Lieutenant - episode - "The Two Star Giant" - General Stone (1963)
- Rawhide - episode - "Incident of the Red Wind" - Lou Bowdark (1963)
- Wagon Train - episode - "The Zebedee Titus Story" - Zebedee Titus (1964)
- Destry - episode - "The Solid Gold Girl" - Johnny Washburn (1964)
- The Twilight Zone - episode - "The Encounter" - Fenton (1964)
- Wagon Train - episode - "The Jed Whitmore Story" - Sheriff Frank Lewis aka Jed Whitmore (1964)
- Combat! - episode - "Fly Away Home" - Sergeant Keeley (1964)
- Gunsmoke - episode - "Kioga" - Jayce McCaw (1965)
- The Virginian - episode - "We've Lost a Train" - Reese Bennett (1965)
- Laredo - 56 episodes - Reese Bennett (1965-1967)
- Daniel Boone - episode - "Tanner" - Tanner (1967)
- Bonanza - episode - "The Luck of Pepper Shannon" - Pepper Shannon (1970)
- The Virginian - episode - "Gun Quest" - Sheriff Wintle (1970)
- Alias Smith and Jones - episode - "Shootout at Diablo Station" - Chuck Gorman (1971)
- Bonanza - episode - "The Rattlesnake Brigade" - Doyle (1971)
- Alias Smith and Jones - episode - "Which Way to the O.K. Corral?" - Sam Bacon (1972)
- Marcus Welby, M.D. - episode - "Don't Talk About Darkness" - Kenny Carpenter (1972)
- Longstreet - episode - "Survival Times Two" - La Brien (1972)
- McCloud - episode - "Fifth Man in a Strong Quartet" - Fred Schultke (1972)
- McCloud - episode - "The Solid Gold Swingers" - Lt. Roy Mackie (1973)
- The Magician - episode - "Lighting on a Dry Day" - Sheriff Platt (1973)
- Kojak - episode - "Sweeter Than Life" - Sonny South (1975)
- McCloud- episode - "Three Guns for New York" - Burl Connors (1975)
- Police Story - episode - "War Games" - Norman Schoeler (1975)
- Police Woman - episode - "The Loner" - Briscoe (1975)
- Swiss Family Robinson - episode - "Jean LaFitte: Part 1" - Gambi (1976)
- Captains and the Kings - O'Herlihy (1976)
- The Eddie Capra Mysteries - episode - "Murder Plays a Dead Hand" - Frankie Dallas (1979)
- Quincy, M.E. - episode - "Dark Angel" - Police Officer Tommy Bates (1979)
- Fantasy Island - episode - "Nona/One Million B.C." - Lucus (1980)
- "Death takes tough-guy actor Neville Brand, 71". The Bulletin. April 19, 1992. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
- "Private Service Planned for Neville Brand". The Los Angeles Times. April 19, 1992. p. 13.
- "Capital's Elite Address Residents Treasure "Fabulous Forties"". The Sacramento Bee. August 8, 1993. p. B1.
- Lambert, Bruce (April 19, 1992). "Neville Brand, 71, Craggy Actor Known for Many Roles as Villains". The New York Times. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
- 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.
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