Norman Fell

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Norman Fell
Fell in 1970
Norman Noah Feld

(1924-03-24)March 24, 1924
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedDecember 14, 1998(1998-12-14) (aged 74)
Alma materTemple University
Years active1955–1998
TelevisionThree's Company
Dolores Pikoos
(m. 1951; div. 1954)
Diane Weiss
(m. 1961; div. 1973)
Karen Weingard
(m. 1975; div. 1995)

Norman Fell (born Norman Noah Feld; March 24, 1924 – December 14, 1998) was an American actor of film and television, most famous for his role as landlord Mr. Roper on the sitcom Three's Company and its spin-off, The Ropers, and his film roles in Ocean's 11 (1960), The Graduate (1967), and Bullitt (1968). Early in his career, he was billed as Norman Feld.[1]

Early life[edit]

Fell was born on March 24, 1924, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Samuel and Edna Feld. His father was an Austrian Jewish immigrant, and his maternal grandparents were Russian Jews.[2] He attended Central High School of Philadelphia.[3] He studied drama at Temple University after serving as a tail gunner on a B-25 Mitchell in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.[4] He later honed his craft at The Actors Studio[5] and the Black Hills Players.[6]


Aside from Fell's best-known television work, he also played minor character roles in several films, including the original Ocean's 11 with the Rat Pack, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, PT 109 with Cliff Robertson as John F. Kennedy, Mike Nichols' The Graduate, Bullitt with Steve McQueen and Catch-22 (as Sergeant Towser). He appeared alongside Ronald Reagan in Reagan's last film, The Killers with Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager, in which Reagan portrays a villain who slaps Angie Dickinson. In 1992, he starred as a hotel owner in a comedy film titled Hexed.

On TV, Fell portrayed Mike in Joe and Mabel (1955–1956),[7]: 536  Howie Fletcher in The Tom Ewell Show (1960–1961), Meyer Meyer in 87th Precinct (1961–1962),[7]: 302  Charles Wilentz in Dan August (1970–1971),[7] Nathan Davidson in Needles and Pins (1973),[7]: 748  Bernie Solkin in Executive Suite (1976–1977),[7]: 316  Richie's father in Richie Brockelman, Private Eye (1978),[7]: 893  and Ben Cooper in Teachers Only (1982–1983).[7]: 1056 

From 1977 to 1979, Fell portrayed the main characters' landlord Stanley Roper on the hit sitcom Three's Company[7]: 1080–1081  (a role with some similarities to hard-edged, suspicious landlord Mr. McCleery in The Graduate, who was on the lookout for reasons to evict Benjamin Braddock, like Mr. Roper did with Jack Tripper). He continued the role as the co-lead with Audra Lindley playing his wife, Helen, on The Ropers,[7]: 910  a spin-off which lasted two seasons, airing from 1979 to 1980.

Fell won a Golden Globe Award for Best TV Actor in a Supporting Role in 1979 for Three's Company.[8] He was nominated for an Emmy Award for his dramatic performance as the boxing trainer of Tom Jordache (Nick Nolte) in the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man.[9] His final television appearance was a cameo as Mr. Roper on an episode of the sitcom Ellen in 1997.

Personal life[edit]

On May 21, 1950, Fell married Dolores Pikoos in Philadelphia.[10] They divorced in 1954 and Fell married and divorced two subsequent times. He had two daughters, Tracy and Mara, with his second wife and adopted a son with his third wife, Karen Weingard.[4]

Illness and death[edit]

On November 26, 1998 (Thanksgiving Day), Fell was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer) after becoming too weak to get out of bed at his Marina del Rey home.[4] He died at the Motion Picture and Television's retirement home in Woodland Hills, California on December 14, 1998, at the age of 74.[11]


Year Title Role Notes
1957 The Violators Ray
1959 Pork Chop Hill Sgt. Coleman
1960 Inherit the Wind WGN Radio Technician
The Rat Race Telephone Repairman
Ocean's 11 Peter Rheimer
1963 PT 109 Machinist Edmund Drewitch
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Detective at Grogan's Crash Site
1964 The Killers Mickey Farmer
Quick, Before it Melts George Snell
The Young Warriors Sgt. Wadley
1967 Fitzwilly Oberblatz
The Graduate Mr. McCleery
1968 Sergeant Ryker Sgt. Max Winkler Archive footage
The Secret War of Harry Frigg Capt. Stanley
The Young Runaways Mr. Donford
Bullitt Captain Baker
1969 If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium Harve Blakely
1970 Catch-22 First Sgt. Towser
The Boatniks Max
1973 The Stone Killer Lt. Les Daniels
Charley Varrick Mr. Garfinkle
1974 Airport 1975 Bill
1975 Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold Stanley Nagel
1976 Guardian of the Wilderness Doctor
1978 Rabbit Test Segoynia's Father
The End Dr. Samuel Krugman
1981 Crunch
On the Right Track The Mayor
Heartbreak High Jack McGuire
Paternity Larry
1985 Transylvania 6-5000 Mac Turner
1987 Stripped to Kill Ray
1989 C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D. Tyler
1990 You're Driving Me Crazy Doctor 'F'
1991 With Friends Like These... Narrator Direct-to-video
The Boneyard Shepard
For the Boys Sam Schiff
1992 The Naked Truth The Dentist
1993 Hexed Herschel Levine
1996 The Destiny of Marty Fine Daryl
Beach House The Landlord


Year Title Role Notes
1954 The Elgin Hour Morton Episode: "Hearts and Hollywood"
Westinghouse Studio One Juror #1 Episode: "Twelve Angry Men"
The Philco Television Playhouse Episode: "Miss Look-Alike"
Goodyear Television Playhouse Episode: "The Huntress"
1955 Joe and Mabel Mike, Harry Series regular
1956 The Alcoa Hour Marvie Episode: "Finkle's Comet"
Star Tonight Sharp Episode: "Faith and Patience"
Playwrights '56 Nick Zervas Episode: "Nick and Letty"
The United States Steel Hour Detective Episode: "Hunted"
1959 Hallmark Hall of Fame Wint Selby Episode: "Ah, Wilderness!"
1960 Johnny Staccato Bill Lentz Episode: "The Man in the Pit"
Perry Mason Caspar Pedley Episode: "The Case of the Mythical Monkeys"
The Untouchables Reiner Episode: "The Rusty Heller Story"
The Tom Ewell Show Howie Fletcher 5 episodes
1961 The Law and Mr. Jones Fred Cook Episode: "Lethal Weapons"
The Tab Hunter Show Emory Farnsworth Episode: "Me and My Shadow"
Peter Gunn Danny Carmichael Episode: "A Kill and a Half"
The Aquanauts Oliver Pappas Episode: "The Rainbow Adventure"
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Cole Episode: "Be It Ever So Humble"
Checkmate Shep Stryker Episode: "Hot Wind in a Cold Town"
Cain's Hundred Driscoll Episode: "Cain's Final Judgement"
1962 Sam Benedict Alex McConnell Episode: "Where There's a Will"
1961–1962 87th Precinct Det. Meyer Meyer Regular cast, 30 episodes
1963 The Eleventh Hour Lionel Episode: "Five Moments Out of Time"
The Lloyd Bridges Show Episodes: "Gym in January",
"Sheridan Square"
The Dick Powell Show Dr. Joseph Greer Episode: "The Last of the Big Spenders"
The Lieutenant Jerry Belman Episode: "Cool of the Evening"
Kraft Suspense Theatre Sgt. Max Winkler Episodes: "The Case Against Paul Ryker (1)",
"The Case Against Paul Ryker (2)"
East Side/West Side Eddie Best Episode: "Not Bad for Openers"
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Al Norman Episode: "The Dividing Wall"
1964 The Defenders George Capp Episode: "Moment of Truth"
The Hanged Man Gaylord Grebb TV-Movie
1965 Mr. Novak Barney Sanders Episode: "And Then I Wrote..."
The Trials of O'Brien Mickey the Miser Episode: "How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?"
Dr. Kildare Dr. Keith Myers
Arnold Vitnack
The Fugitive Lt. Germak
Lt. Green
Episodes: "May God Have Mercy",
"Stranger in the Mirror"
1964–1965 Ben Casey Arnold Halbert
Manny Berger
Episodes: "I'll Get on My Ice Floe and Wave Goodbye",
"Where Does the Boomerang Go?"
1966 The Wild Wild West Jeremiah Ratch Episode: "The Night of the Whirring Death"
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Mark Slate Episode: "The Moonglow Affair"
A Man Called Shenandoah Capt. Arnold Dudley Episode: "Muted Fifes, Muffled Drums"
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Eddie Carr Episode: "Dear Deductible"
Bewitched Dr. Freud Episode: "I'd Rather Twitch Than Fight"
1964–1966 Twelve O'Clock High Major Praeger Episodes: "An Act of War",
"The All-American"
1967 The Invaders Neal Taft Episode: "The Betrayed"
Ghostbreakers Lt. P.J. Hartunain TV Pilot
I Spy Karin Episode: "The Medarra Block"
Mannix Daniel Brewer Episode: "Coffin for a Clown"
1968 That Girl Bernie Perperni Episode: "Sixty-Five on the Aisle"
Judd, for the Defense Harry Green Episode: "The Sound of the Plastic Axe"
1969 The Name of the Game Winston Polk Episode: "A Hard Case of the Blues"
Three's a Crowd Norman, the Elevator Operator TV-Movie
1965–1969 The F.B.I. Ted Cullinan
Ken Haney
Victor Green
Episodes: "All the Streets Are Silent",
"The Mercenary",
"The Catalyst"
1967–1969 Ironside Capt. Lauren
Lt. Haines
Episode: "An Inside Job",
"Seeing Is Believing"
1970 Double Jeopardy Sgt. Charles Wilentz TV-Movie
1971 The Partridge Family Mr. Bruner Episode: "The Undergraduate"
1970–1971 Dan August Sgt. Charles Wilentz
1972 O'Hara, U.S. Treasury Leo Walsh Episode: "Operation – Smokescreen"
The Heist Pat Dillon TV-Movie
McCloud Lt. Ed Feldman Episode: "The Park Avenue Rustlers"
1969–1972 Love, American Style Segments: "Love and the Good Deal",
"Love and the Clinic"
1973 Marcus Welby, M.D. Episode: "Catch a Ring That Isn't There"
Going Places Mr. Shaw TV-Movie
Needles and Pins Nathan Davidson Regular cast, 14 episodes
Griff Episode: "Hammerlock"
1974 Medical Center Frank Episode: "The World's Balloon"
Thursday's Game Melvin Leonard TV-Movie
1975 Death Stalk Frank Cody TV-Movie
McMillan & Wife Allan Kovacs Episode: "Love, Honor and Swindle"
Lucas Tanner Abe Lydecker Episode: "The Noise of a Quiet Weekend"
Rhoda Dr. Henry Gerber Episodes: "Chest Pains",
"Ida's Doctor"
Cannon Police Lieutenant Episode: "The Games Children Play"
Starsky & Hutch Sammy Grovner Episode: "Shootout"
1976 Rich Man, Poor Man Smitty Mini-Series
Emmy Award (nominated)
Ellery Queen Errol Keyes Episode: "The Adventure of the Tyrant of Tin Pan Alley"
Risko Max Unsold TV-Pilot
The Bionic Woman Milt Bigelow Episode: "In This Corner, Jaime Sommers"
The Streets of San Francisco Juror Episodes: "The Thrill Killers (1)",
"The Thrill Killers (2)"
Richie Brockelman: The Missing 24 Hours Mr. Brockelman TV-Movie
Switch Episode: "Gaffing the Skim"
Executive Suite Bernie Episode: "Re-The Sounds of Silence"
1977 The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams Episode: "The Redemption of Ben"
Charlie's Angels Sammy Episode: "Angels in Paradise"
1974–1977 Police Story Sgt. Dell
Lieutenant Alfred Thornwood
Episodes: "Wolf",
"One of Our Cops is Crazy"
1978 The Love Boat Mr. McCoy, Julie's Father Episode: "Julie's Dilemma/Who's Who/Rocky"
1979 Roots: The Next Generations Bernie Raymond Mini-Series
1980 Getting There Jim TV-Movie
This Year's Blonde Pat Toledo TV-Movie
For the Love of It Hall TV-Movie
1976–1981 Three's Company Stanley Roper Golden Globe Award (won)
1979–1980 The Ropers Stanley Roper
1982 Teachers Only Ben Cooper
Matt Houston Herman Episode: "Joey's Here"
1983 Uncommon Valor Garvin TV-Movie
1984 The Jesse Owens Story Marty Forkins TV-Movie
1985 Simon & Simon Leo Nyquist Episode: "Facets"
1986 Webster Charlie Episode: "Almost Home"
The Twilight Zone Eddie O'Hara Episode: "The Convict's Piano"
1985–1986 Crazy Like a Fox Episodes: "Some Day My Prints Will Come",
"A Fox at the Races"
1987 Magnum, P.I. David Albertson Episode: "Solo Flight"
Matlock Dr. Norman Radburn Episode: "The Doctors"
Out of This World Dr. Hauser Episode: "The Nightmare"
Sledge Hammer! Episode: "They Call Me Mr. Trunk"
1985–1988 Murder, She Wrote Vince Shackman
Lt. Rupp
Episodes: "Dead Heat",
"Just Another Fish Story"
1989 The Boys Dave
Hooperman Pete Cosgrove, Ventriloquist Episode: "Dog Day Afternoon, Morning and Night"
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! Fred Van Winkle
Ted Bull
Episodes: "Fred Van Winkle",
"Texas Tea"
1990 Good Grief Slezar Episode: "The Good, the Bad and the Mariachis"
1993 Flying Blind Employer #2 Episode: "Panic in Neil's Park"
1994 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air The Landlord Episode: "What's Will Got to Do With It?"
1995 Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare Grandpa Joe Dooley TV-Movie
1996 The Naked Truth Himself Episode: "Bully for Dave"
1997 Ellen Mr. Roper Episode: "Roommates"


  1. ^ Norman Feld Internet Broadway Database.
  2. ^ "Family Search". FamilySearch.
  3. ^ "Singers Ask for City Base". The Philadelphia Inquirer. April 1, 1956. p. 17. Retrieved July 27, 2018 – via Open access icon
  4. ^ a b c Lipton, Michael A. (January 11, 1999). "Grouch Potato". People. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  5. ^ 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. 278. ISBN 978-0-0254-2650-4.
  6. ^ "Black Hills Players Open Season Saturday". Rapid City Journal. June 16, 1950. p. 4. Retrieved July 27, 2018 – via Open access icon
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Terrace, Vincent (January 10, 2014). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. p. 230. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  8. ^ "Golden Globe Awards for 'Norman Fell'". Golden Globe Awards. Archived from the original on July 28, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  9. ^ "Awards Search: Norman Fell". Emmys. Archived from the original on July 28, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  10. ^ "Dolores Pikoos Becomes Bride of Norman Feld". The News-Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. May 24, 1950. p. 28. Retrieved July 26, 2020 – via Open access icon
  11. ^ "TV, Movie Actor Norman Fell Dies". The Washington Post. December 16, 1998.

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