Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Thoughts on the passing of Norman Lloyd

Norman Lloyd about to fall off the Statue of Liberty in Saboteur (1942)

By now, fans of old movies have probably heard about the death of actor Norman Lloyd, whos long career started on the stage in the late 1930s and continued through movies, TV, public appearances, and even small roles as he was pushing 100. I first mentioned Lloyd's birthday in November 2012 when he turned a sprightly 98, not knowing that he was going to live another 8-1/2 years. Lloyd was 106.

I began thinking about people whose careers began as adults in that era who might still be with us; unsurprisingly, there aren't many. Angela Lansbury started at 18 in Gaslight playing an adult role, as the maid Charles Boyer brings in. Ann Blyth is about the same age, but her breakout role as Veda Pierce in Mildred Pierce isn't quite an adult role. There's also Marsha Hunt, who's 103 now; she was the female lead in Kid Glove Killer opposite Van Heflin. It's a really fun little movie, one of the best of the MGM B's. There's also Jacqueline White, who was in bit parts at MGM before RKO put her in two classics, Crossfire and her final film, The Narrow Margin; she's 98.

Obviously, there are several more child actors from that era still with us. Dean Stockwell turned 85 in March; Dwayne Hickman turns 87 next week, and Dwayne's older brother Darryl, who famously drowns in Leave Her to Heaven, will be 90 in the summer. Among the girl stars, Jane Withers, who steals the show from Shirley Temple in Bright Eyes if you ask me, turned 95 last month.

I think Saboteur is my favorite of the movies I've seen Norman Lloyd in, although The Southerner is also interesting. Lloyd has a small role in John Garfield's final film, He Ran All the Way, which is definitely worth a watch. I haven't seen any news of a programming salute to Lloyd, but of course, TCM's web-site redesign cut out a lot of such things. I can't imagine them not doing a salute to Lloyd at some point considering he did an extended interview with Ben Mankiewicz at the 2015 (I think) TCM Film Festival.

1 comment:

Birgit said...

I think it ghastly that no entertainment news industry discussed his passing. So much has changed in the last years where reality "stars" get more coverage than people who are talented. I always like Norman Lloyd whom I first saw in the Hitchcock film but loved him in St. Elsewhere. I hope TCM will do something for him.