Good day to you, Miss Vickie,

Norman Lloyd Saboteur
I thought you might be interested in the following on Norman Lloyd. Your piece on Dorothy Parker recalled to me that she and Bob Benchley contributed to Hitchcock’s “Saboteur” which in turn reminded me of Norman who I’d just been reading about in connection with “St Elsewhere…”

Norman Lloyd turned 98 last November, an age at which when most would be taking it easy, that is if they were not, to be blunt, already dead! But Mr Lloyd is made of sterner, stronger stuff than that, thankfully. This intelligent, well-mannered man is still acting, still bright-minded, and an inspiration for all. When one writes of Mr Lloyd it’s difficult to know what to mention first. A producer? Yes, on his friend Hitch’s classic anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents/The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and on many more tv movies and series following. A director? Yes again. For television and theatre. And of course he was an actor from which all else stemmed.

Norman Lloyd and Gregory Peck in Spellbound 1945

Lloyd began his career acting at the magnificent Eva Le Gallienne’s Civic Repertory Theatre before joining the company of Orson Welles and John Houseman’s Mercury Theatre. He was cast by Hitchcock as Fry the titular Saboteur in that patchy but entertaining 39 Steps knock-off, enjoying a memorable death scene plummetting from the Statue of Liberty. More roles followed including one opposite lovely Jane Wyatt who would, decades later, play Katherine Auschlander wife to Lloyd’s most famous character, Dr Daniel Auschlander, of whom more in a moment.

Mercury Theater

Despite his various jobs both behind the scenes in the theatre and in front of the camera Lloyd’s career had hit the buffers by the mid-fifties as he was a victim of “grey-listing”, it was then that Hitchcock (who had long since become – and would remain – his friend) hired him as associate producer on Alfred Hitchcock Presents which brings us full circle. Lloyd continued to work in various capacities over the next two decades but it was in 1982 that he would be cast in the role for which he was best-remembered, that of Daniel Auschlander in the television drama St Elsewhere. Although the character was suffering from terminal liver cancer and meant to die early on, both he and Lloyd himself proved so popular that from the second season he became a regular and would remain so up to the famous series finale in 1988. (remember? It was the one in which it was implied the entire series was a fantasy in the mind of an autistic boy) Lloyd was extremely popular with cast and crew, not surprising when he’s known everyone who was anyone over many decades. (Eva Le Gallienne even turned up in an award-winning and memorable episode, The Women, alongside husky-voiced Brenda Vaccaro and elegantly WASPy Blythe Danner, as did another Lloyd friend the redoubtable Betty White elsewhere). So hurrah for Norman Lloyd, long may he continue!

98 Norman LLoyd

A documentary on his life: Who Is Norman Lloyd?

And, many thanks and an introduction to our friend George Kaplan – with whom you’ll be chatting soon 🙂

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  1. April 5, 2013

    What an amazing career. Now that’s the way it’s done.

    • April 5, 2013

      It’s astonishing! I think you and I know about all sorts of odd aspects of Hollywood – but one of the most nonsensical is the elevation of youth over age and experience. I know middle-aged women who have hired (young, hip, handsome) men to represent them in pitch meetings, etc. If it weren’t so rampant it would be funny, well, in the right hands it could be very funny… Ms. L!

      • April 5, 2013

        Amen, to that. The two people that were the most instrumental in helping me were in the 70 and up age bracket. Sadly my agent passed away. She was very wise to the ways and even though she had retired and was living in Hawaii, she was able to get my script to Ms. Bening. I’ll take age over beauty any day of the week.

      • April 5, 2013

        That’s it in a nutshell… Most people don’t know age is beautiful. The aged are captivating. Oh, and the stories they tell and the experiences they’ve had… And sometimes they make me cry I’m laughing so hard. Side note – don’t you love that Ms. Bening hasn’t had her face shot up with Botox?!?

      • April 5, 2013

        I’m so glad you said that. YES!! She’s a natural beauty who is allowing herself to age with grace. She’s the genuine article – self confidence that comes from within. She’s a rare bird. Anyway, it would be a crime to touch that face, I love it so. Those twinkly eyes… She’s the best.

  2. George Kaplan
    April 5, 2013

    Thank you for this, Vickie – and I forgot to mention that the first image is exactly the one I was looking for, you’re a genius 🙂
    George K xox
    P.S. You and Miss Lisa are entirely right, you wonderful ladies!

    • April 5, 2013

      Miss Lisa and I could tell you stories that would turn your hair white!

  3. George Kaplan
    April 5, 2013

    Teaser! Seeing as I’d look quite good with white hair (or not) I’d be all ears 😉

    • April 5, 2013

      I do love this – Mr. Lloyd has been married to Peggy Lloyd since 1936. He’s also a tennis fanatic and according to the NY Times:

      “Mr. Lloyd landed on the blacklist for refusing to identify alleged Communists, he was unemployed for many years, dependent on the kindness of friends like Mr. Houseman, who let the Lloyds stay at one of his homes virtually rent free. Hitchcock returned him to employability, insisting in 1957 that Mr. Lloyd be hired as a producer on his CBS series. When Mr. Lloyd speaks on camera of his blacklist experience, his voice quakes and his eyes well up.

      One of the documentary’s intriguing aspects is its subtle depiction of a man building and sustaining his image over a lifetime.”

  4. April 5, 2013

    I love Norman Lloyd, so this made my day!

    • April 5, 2013

      I’ve always found his voice to be so distinct – and probably comforting from all those years of playing a doctor.

  5. George Kaplan
    April 5, 2013

    It is wonderful isn’t it? I was so impressed with his stand against witchhunt vileness. And his long marriage is heartwarming. Sadly Peggy died quite recently, I can’t imagine how that must have been for him – well, actually, I *can* – but he’s still going strong. Inspirational’s the word! Thanks for the NY Times quotation. That’s marvellous.
    I’ve been thinking about Mr Ebert and reading a couple of tributes. Another inspiring person – in his Art and his Life. I’m going to have to take down his books from my shelves. Two thumbs up.

    • April 5, 2013

      It’s interesting how inspirations often contain the bitter and the sweet…

  6. George Kaplan
    April 5, 2013

    True, true. What it is to be Human.

  7. April 5, 2013

    Dearest V
    Thank you so much for providing a rich back story to one of my favourite (perhaps to be honest only) and wholly admired television doctor.
    St Elsewhere was a rare piece of wonder, where on television today are ethics and matters personal conscience picked over without heavy handed literalism or the preachy tone that infects so much well meaning drama today?
    That the man had such a life (and cast of friends) only make my memories fonder.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • April 5, 2013

      Today’s post is courtesy of one of your countrymen, George Kaplan… I think he lifted the name from “North by Northwest” – but I will not look a gift horse, or post, in the mouth.

      I watch less and less television, and when I do I gravitate to the notorious, “Breaking Bad”, “The Sopranos”,… anti-heroes!

      • April 5, 2013

        The Dandy didn’t have a television for nearly five years, it has now arrived along with a permanent addition to the household who uses it almost exclusively to watch women’s tennis.
        It is a strange world.
        Generally I prefer the radio.

      • April 5, 2013

        The most brilliant thing that came out of my recent kitchen remodel (and it was not my idea and I have to admit I did a lot of eye rolling at the thought) was the installation of a sound system with speakers in the ceiling. Orchestras while I’m cooking, interesting talks if I’m alone in the house… I love it.
        Say, when’s Wimbledon?

      • April 5, 2013

        Oh gosh we have a while yet… we are currently (well the women are) in Charleston SC, which of course is lovely as The Dandy will be there soon.
        The everything moves to Europe culminating the French Open and Wimbledon in May and June respectively.
        My I’m a quick learner…

    • George Kaplan
      April 5, 2013

      Mr Dandy, re. St Elsewhere so true. Today much US network tv has returned to being a vast wasteland and the less said about British narrative television the better, frankly. As Ms L suggests the better stuff has tended to be on cable recently bit even some of that is blah. Yay! For Breaking Bad, maybe Mad Men. However, with The Sopranos I just wanted most of them to get blown up, excepting maybe Meadow. Gimme The Wire Seasons 1 and 4 but boy that got depressing! Oops. Rambling. Anyone recall Homicide Life On The Street or Hill Street Blues?!

  8. George Kaplan
    April 6, 2013

    One more thing… Regarding actresses who grow older gracefully. I would mention Juliette Binoche. She’s an excellent actress who was always praised for her loveliness when younger (Roger Ebert hymned her “beauty and innocence”. Thanks, IMDB!) but to my mind she has become more gorgeous in recent years than she ever was, because now her face has mature and lovely *character*. She has, I learn, just turned forty-nine (not quite a month ago) and she *glows*. No fillers, collagen, botox. Just self-possessed *Woman*. What thinking, feeling man wouldn’t find that attractive? Ahem.

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