Good day to you, Miss Vickie,
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.
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.
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!
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 🙂