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Lloyd Nolan

Among his many roles, Nolan is remembered for originating the role of private investigator Michael Shayne in a series of 1940s B movies.

Lloyd Nolan

Filmography

1935      

G Men 

Stolen Harmony 

Atlantic Adventure 

She Couldn’t Take It 

One Way Ticket 

 

1936      

You May Be Next

Lady of Secrets 

Big Brown Eyes 

Devil’s Squadron 

Counterfeit 

The Texas Rangers 

15 Maiden Lane 

 

1937      

Internes Can’t Take Money 

King of Gamblers 

Exclusive 

Ebb Tide 

Every Day’s a Holiday 

Wells Fargo

 

1938      

Dangerous to Know 

Tip-Off Girls 

Hunted Men 

Prison Farm 

King of Alcatraz 

 

1939      

Ambush – Tony Andrews

St. Louis Blues

Undercover Doctor 

The Magnificent Fraud 

 

1940      

The Man Who Wouldn’t Talk 

The House Across the Bay 

Johnny Apollo 

Gangs of Chicago

The Man I Married 

Pier 13 

The Golden Fleecing 

Charter Pilot

Michael Shayne, Private Detective 

Behind the News 

 

1941      

Mr Dynamite

Sleepers West 

Dressed to Kill

Buy Me That Town 

Blues In The Night

Steel Against the Sky 

 

1942      

Blue, White and Perfect 

The Man Who Wouldn’t Die 

It Happened in Flatbush 

Just Off Broadway

Apache Trail 

Manila Calling 

Time to Kill

 

1943      

Bataan 

Don’t Be a Sucker 

Guadalcanal Diary 

 

1944

Resisting Enemy Interrogation 

 

1945      

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn 

Circumstantial Evidence 

Captain Eddie 

The House on 92nd Street 

 

1946      

Somewhere in the Night 

Two Smart People

 

1947      

Lady in the Lake 

Wild Harvest

 

1948      

Green Grass of Wyoming 

The Street with No Name 

 

1949      

The Sun Comes Up 

Bad Boy

Easy Living 

 

1951      

The Lemon Drop Kid 

 

1953      

Island in the Sky

Crazylegs 

 

1956      

The Last Hunt 

Santiago

Toward the Unknown 

 

1957

Seven Waves Away 

A Hatful of Rain

Peyton Place

 

1960      

Portrait in Black 

The Girl of the Night 

 

1961      

Susan Slade

 

1962      

We Joined the Navy 

 

1963      

The Girl Hunters

 

1964      

Circus World 

 

1965      

Never Too Late 

 

1966      

An American Dream 

 

1967      

The Double Man 

 

1968      

Sergeant Ryker 

Ice Station Zebra 

 

1970      

Airport

 

1974      

Earthquake

 

1975      

The Sky’s the Limit 

 

1977      

The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover 

 

1978      

My Boys Are Good Boys 

 

1980      

Galyon 

 

1985      

Prince Jack 

 

1986

Hannah and Her Sisters 

Awards

Lloyd Nolan was never nominated for an Academy Award.

Lloyd Benedict Nolan was born on August 11, 1902 in San Francisco, California, the son of Margaret and James Nolan, who was a shoe manufacturer. He attended Santa Clara Preparatory School and Stanford University, flunking out of Stanford as a freshman. His parents disapproved of his choice of a career in acting, preferring that he join his father’s shoe business, one of the most solvent commercial firms in San Francisco.

Nolan served in the United States Merchant Marine before joining the Dennis Players theatrical troupe in Cape Cod. He began his career on stage and was subsequently lured to Hollywood, where he played mainly doctors, private detectives, and policemen.

Nolan’s obituary in the Los Angeles Times contained the evaluation, “Nolan was to both critics and audiences the veteran actor who works often and well regardless of his material.” Although Nolan’s acting was often praised by critics, he was, for the most part, relegated to B pictures. Despite this, Nolan co-starred with a number of well-known actresses, among them Mae West, Dorothy McGuire, and former Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Gladys Swarthout. Under contract to Paramount and 20th Century Fox studios, he essayed starring roles in the late ’30s and early-to-mid ’40s and appeared as the title character in the Michael Shayne detective series. Raymond Chandler’s novel The High Window was adapted from a Philip Marlowe adventure for the seventh film in the Michael Shayne series, Time to Kill (1942); the film was remade five years later as The Brasher Doubloon, truer to Chandler’s original story, with George Montgomery as Marlowe.

Lina Basquette and Lloyd Nolan in Ebb Tide (1937)

Lina Basquette and Lloyd Nolan in Ebb Tide (1937)

Most of Nolan’s films were light entertainment with an emphasis on action. His most famous include Atlantic Adventure, costarring Nancy Carroll; Ebb Tide; Wells Fargo; Every Day’s a Holiday, starring Mae West; Bataan; and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, with Dorothy McGuire and James Dunn. He also gave a strong performance in the 1957 film Peyton Place with Lana Turner.

Nolan also contributed solid and key character parts in numerous other films. One, The House on 92nd Street, was a startling revelation to audiences in 1945. It was a conflation of several true incidents of attempted sabotage by the Nazi regime (incidents which the FBI was able to thwart during World War II), and many scenes were filmed on location in New York City, unusual at the time. Nolan portrayed FBI Agent Briggs, and actual FBI employees interacted with Nolan throughout the film; he reprised the role in a subsequent 1948 movie, The Street with No Name.

Lloyd Nolan and Claire Trevor in Fifteen Maiden Lane (1936)

Lloyd Nolan and Claire Trevor in Fifteen Maiden Lane (1936)

One of the last of his many military roles was playing an admiral at the start of what proved to be Howard Hughes’ favorite film, Ice Station Zebra.

Later in Nolan’s career, he returned to the stage and appeared on television to great acclaim in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, for which he received a 1955 Emmy award for portraying Captain Queeg, the role made famous by Humphrey Bogart. Nolan also made guest appearances on television shows, including NBC’s The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford, The Bing Crosby Show, a sitcom on ABC and the Emmy-winning NBC anthology series The Barbara Stanwyck Show.

Nolan appeared three times on NBC’s Laramie Western series, as sheriff Tully Hatch in the episode “The Star Trail (1959), as outlaw Matt Dyer in the episode “Deadly Is the Night” (1961) and then as former Union Army General George Barton in the episode “War Hero” (1962).

Nolan starred in the classic 1964 episode “Soldier” of ABC’s The Outer Limits, written by Harlan Ellison. He appeared in the NBC Western Bonanza as LaDuke, a New Orleans detective. In 1967, Strother Martin and he guest-starred in the episode “A Mighty Hunter Before the Lord” of NBC’s The Road West series, starring Barry Sullivan. Also, in 1967, Nolan was a guest star in the popular Western TV series The Virginian, in the episode “The Masquerade” and in the first episode of Mannix.

Nolan co-starred from 1968 to 1971 in the pioneering NBC series Julia, with Diahann Carroll, who was the first African American to star in her own television series.

One of his last appearances was a guest spot as himself in the 1984 episode “Cast in Steele” on the TV detective series Remington Steele.

In his later years, Nolan appeared in commercials for Polident.

Nolan and his wife, Mell, had a daughter, Melinda, and a son, Jay.

A long-time cigar and pipe smoker, Nolan died of lung cancer on September 27, 1985, at his home in Brentwood, California; he was 83. He is interred at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles, California.

 

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