Norman Lloyd, Legend of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Dies at 106
One of the last living actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age has died. Norman Lloyd carved out a 70-year career in show business, working with filmmakers of the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and Charlie Chaplin, and later becoming a filmmaker in his own right. He worked steadily in movies and television until the very end of his life, which sadly came on Tuesday. Lloyd was 106 years old. His passing was confirmed by a friend, but no cause of death was given.
When Lloyd was born, in 1914, television did not exist and movies were only about 20 years old. (They wouldn’t have sound for another 13 years.) Born in New Jersey and raised in Brooklyn, Lloyd left college because of the Great Depression. An interest in performing grew into a full-blown career in the arts and he became one of the first actors to join Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater in New York City. He appeared in Welles’ legendary Broadway production of Julius Caesar, and later followed Welles and the Mercury company to Hollywood. When Welles’ first movie project fell apart during development, though, Lloyd decided to return to New York for work in theater and radio. By the time Welles got his next production up and running, Lloyd was gone. That movie turned out to be Citizen Kane.
Instead, Lloyd’s big break in movies came from Alfred Hitchcock, who cast Lloyd as the title character in his 1942 spy thriller, Saboteur. Lloyd’s death scene, falling from Statue of Liberty’s torch, became one of the most famous in movie history. Hitchcock cast Lloyd again in Spellbound, and later hired him as a producer and director on his Alfred Hitchcock Presents television series.
Other notable films included Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight, Joseph Losey’s M, and Dead Poets Society. In the 1980s, he became a fixture on television as one of the stars of St. Elsewhere, where he appeared as Dr. Auschlander, the hospitals’s beloved Chief of Services. He continued working in TV in the decades after St. Elsewhere ended, guest starring on shows like Murder, She Wrote, The Practice, and Modern Family. He continued appearing in films as well. Not long after he turned 100, he was cast in Judd Apatow Trainwreck.
Around the time of that performance, he gave a career-spanning interview to CBS This Morning. It shows just how sharp and funny he remained into his final years, when he became a sort of unofficial historian and keeper of Hollywood’s great past.
When Lloyd turned 100 in 2014, the city of Los Angeles proclaimed that his birthday, November 8, would be known as “Norman Lloyd Day.” You know you’ve done something right when they turn your birthday into a holiday. Indeed, Lloyd leaves behind an incredible body of work that will be remembered forever.
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