Norman Lloyd, the Emmy-nominated veteran actor, producer and director whose career ranged from The Mercury Theater, Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur and acting with Charlie Chaplin in Limelight to St. Elsewhere, Dead Poets Society and The Practice, died May 10 in his sleep at his Los Angeles home. He was 106. A family friend confirmed the news to Deadline.
During one of the famous Lloyd birthday celebrations, Karl Malden said, ”Norman Lloyd is the history of our business.”
Lloyd’s acting career dates back to Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater, of which he was the last surviving member. He was part of its first production — a modern-dress adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
He originally was cast in Welles’ epic Citizen Kane and accompanied the director to Hollywood. When the filmmaker ran into his proverbial budget problems, Lloyd quit the project and retuned to New York, later making his screen debut as the villainous spy who fell from the top of the Statue of Liberty in Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur (1942).
Lloyd himself generously offered start-up jobs to many well known filmmakers, such as Billy Friedkin.
On television, he directed most of Hitchcock’s suspense pieces — winning a Special Mention for Alfred Hitchcock Presents from the Venice Film Festival in 1985 — and starred on the NBC medical drama St. Elsewhere.
Lloyd was in his late 60s when he was cast on NBC’s St. Elsewhere as Dr. Daniel Auschlander, a veteran physician who dealt with his own liver cancer diagnosis and chemo. He was with Boston-set hospital drama for its entire six-season run from 1982-88. It wasn’t a ratings hit — never finishing in the year-end Top 30 in a three-network TV universe — but won 13 Emmys among 62 nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series in all of its seasons.
Lloyd also was one of three St. Elsewhere characters who appeared in a Cheers crossover episode, when the St. Eligius docs visited the bar where everybody knows your name. The shows debuted weeks apart on NBC.
During the 1970s, he earned Emmy nominations for the NBC adventure series The Name of the Game as a producer and telefilm Steambath as an EP.
Deadline’s Todd McCarthy wrote an appreciation of Lloyd on the occasion of the actor’s 106th birthday and receiving the Legacy Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association last year.
“With Norman at last taking his final curtain call,” McCarthy wrote, “there truly is no significant actor left who was part of the politically engaged New York theatre of the 1930s, worked with major Hollywood filmmakers whose careers stretched from the silent cinema into the 1960s, was a pioneer in television and always kept his hand in with his first love, the stage.”
Todd McCarthy: Norman Lloyd Knows From Epidemics
Lloyd’s close friend, Dean Hargrove, himself a legendary television producer, said: “Norman had a great third act, with an annual birthday party until age 105 filled with notables. He was active until the end, steeped in great stories about the early days of Hollywood and New York theater.”
Added Deadline’s Peter Bart: “Norman loved spinning stories of his encounters with Charlie Chaplin and other legendary figures with whom he interacted. I often played tennis with him until he reached 100. If he missed a shot, he would comment, “When I played with Bill Tilden, he would tell me how to improve my backhand. Feel free to do the same.’”
Lloyd led a busy social life in Hollywood — with his friends ranging from Jean Renoir to Buster Keaton to Judd Apatow, who cast him in 2013’s Trainwreck. Lloyd later complained, “I appreciated Apatow’s choice of me for his film but was upset he didn’t put me in any of the hot scenes.”
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