Lloyd Nolan - Rotten Tomatoes

Lloyd Nolan

Highest Rated:   100% A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
Lowest Rated:   35% Earthquake (1974)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   San Francisco, California, USA
The son of a San Francisco shoe factory owner, American actor Lloyd Nolan made it clear early on that he had no intention of entering the family business. Nolan developed an interest in acting while in college, at the expense of his education -- it took him five years to get through Santa Clara College, and he flunked out of Stanford, all because of time spent in amateur theatricals. Attempting a "joe job" on a freighter, Nolan gave it up when the freighter burned to the waterline. In 1927, he began studying at the Pasadena Playhouse, living on the inheritance left him by his father. Stock company work followed, and in 1933 Nolan scored a Broadway hit as vengeful small-town dentist Biff Grimes in One Sunday Afternoon (a role played in three film versions by Gary Cooper, James Cagney, and Dennis Morgan, respectively -- but never by Nolan). Nolan's first film was Stolen Harmony (1935); his breezy urban manner and Gaelic charm saved the actor from being confined to the bad guy parts he played so well, and by 1940 Nolan was, if not a star, certainly one of Hollywood's most versatile second-echelon leading men. As film historian William K. Everson has pointed out, the secret to Nolan's success was his integrity -- the audience respected his characters, even when he was the most cold-blooded of villains. The closest Nolan got to film stardom was a series of B detective films made at 20th Century-Fox from 1940 to 1942, in which he played private eye Michael Shayne -- a "hard-boiled dick" character long before Humphrey Bogart popularized this type as Sam Spade. Nolan was willing to tackle any sort of acting, from movies to stage to radio, and ultimately television, where he starred as detective Martin Kane in 1951; later TV stints would include a season as an IRS investigator in the syndicated Special Agent 7 (1958), and three years as grumpy-growley Dr. Chegley on the Diahann Carroll sitcom Julia (1969-1971). In 1953, Nolan originated the role of the paranoid Captain Queeg in the Broadway play The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, wherein he'd emerge from a pleasant backstage nap to play some of the most gut-wrenching "character deterioration" scenes ever written. Never your typical Hollywood celebrity, Nolan publicly acknowledged that he and his wife had an autistic son, proudly proclaiming each bit of intellectual or social progress the boy would make -- this at a time when many image-conscious movie star-parents barely admitted even having children, normal or otherwise. Well liked by his peers, Nolan was famous (in an affectionate manner) for having a photographic memory for lines but an appallingly bad attention span in real life; at times he was unable to give directions to his own home, and when he did so the directions might be three different things to three different people. A thorough professional to the last, Nolan continued acting in sizeable roles into the 1980s; he was terrific as Maureen O'Sullivan's irascible stage-star husband in Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters (1986). Lloyd Nolan's last performance was as an aging soap opera star on an episode of the TV series Murder She Wrote; star Angela Lansbury, fiercely protective of an old friend and grand trouper, saw to it that Nolan's twilight-years reliance upon cue cards was cleverly written into the plot line of the episode.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
89% Somewhere in the Night
  • Lt. Donald Kendall
2003
93% Hannah and Her Sisters
  • Hannah's father
1986
No Score Yet Prince Jack
  • Joe Kennedy
1985
No Score Yet It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover
  • Attorney General Stone
1978
No Score Yet My Boys Are Good Boys
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet Fire!
  • Doc Bennett
1977
No Score Yet Galyon
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet The Abduction of Saint Anne
  • Carl Gentry
1975
35% Earthquake
  • Dr. Vance
1974
80% Airport
  • Harry Standish
1970
36% Ice Station Zebra
  • Garvey
1968
No Score Yet Sergeant Ryker
  • Gen. Amos Bailey
1968
No Score Yet The Double Man
  • Bill Edwards
1967
No Score Yet An American Dream
  • Actor
1966
No Score Yet Never Too Late
  • Mayor Crane
1965
40% Circus World
  • Cap Carson
1964
No Score Yet The Girl Hunters
  • Federal Agent Arthur Rickerby
1963
No Score Yet Susan Slade
  • Roger Slade
1961
No Score Yet Portrait in Black
  • Matthew Cabot
1960
60% Peyton Place
  • Dr. Matthew Swain
1957
No Score Yet A Hatful of Rain
  • John Pope
1957
No Score Yet Seven Waves Away (Abandon Ship!) (Seven Days from Now)
  • Frank Kelly
1957
No Score Yet Toward the Unknown
  • Brig. Gen. Bill Banner
1956
83% Last Hunt
  • Woodfoot
1956
No Score Yet Island in the Sky
  • Stutz
1953
No Score Yet The Lemon Drop Kid
  • Charlie
1951
No Score Yet Bad Boy
  • Marshall Brown
1949
No Score Yet Easy Living
  • Lenahan
1949
No Score Yet The Sun Comes Up
  • Thomas I. Chandler
1949
No Score Yet The Street with No Name
  • Inspector Briggs
1948
No Score Yet Green Grass of Wyoming
  • Rob McLaughlin
1948
No Score Yet Wild Harvest
  • Kink
1947
60% Lady in the Lake
  • Lt. DeGarmot
1947
No Score Yet Santa Fe Uprising
  • Actor
1946
50% The House on 92nd Street
  • Inspector George A. Briggs
1945
100% A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • McShane
1945
No Score Yet Guadalcanal Diary
  • Sgt. Hook Malone
1943
No Score Yet Bataan
  • Cpl. Barney Todd
1943
No Score Yet Time to Kill
  • Michael Shayne
1942
No Score Yet Apache Trail
  • Trigger Bill Folliard
1942
No Score Yet The Man Who Wouldn't Die
  • Michael Shayne
1942
No Score Yet Blue, White and Perfect
  • Michael Shayne
1942
No Score Yet Blues in the Night
  • Del Davis
1941
No Score Yet Dressed to Kill
  • Michael Shayne
1941
No Score Yet Johnny Apollo
  • Mickey Dwyer
1940
No Score Yet Sleepers West
  • Michael Shayne
1940
No Score Yet The House Across the Bay
  • Slant Kolma
1940
No Score Yet Michael Shayne, Private Detective
  • Michael Shayne
1940
No Score Yet Ebb Tide
  • Attwater
1937
No Score Yet Exclusive
  • Charles Gillette
1937
No Score Yet Internes Can't Take Money (You Can't Take Money)
  • Hanlon
1937
No Score Yet Every Day's a Holiday
  • Honest John Quade
1937
No Score Yet The Texas Rangers
  • Sam 'Polka Dot' McGee
1936
No Score Yet Big Brown Eyes
  • Russ Cortig
1936
No Score Yet She Couldn't Take It (Woman Tamer)
  • Tex
1935
No Score Yet G-Men
  • Hugh Farrell
1935

Quotes from Lloyd Nolan's Characters