The great Norman Lloyd has died at the age of 106.
You may know him as Frank Fry, the Nazi agent who falls to his death from the top of the Statue of Liberty in Hitchcock’s Saboteur. Or as Mr Nolan, the headmaster – and boo-hiss villain – in Dead Poet’s Society. Or as wise, cancer-ridden Dr Auschlander in St Elsewhere, the calm centre around which the hospital revolved.
These are just a few obvious highlights of a career that lasted from 1932 until well into this century. Lloyd was one of Orson Welles’s Mercury Players, playing Cinna the Poet in Welles’s legendary production of Caesar. He worked with Hitchcock for years in film and TV, directing many of the episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He played tennis with Charlie Chaplin and Joseph Cotten, invariably beating the former because he refused to wear his glasses and would stubbornly rush the net. He guest starred in innumerable TV series; I first saw him as Professor Galen, Captain Picard’s former archaeology teacher in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, disappointed in his pupil for abandoning what he considered his true calling to serve in Starfleet. He still worked past his hundredth birthday. He played tennis into his nineties, or perhaps into his hundreds, depending on which source you read.
This is a cliche, but Lloyd’s passing really does mark the end of an era. Who else was directed by Welles, Chaplin, Hitchcock and Judd Apatow? Who else starred with Ingrid Bergman and Amy Schumer? There will in all probability never be anyone who has a Hollywood career even remotely comparable in breadth, scope and sheer longevity to the late, wonderful Norman Lloyd. Take a bow, sir.