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Lyle Talbot

Lyle Talbot

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Also Known As: Died: March 3, 1996
Born: February 8, 1902 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brainard, Nebraska, USA Profession: actor, manager, director, magician

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This reliable second lead played gangsters, best friends, neighbors and the occasional romantic hero in countless films and TV shows from 1932 through the 1980s. Talbot's colorful childhood was like something from a melodrama: born on a riverboat, he was abducted by his grandmother after his mother's early death. By his teen years, Talbot was a sideshow magician, and by the late 20s was running The Lyle Talbot Players in Nebraska. When talking pictures became popular, Talbot headed West. The handsome, husky actor with stage training and a broad grin quickly found work.In the two-year period 1932-34, Talbot made an amazing 28 films, mostly for Warner Brothers and First National. He supported or co-starred with such luminaries as Carole Lombard ("No More Orchids" 1932), Bette Davis ("Three on a Match" 1932, "Fog Over Frisco" 1934 and several others), Ginger Rogers ("The Thirteenth Guest" 1932, "A Shriek in the Night" 1933), Barbara Stanwyck ("The Purchase Price", 1932 "Ladies They Talk About" 1933, "A Lost Lady" 1934), Shirley Temple ("Our Little Girl" 1935), Marion Davies ("Page Miss Glory" 1935), Mae West ("Go West, Young Man" 1936), Susan Hayward ("With a Song in My Heart" 1952), and Marilyn Monroe...

This reliable second lead played gangsters, best friends, neighbors and the occasional romantic hero in countless films and TV shows from 1932 through the 1980s. Talbot's colorful childhood was like something from a melodrama: born on a riverboat, he was abducted by his grandmother after his mother's early death. By his teen years, Talbot was a sideshow magician, and by the late 20s was running The Lyle Talbot Players in Nebraska. When talking pictures became popular, Talbot headed West. The handsome, husky actor with stage training and a broad grin quickly found work.

In the two-year period 1932-34, Talbot made an amazing 28 films, mostly for Warner Brothers and First National. He supported or co-starred with such luminaries as Carole Lombard ("No More Orchids" 1932), Bette Davis ("Three on a Match" 1932, "Fog Over Frisco" 1934 and several others), Ginger Rogers ("The Thirteenth Guest" 1932, "A Shriek in the Night" 1933), Barbara Stanwyck ("The Purchase Price", 1932 "Ladies They Talk About" 1933, "A Lost Lady" 1934), Shirley Temple ("Our Little Girl" 1935), Marion Davies ("Page Miss Glory" 1935), Mae West ("Go West, Young Man" 1936), Susan Hayward ("With a Song in My Heart" 1952), and Marilyn Monroe ("There's No Business Like Show Business" 1954). Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak and Loretta Young were frequent co-stars, alternately romanced and menaced by Talbot; he even co-starred with The Three Stooges, in 1951's "Gold Raiders".

By the mid-1930s (when he became a founding member of Screen Actors Guild), it was obvious that Talbot would not become a star. His SAG involvement angered some studio heads, but the actor never wanted for employment. He freelanced for both major studios and poverty row houses, making such forgettable fare as "Trapped by Television" (1936), "Mexican Spitfire's Elephant" (1942), "Batman and Robin" (1949), and several films with the notorious director/writer Ed Wood, Jr.: "Glen or Glenda?" and "Crossroad Avenger" (both 1953), "Jailbait" (1954) and "Plan Nine from Outer Space" (1956). Among Talbot's few high-budget films at this point in his career was his last, "Sunrise at Campobello" (1960).

Talbot entered the TV industry early, playing "The Lone Ranger"'s banker on the ABC series (1949-65). He also had continuing roles as an irritating neighbor on "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" (ABC, 1952-66), Bob Cummings' Army buddy on "Love That Bob" (NBC, CBS, 1955-59) and roles on "Commando Cody" (NBC, 1955), "Leave It To Beaver" (CBS, ABC, 1957-63), "Pursuit" (CBS, 1958-59) and "Ben Jerrod" (NBC, 1963). He continued working on TV through the 1980s, guesting on such shows as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "Charlie's Angels", "Who's the Boss?" and his swan song, as Stephanie's grandfather on "Newhart".

Talbot never gave up his love of the stage, and as early as the mid-30s took time off from films to appear in shows. Talbot was on Broadway from 1938-40 in "Separate Rooms", and later appeared in regional productions of "South Pacific" and "The Odd Couple" (both 1968-69), "The Little Foxes" (1970), and "Camelot" (1973). In 1972, he directed his TV co-stars Ozzie and Harriet Nelson in "The Marriage-Go-Round" in Florida. Talbot was retired professionally, but still active socially and working on his memoirs when he died at 94 in 1996.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Sunrise at Campobello (1960) Mr. Brimmer
3.
 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) General [Roberts]
4.
 City of Fear (1959) Chief Jensen
5.
 The Hot Angel (1958) Van Richards
6.
 High School Confidential! (1958) William Remington Kane
7.
 The Notorious Mr. Monks (1958) Prosecuting attorney
8.
 The Great Man (1957) Harry Connors
9.
 Calling Homicide (1956) Tony Fuller
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1902:
Mother died when he was an infant; he was kidnapped by his grandmother, who renamed and raised him
1919:
First show business job, assisting tent show magician in Omaha
1928:
Formed Lyle Talbot Players in Nebraska
1931:
Moved to California to test for talkies
1932:
Film debut, "Love is a Racket"
1933:
Critically injured in motorcar accident
1935:
Was one of the founding members of Screen Actors Guild (membership card Number 21)
1938:
Critically burned in fire, rescuing a friend
1938:
Appeared on Broadway in "Separate Rooms"
1942:
Enlisted as non-commissioned officer
:
Played recurring roles on several TV series in the 1950s
1960:
Final feature, "Sunrise at Campobello"
1995:
Final film appearance, documentary "The Haunted World of Edward D. Wood, Jr"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

On playing character roles: "Well--it bothered me at first. I had always played leads in stock, and I couldn't understand why they didn't let me do them in pictures. Now, I don't mind anymore. I feel that I've become essentially a character actor. And as long as they keep on giving me nice meaty parts--even though they don't carry through the whole picture--I'm satisfied. As a matter of fact, I'd rather jog along this way than become one of those overnight stars whose years in pictures are numbered. I've seen too much unhappiness on this account--right here on my home lot".--Lyle Talbot, quoted in 1935 news clipping

On studio contract work in the 1930s: "They had to guarantee you a certain amount of work, but that was never a problem. We generally worked 12 hours a day, six days a week. I can remember often working on two or three pictures at a time. I rode a bicycle between sound stages, carrying two or three scripts in the front basket for pictures I was working on, and two or three in the rear basket for upcoming pictures".--Lyle Talbot, quoted in THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, 2/19/84

"I never turned down a job. Not one. Ever".--Lyle Talbot, quoted in THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, 2/19/84

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Marguerite Ethel Cramer. Married 1937, divorced 1939.
wife:
Abagail Adams. Actress, dancer. Married 1942; divorced; commited suicide 2/13/55 at age 32.
wife:
Margaret Talbot. Married 1950; fourth wife; died in early 1990s.

Family close complete family listing

grandmother:
Mary Hollywood Talbot. Kidnapped Lyle after his mother died, renamed him; maternal grandmother.
son:
Stephen Talbot. Documentary filmmaker. Survived him; producer-writer on PBS series "Frontline".
son:
David Talbot. Journalist. Survived him.
daughter:
Cynthia Talbot. Doctor. Survived him.
daughter:
Margaret Talbot. Editor. Survived him; editor at NEW REPUBLIC.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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