February 8, 1902
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||March 2, 1996 94) (aged|
(m. 1930;div. 1930)
Marguerite Ethel Cramer
(m. 1937;div. 1940)
(m. 1942;annulled 1942)
(m. 1946;div. 1947)
Lyle Florenz Talbot (born Lisle Henderson, also credited Lysle Talbot; February 8, 1902 – March 2, 1996) was an American stage, screen and television actor. His career in films spanned three decades, from 1931 to 1960, and he performed on a wide variety of television series from the early 1950s to the late 1980s. Among his notable roles on television was his portrayal of Ozzie Nelson's friend and neighbor Joe Randolph, a character he played for ten years in the ABC sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet .
Talbot began his film career under contract with Warner Bros. during the early years of the sound era. Ultimately, he appeared in more than 175 productions with various studios, first as a young matinee idol, then as the star of many B movies, and later as a character actor.He was a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild and also served on its board. His long career is recounted in the 2012 book The Entertainer: Movies, Magic and My Father's Twentieth Century by his youngest daughter Margaret Talbot, a staff writer for The New Yorker .
Lyle was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the only child of Florence May (née Talbot) and Joel Edward Henderson, both natives of Nebraska.In May 1902, just three months after Lyle's birth, Florence died at her mother's home in Brainard, Nebraska from complications attributed to typhoid fever. Lyle was then raised in Brainard by his grandmother, Mary Talbot, who legally changed her infant grandson's surname from Henderson to her own and added "Florenz" as his middle name in memory of her daughter. Later, as a teenager, Talbot moved with his grandmother to Omaha, Nebraska. There he graduated from high school before leaving home at age 17 to work as a hypnotist's assistant, part-time magician, and as an actor, entertaining audiences at traveling tent shows and in theatres across the American Midwest.
After gaining years of stage experience in his travels, Talbot in 1929 established his own theatre company, "The Talbot Players", in Memphis, Tennessee, where he hired his father and stepmother, Anna Henderson, to be among the company's roster of performers.At the end of 1931, however, Talbot decided to move to California to find more lucrative acting opportunities in motion pictures. He already had some experience, though very limited, in performing on screen, namely in small roles in a few shorts, which included a bit part as a gangster in The Nightingale (1931) and playing a police captain in The Clyde Mystery (1931). Both of those low-budget, two-reel shorts were filmed in New York City, in Brooklyn, and produced by Warner's eastern studio in affiliation with Vitaphone.
Talbot's arrival in California at the beginning of 1932 proved to be ideal timing, for Hollywood was still in the formative years of the sound era, when studios remained busy searching for potential leading actors who were not only engaging performers, but also had acceptable voices and articulate speech patterns for the early audio technologies being used and refined on film sets.Talbot evidently possessed those qualities, for his screen test at Warner Bros. went well and impressed production chief Darryl F. Zanuck. It also impressed one of the studio's top directors, William Wellman, who immediately wanted to cast the 30-year-old actor in his upcoming film Love Is a Racket . Talbot quickly accepted Zanuck's offer to join the company's growing ranks of contract players, who included the rising stars Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart. Just prior to his work in Love Is a Racket, Talbot appeared as a major supporting character, Dr. Jerome Preston, in Unholy Love , a drama produced by Warner Bros. in cooperation with Albert Ray Productions. Lyle's portrayal of "Jerry" did not go unnoticed by film industry trade publications. In its July 9, 1932 review of Unholy Love, the popular journal Motion Picture Herald encourages theater owners and prospective audiences to direct special attention on three performers in the film: "Don't overlook Beryl Mercer and Ivan Lebedeff, as well as Lyle Talbot, "whom Warner Brothers are grooming for stellar roles."
Some other notable films in which Talbot's was cast in his first years at Warner Bros. are Three on a Match (1932), 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932), College Coach (1933) with Pat O'Brien and Dick Powell, Mary Stevens, M.D. (1933), One Night of Love (1934), and Mandalay (1934).Into the mid-1930s and beyond, he continued to perform in a variety of roles, such as romancing Mae West in Go West, Young Man (1936), playing a gangster in Ladies They Talk About , and portraying an alcoholic doctor trying to kick the habit in Heat Lightning .
The handsome actor appeared opposite an array of other stars during his career, including Bette Davis, Ann Dvorak, Carole Lombard, Barbara Stanwyck, Mary Astor, Ginger Rogers, Loretta Young, Glenda Farrell, Joan Blondell, Marion Davies, and Shirley Temple. He also shared the screen with Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy and Tyrone Power. Overall, Talbot performed in over 175 films.
Early in his career at Warner Bros., Talbot took part in one of Hollywood's most extravagant and ambitious publicity junkets, barnstorming across the country with Bette Davis, cowboy star Tom Mix, comedian Joe E. Brown, boxer Jack Dempsey, and a group of other studio actors and chorus girls on "The 42nd Street Special," a train decorated in silver and gold leaf and festooned with electric lights. With stops in dozens of cities, they were promoting the new Busby Berkeley musical and ended up in Washington, D.C., arriving there for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first inauguration in March 1933 and as a show support for the new president by Warner Bros. The press characterized Talbot as the train's "Railway Romeo" and quoted public reactions to him being "'handsome as hell'" and "'likable as a collie.'"
Back in Hollywood, working long hours six days a week, Talbot became a co-founder of the Screen Actors Guild. His activism in SAG union affairs reportedly hurt his career.Warner Bros. dropped him from its roster, and Talbot seldom received starring roles again. He became a capable character actor, playing affable neighbors or crafty villains with equal finesse. Talbot's supporting roles spanned the gamut, as he played cowboys, pirates, detectives, cops, surgeons, psychiatrists, soldiers, judges, newspaper editors, storekeepers, and boxers. In later years, he would claim to have never rejected a single role offered to him, including three now infamous Ed Wood, films: Glen or Glenda , Jail Bait and Plan 9 from Outer Space . Talbot worked with the Three Stooges in Gold Raiders , was the first actor to portray evil scientist Lex Luthor (wearing a "bald cap") onscreen in Atom Man vs. Superman (1950), played villains in four comedies with The Bowery Boys, and took the role of Commissioner Gordon in the 1949 serial Batman and Robin . His last film role was in the sci-fi comedy film Amazon Women on the Moon (1987).
Having started his career in the theatre and later co-starred on Broadway in 1940–1941 in Separate Rooms with Glenda Farrell and Alan Dinehart, Talbot returned to the stage in the 1960s and 1970s, starring in national road company versions of Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker with Ann B. Davis; Gore Vidal's The Best Man with Hugh Marlowe and K.T. Stevens; Neil Simon's The Odd Couple and Barefoot in the Park ; Arthur Sumner Long's play Never Too Late with Penny Singleton; and appearing as Captain Brackett in a 1967 revival of South Pacific at (Lincoln Center) starring Florence Henderson and Giorgio Tozzi.He also starred in Preston Jones' "The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia" at the Alley Theatre in Houston and the Chicago area Lincolnshire Theater. He rode the wave of the dinner theater phenomenon in the 1970s, acting in light comedies onstage in various Midwestern towns where former television actors were major attractions. As early as 1962, Talbot directed and co-starred with Ozzie and Harriet Nelson and a young Sally Kellerman in Marriage Go Round, a play Talbot and the Nelsons took on the road again in the early 1970s.
Although Talbot once starred in the film Trapped by Television (1936), the invention of TV actually revived his acting career after his movie roles began to decline. Talbot was a frequent presence on American television from the 1950s well into the 1970s with occasional appearances in the 1980s. From 1955 to 1966, he appeared in some seventy episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet , as neighbor Joe Randolph. He also had a recurring role (1955–58) as Robert Cummings's character's buddy from the Air Force, Paul Fonda, in numerous episodes of The Bob Cummings Show .
During the 1950s and 1960s, Talbot acted in every genre from westerns to comedies to mysteries. He played Colonel Billings three times on the syndicated western series, The Adventures of Kit Carson (1951–1955), and appeared four times as a judge on the syndicated western The Cisco Kid. He guest starred on Gene Autry's The Range Rider .
From 1950 to 1955, he was cast five times in different roles on the western, The Lone Ranger . In 1955, he appeared as Baylor in six episodes of the series, Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe . From 1953 to 1957, he was cast as different characters in four episodes of the anthology series, Lux Video Theatre . In 1967, he played Colonel Blake three times on The Beverly Hillbillies , and also appeared three times (between 1965 and 1971) on Green Acres. On one episode of Green Acres Talbot played himself, as a senator, in a spoof on actors who became politicians. In 1959, Talbot played Sheriff Clyde Chadwick in the episode "The Sanctuary" on Colt .45 .
Other series on which Talbot made guest appearances include Annie Oakley ; It's a Great Life ; The Public Defender ; The Pride of the Family ; Crossroads ; Hey, Jeannie! ; The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show ; Broken Arrow ; The Millionaire ; Richard Diamond, Private Detective ; Tales of Wells Fargo ; Buckskin ; Cimarron City ; Angel ; Hawaiian Eye ; 77 Sunset Strip ; Surfside 6 ; The Roaring 20s ; The Restless Gun ; Stagecoach West ; The Red Skelton Show ; The Lucy Show , The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok ; Topper ; The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin ; Laredo ; Perry Mason ; The Real McCoys ; Rawhide ; Wagon Train ; Charlie's Angels ; Newhart ; The Dukes of Hazzard ; St. Elsewhere ; and Who's the Boss? .
Talbot appeared occasionally on television in his eighties and narrated two PBS biographies, The Case of Dashiell Hammett (1982) and World Without Walls (1986) about pioneering pilot Beryl Markham. Both PBS programs were produced and written by his son Stephen Talbot, a former a child actor who portrayed the recurring character Gilbert Bates on Leave It to Beaver , another series on which his father had also appeared. Talbot was the first live-action actor to play two prominent DC Comics characters on-screen: the aforementioned Commissioner Gordon in Batman and Robin , and supervillain Lex Luthor in Atom Man vs. Superman (who at the time was simply known as Luthor). Talbot began a longstanding tradition of actors in these roles that were most recently filled by Gary Oldman and Kevin Spacey, respectively.
Talbot had several brief marriages to Elaine Melchoir (1930), Marguerite Cramer (1937–1940), Abigail Adams (1942), and Keven McClure (1946-1947), along with a number of romantic entanglements. He married for the fifth time in 1948 to actress and singer Paula (née Epple) Deaven. She was 20; he was a 46-year-old actor with a drinking problem. Under Epple's influence, Talbot quit drinking, and the couple often performed together on stage in summer stock and community theater. They had four children and remained married for more than 40 years, until Paula's death in 1989.
On March 6, 1996, Talbot died at the age of 94 at his home in San Francisco, California. His death was attributed to congestive heart failure. — Stephen Talbot, David Talbot, and Margaret Talbot —had established careers in media production, writing, or journalism. Cynthia Talbot, Lyle's elder daughter, had pursued instead a medical career, becoming a physician and later a residency director in Portland, Oregon.He was survived by his children, three of whom
|1932||Unholy Love||Dr. Jerome Preston 'Jerry' Gregory|
|Love Is a Racket||Edw. Griswold 'Eddie' Shaw||Alternative title: Such Things Happen|
|Stranger in Town||Brice|
|The Purchase Price||Eddie Fields|
|Miss Pinkerton||Newspaper Editor||Uncredited|
|The Thirteenth Guest||Phil Winston|
|Klondike||Dr. Robert Cromwell|
|Big City Blues||Len 'Lenny' Sully||Uncredited|
|Three on a Match||Michael Loftus|
|No More Orchids||Tony Gauge|
|20,000 Years in Sing Sing||Bud Saunders|
|1933||Parachute Jumper||Minor Role||(scenes deleted)|
|Ladies They Talk About||Don|
|42nd Street||Geoffrey Warning||Voice, Uncredited|
|Girl Missing||Raymond Fox|
|The Life of Jimmy Dolan||Doc Woods|
|She Had to Say Yes||Daniel Drew|
|A Shriek in the Night||Ted Kord|
|Mary Stevens, M.D.||Don Andrews|
|College Coach||Herbert P. 'Buck' Weaver|
|Havana Widows||Bob Jones|
|1934||Mandalay||Dr. Gregory Burton|
|Registered Nurse||Dr. Greg Connolly|
|Fog Over Frisco||Spencer Carlton|
|Return of the Terror||Dr. Leonard Goodman|
|The Dragon Murder Case||Dale Leland|
|One Night of Love||Bill Houston|
|A Lost Lady||Neil|
|Murder in the Clouds||'Three Star' Bob Halsey|
|The Secret Bride||Trailer Narrator||Voice, Uncredited|
|1935||Red Hot Tires||Wallace Storm|
|While the Patient Slept||Ross Lonergan|
|It Happened in New York||Charley Barnes|
|Our Little Girl||Rolfe Brent|
|Chinatown Squad||Ted Lacey|
|Oil for the Lamps of China||Jim|
|Page Miss Glory||Slattery of the Express|
|The Case of the Lucky Legs||Dr. Bob Doray|
|The Singing Kid||Robert 'Bob' Carey|
|The Law in Her Hands||Frank 'Legs' Gordon|
|Murder by an Aristocrat||Dr. Allen Carick|
|Trapped by Television||Fred Dennis|
|Go West, Young Man||Francis X. Harrigan|
|Mind Your Own Business||Crane|
|1937||Affairs of Cappy Ricks||Bill Peck|
|What Price Vengeance?||'Dynamite' Hogan / Tom Connors|
|Three Legionnaires||Pvt. Jimmy Barton|
|West Bound Limited||Dave Tolliver aka Bob Kirk|
|Second Honeymoon||Robert "Bob" Benton|
|1938||Change of Heart||Phillip Reeves|
|Call of the Yukon||Hugo Henderson|
|One Wild Night||Singer Martin|
|The Arkansas Traveler||Matt Collins|
|I Stand Accused||Charles Eastman|
|1939||Forged Passport||Jack Scott|
|They Asked for It||Marty Collins|
|Second Fiddle||Willie Hogger|
|Torture Ship||Lt. Bob Bennett|
|Miracle on Main Street||Dick Porter|
|1940||He Married His Wife||Paul Hunter|
|Parole Fixer||Ross Waring|
|1942||She's in the Army||Army Capt. Steve Russell|
|They Raid by Night||Capt. Robert Owen|
|Mexican Spitfire's Elephant||Reddy|
|1943||Man of Courage||George Dickson|
|A Night for Crime||Joe Powell|
|The Meanest Man in the World||Bill Potts||Uncredited|
|1944||Up in Arms||Sgt. Gelsey|
|The Falcon Out West||Tex Irwin|
|Gambler's Choice||Yellow Gloves Weldon|
|Are These Our Parents?||George Kent|
|Sensations of 1945||Randall|
|Dixie Jamboree||Anthony 'Tony' Sardell|
|Trail to Gunsight||U. S. Marshal Bill Hollister|
|Mystery of the River Boat||Rudolph Toller||Serial|
|One Body Too Many||Jim Davis|
|1946||Gun Town||Lucky Dorgan|
|Murder Is My Business||Buell Renslow|
|Song of Arizona||King Blaine|
|Strange Impersonation||Inspector Malloy|
|Chick Carter, Detective||Chick Carter|
|1947||Danger Street||Charles Johnson|
|The Vigilante: Fighting Hero of the West||George Pierce|
|1948||Devil's Cargo||Johnny Morello|
|The Vicious Circle||Miller|
|Joe Palooka in Winner Take All||Henerson|
|Thunder in the Pines||Nick Roulade|
|Parole, Inc.||Police Commissioner Hughes|
|Appointment with Murder||Fred M. Muller|
|Quick on the Trigger||Garvey Yager|
|Shep Comes Home||Dr. Wilson|
|Highway 13||Company Detective|
|1949||Joe Palooka in the Big Fight||Lt. Muldoon|
|Fighting Fools||Blinky Harris|
|The Mutineers||Capt. Jim Duncan|
|Sky Dragon||Andrew J. Barrett|
|Batman and Robin||Commissioner Jim Gordon|
|She Shoulda Said No!||Police Captain Hayes|
|1950||Dick Tracy||B.R. Ayne aka The Brain||TV Series, 7 episodes|
|The Daltons' Women||Jim Thorne|
|Johnny One-Eye||Official from District Attorney's Office|
|Champagne for Caesar||Executive No. 2|
|Lucky Losers||Bruce McDermott|
|Federal Man||Agent Johnson|
|Atom Man vs. Superman||Luthor / The Atom Man|
|Triple Trouble||Prison Yard Guard||Uncredited|
|Big Timber||Logger #1|
|Border Rangers||Ranger Capt. McLain|
|Cherokee Uprising||Chief Marshal|
|The Jackpot||Fred Burns|
|Revenue Agent||Augustis King|
|The Du Pont Story||Eugene du Pont|
|One Too Many||Mr. Boyer|
|1950–1954||The Cisco Kid||Various roles||TV Series, 4 episodes|
|1950–1956||The Lone Ranger||Various roles||TV Series, 5 episodes|
|1951||Colorado Ambush||Sheriff Ed Lowery|
|Abilene Trail||Dr. Martin|
|Fingerprints Don't Lie||Police Lt. Grayson|
|Fury of the Congo||Grant|
|Mask of the Dragon||Police Lt. Ralph McLaughlin|
|Man from Sonora||Sheriff Frank Casey|
|The Scarf||City Detective||Uncredited|
|Oklahoma Justice||Doc Willoughby||Uncredited|
|Gold Raiders||Taggert||Alternative title: The Stooges Go West|
|Jungle Manhunt||Dr. Mitchell Heller|
|Lawless Cowboys||Rank - Town Banker||Uncredited|
|Purple Heart Diary||Maj. Green|
|Texas Lawmen||Dr. Riley||Uncredited|
|Stage to Blue River||Perkins|
|1951–1956||The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok||W.T. Emerson / Bank Teller / Blackburn||TV Series, 4 episodes|
|1952||The Old West||Doc Lockwood|
|Texas City||Captain Hamilton|
|With a Song in My Heart||Radio Director||Uncredited|
|Outlaw Women||Judge Roger Dixon|
|Kansas Territory||Sam Collins||Uncredited|
|African Treasure||Roy DeHaven, alias Pat Gilroy|
|Down Among the Sheltering Palms||Maj. Gerald Curwin||Uncredited|
|Sea Tiger||Mr. Williams, Insurance Man|
|Untamed Women||Col. Loring|
|Feudin' Fools||Big Jim|
|Desperadoes' Outpost||Walter Fleming|
|Son of Geronimo: Apache Avenger||Col. Foster||Serial, [Chs.5-6]|
|The Pathfinder||British Ship Captain|
|1952-1954||Death Valley Days||San Francisco Mayor / Dr. Harper / Silas Capshaw||TV Series, 4 episodes|
|1953||Star of Texas||Telegraph Operator|
|White Lightning||Rocky Gibraltar|
|Trail Blazers||Deputy Sheriff McLain|
|The Roy Rogers Show||John Zachary||TV Series, 1 episode|
|Glen or Glenda||Insp. Warren|
|Mesa of Lost Women||Narrator||Voice|
|Clipped Wings||Capt. Blair|
|Wings of the Hawk||Jones||Uncredited|
|The Great Adventures of Captain Kidd||Boston Official||Serial, Uncredited|
|Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe||Baylor||Serial, 6 episodes|
|1954||Trader Tom of the China Seas||Barent|
|Gunfighters of the Northwest||Inspector Wheeler|
|Jail Bait||Inspector Johns||Directed by Ed Wood|
|The Mad Magician||Program Hawker||Uncredited|
|Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl||Capt. Pace|
|Tobor the Great||Admiral||Uncredited|
|Two Guns and a Badge||Doctor||Uncredited|
|There's No Business Like Show Business||Stage Manager||Uncredited|
|The Steel Cage||Square, Convict||(segment "The Hostages")|
|1954–1958||December Bride||Bill Monahan / Mr. Winters / Mr. Butterfield||TV Series, 6 episodes|
|1955||Hallmark Hall of Fame||TV Series, 1 episode|
|Jail Busters||Cy Bowman|
|Sudden Danger||Harry Woodruff|
|1955–1959||The Bob Cummings Show||Paul Fonda||TV Series, 22 episodes|
|1956||Navy Log||Captain Morgan||TV Series, 1 episode|
|The Millionaire||Joe Price||TV Series, 1 episode|
|Calling Homicide||Tony Fuller|
|The Great Man||Harry Connors|
|1956–1966||The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet||Joe Randolph||TV Series, 71 episodes|
|1957||Science Fiction Theatre||General Dothan||TV Series, 1 episode|
|Tales of Wells Fargo||Reporter||TV Series, 1 episode|
|God Is My Partner||Dr. Warburton, Psychiatrist|
|1958||M Squad||Paul Crowley||TV Series, 1 episode|
|The Notorious Mr. Monks||Leonardo, Prosecuting Attorney|
|Leave It to Beaver||Charles "Chuck" Dennison||TV Series, 2 episodes|
|High School Confidential||William Remington Kane|
|The Hot Angel||Van Richards|
|1958–1959||The Restless Gun||Various roles||TV Series, 2 episodes|
|1959||City of Fear||Chief Jensen|
|Plan 9 from Outer Space||General Roberts|
|The Ann Sothern Show||Finletter||TV, 1 episode|
|1960||Sunrise at Campobello||Mr. Brimmer|
|Surfside 6||Alan Crandell||TV Series, 1 episode|
|Hawaiian Eye||George Wallace||TV Series, 1 episode|
|1960||The DuPont Show with June Allyson||Mr. Anders||CBS-TV, 1 episode, "The Trench Coat"|
|Richard Diamond, Private Detective||Victor Long||Episode: "The Lovely Fraud"|
|1961||Mister Ed||George Hausner||TV Series, 1 episode|
|Lawman||Orville Luster||TV Series, 1 episode|
|1962||Make Room for Daddy||Dr. Crawford||TV Series, 1 episode|
|Dennis the Menace||Mayor||TV Series, 1 episode|
|1962–1967||The Beverly Hillbillies||Colonel Blake||TV Series, 4 episodes|
|1963||Arrest and Trial||Phil Paige||TV Series, 1 episode|
|The Lucy Show||Howard Wilcox / Mr. Stanford||TV Series, 2 episodes|
|1964||77 Sunset Strip||Tatum||TV Series, 1 episode|
|Petticoat Junction||Mr. Cheever||TV Series, 1 episode|
|1965||Run for Your Life||Steven Blakely||TV Series, 1 episode|
|The Smothers Brothers Show||Marty Miller||TV Series, 1 episode|
|1965–1966||Laredo||Various roles||TV Series, 2 episodes|
|1968||Dragnet||William Joseph Cornelius||TV Series, 1 episode|
|1969||Green Acres||Senator Lyle Talbot||TV Series, 1 episode|
|1970||Here's Lucy||Freddy Fox / Harry's Lawyer||TV Series, 2 episodes|
|1972||O'Hara, U.S. Treasury||Art Prescott||TV Series, 1 episode|
|1973||Adam-12||Avery Dawson||TV Series, 1 episode|
|1979||Charlie's Angels||Mills||TV Series, 1 episode|
|1984||The Dukes of Hazzard||Carter Stewart||TV Series, 1 episode|
|St. Elsewhere||Johnny Barnes||TV Series, 1 episode|
|1985||227||Harold||TV Series, 1 episode|
|1986||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Mr. Fletcher||TV Series, 1 episode|
|Who's the Boss?||Ralph||TV Series, 1 episode|
|1987||Newhart||Cousin Ned||TV Series, 1 episode, "It's My Party and I'll Die If I Want To"|
|Amazon Women on the Moon||Prescott Townsend||(segment "Amazon Women on the Moon"), Uncredited, (final film role)|
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