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REMEMBERING NORMAN LLOYD

I am going to miss the sound of Norman Lloyd’s booming voice. It could easily reach the second balcony of any theater, and it never lost its power even as he celebrated his 106th birthday.

It belied the fact that he was born in Jersey City, New Jersey and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Norman claimed that he had a Joisey/Brooklyn accent until he went to work for the formidable Eva LeGallienne, whose repertory troupe was filled with young men and women who spoke beautifully. 


A very young Norman and Alfred Hitchcock

“You couldn’t play a whole repertory of work unless you could learn to speak,” he explained, “So I set about to learn and I managed to get what has been called a mid-Atlantic accent.”

He graciously welcomed my daughter Jessie and me into his home in 2018 to record an episode of our podcast. (click HERE to listen.) For Jess and many others her age, his role in Dead Poets Society is the first performance that comes to mind. And while he spoke of possible projects to take on he confessed, “I tell you what blocks me from really finding a property: the ball game every day. The ball game comes on and everything stops. In my ancient age, my trainer says, ‘You’ve got to walk so much every day. You’ve got to do these physical exercises’ and so forth. And I think that’s very good advice… And then the ball game comes on.”


Jessie and me with Norman in 2018 after
recording our podcast


Norman was entitled to that luxury, having worked in every facet of show business for so many years. He had a wonderful part in Curtis Hanson’s In Her Shoes in 2005 and an amusing cameo in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck in 2015. His credentials were vast. Who else could talk with equal authority about Lewis Milestone and Cameron Diaz? Who else had been directed by Anthony Mann and Martin Scorsese?

In recent years he became a valuable resource: there weren’t many people still alive in the 21st century who could talk about working with Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, Jean Renoir, Orson Welles, and other legendary figures. He even told me a Gabby Hayes story one day that I should have written down; it’s now lost to memory.

Norman in ‘Saboteur’


But there is no way of forgetting Norman Lloyd, a great raconteur, an active participant in—and eyewitness to—theater and film history. He was funny, a true lover of life and never took a single moment for granted. His energy was infectious as was his laugh. My family and I feel so lucky to have known him.

Raquell Stetcher wrote a lovely piece for her blog (www.outofthepastblog.com) about my evening with Norman Lloyd at the TCM Classic Film Festival in 2013. You can read that HERE.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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