Lois Nettleton was an American TV, film, and theater actor. She received the prestigious ‘Emmy Award,’ twice in her career. Born into a poor family, Nettleton was inclined toward acting since her childhood days. She created small plays and enacted them in her backyard. Nettleton was crowned ‘Miss Chicago’ in her youth. She received formal training in acting and debuted on ‘Broadway,’ with the play ‘The Biggest Thief in Town’ by Dalton Trumbo. Nettleton delivered notable performances in plays such as ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘They Knew What They Wanted.’ She performed in several small and big roles in TV series, too. She was part of series such as ‘The Brighter Day,’ ‘Camera Three,’ ‘Naked City,’ ‘The Twilight Zone,’ and ‘The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.’ Nettleton won an ‘Emmy Award’ for her performance in the TV movie ‘The American Woman: Portraits of Courage.’ She won an ‘Emmy Award’ for the series ‘Insight,’ too. Nettleton performed in the radio soap opera ‘The Brighter Day.’ She was a voice actor for several animation series, such as ‘Disney’s House of Mouse’ and ‘Mickey’s House of Villains.’ Nettleton suffered from lung cancer in her final days. She passed away at the age of 80.
Childhood & Early Life
Lois June Nettleton was born on August 16, 1927, in Oak Park, Illinois, to Edward Nettleton and Virginia Nettleton. Her parents divorced when she was quite young.
Nettleton had a difficult childhood. In order to cope with the harsh surroundings, she created small plays and enacted them in her backyard, all by herself. This was how she developed an interest in acting. At the age of 11, Nettleton joined a community theater and appeared on local radio and TV shows.
Lois Nettleton graduated from the ‘Senn High School’ in Chicago. She was trained in acting at the ‘Goodman Theatre’ in Chicago. In 1948, Nettleton was crowned ‘Miss Chicago.’ The same year, she qualified for the semi-finals of ‘Miss America’ contest.
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Nettleton started her professional acting career in 1948. She was an understudy to Barbara Bel Geddes for the role of ‘Maggie the Cat’ in the play ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.’ Occasionally, Nettleton played the role herself.
In 1949, Nettleton made her debut on ‘Broadway,’ with the play ‘The Biggest Thief in Town.’ It was produced by famous screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Nettleton used the stage name “Lydia Scott.” Following this, Nettleton performed in several small roles in TV and radio productions. She was part of the radio show ‘Studio One in Hollywood.’
From 1954 to 1957, Nettleton was part of the daytime soap opera ‘The Brighter Day.’ It was a series that had the radio and TV versions running simultaneously. It was aired on ‘CBS.’ The show featured Nettleton as ‘Patsy Dennis Hamilton.’
In 1960, Nettleton starred in four episodes of the police series ‘Naked City.’ It was telecast on ‘ABC.’ In 1961, Nettleton performed in single episodes of the series ‘Encounter,’ ‘Great Ghost Tales,’ and ‘The Twilight Zone.’
In 1962, Nettleton made her debut in movies, with the comedy–drama movie ‘Period of Adjustment.’ It was based on the play of the same name by Tennessee Williams. The movie featured Nettleton as ‘Dorothea Baitz,’ a woman struggling with the problems of married life.
In 1963, Nettleton played a major role in the movie ‘Come Fly with Me.’ It was the story of three airhostesses looking for romantic connections in their lives. Nettleton played ‘Hilda Bergstrom,’ one of the airhostesses.
In 1968, Nettleton portrayed ‘Anna Karachev’ in the science-fiction movie ‘The Bamboo Saucer.’ In the 1970s, Nettleton performed in movies such as ‘The Honkers,’ ‘The Man in the Glass Booth,’ and ‘Echoes of a Summer.’
In 1973, Nettleton performed as the lead character, ‘Blanche DuBois,’ in the play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.’ It was a revival of the original play that was opened in 1947. Nettleton’s performance in the play was widely applauded. In 1976, she performed in a revival of the play ‘They Knew What They Wanted.’ She was nominated for a ‘Tony Award,’ for this performance.
In 1977, Nettleton portrayed ‘Susan B. Anthony’ in the TV movie ‘The American Woman: Profiles in Courage.’ Her convincing performance won her an ‘Emmy Award.’ She won the ‘Emmy Award’ for her performance in the religious anthology ‘Insight,’ too. She also won ‘Emmy Award’ nominations for series such as ‘The Golden Girl’ and ‘In the Heat of the Night.’
Nettleton lent her voice to several animation characters. She worked as a voice actor for animation series such as ‘Disney’s House of Mouse’ and ‘Mickey’s House of Villains.’ In 2006, Nettleton performed in the last movie of her career. She portrayed ‘Rosie Spelman’ in the movie ‘The Christmas Card.’
Family, Personal Life & Legacy
Nettleton was married to radio and TV host Jean Shepherd. Nettleton was the first caller to Shepherd’s radio program. They did several shows together and got married in 1960. They divorced after 7 years. They have no children.
Nettleton suffered from lung cancer in the final days of her life. She breathed her last on January 18, 2008. She was interred at the ‘St. Raymond’s Cemetery’ in New York City.