Childhood & Early Life
Norman Lloyd was born Norman Perlmutter on November 8, 1914, in Jersey City, New Jersey, US, in a Jewish family. His father, Max Perlmutter, initially worked as an accountant and later became a furniture store salesman / owner. His mother, Sadie Horowitz Perlmutter, was a bookkeeper and housewife; she had a great liking for theater and singing. She encouraged young Norman to take up singing and dancing classes. He began performing at 9. He had two younger sisters, Ruth and Janice.
Lloyd attended the ‘Boys High School’ in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated with high grades at the age of 15, in 1929. He joined the ‘New York University,’ but dropped out later due to the ‘Great Depression,’ which affected his family and others around.
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After dropping-out of university, Lloyd began working in Eva Le Gallienne’s ‘Civic Repertory Theatre’ in New York City. He also worked with other companies, including ‘Sarton’s Apprentice Theatre,’ and ‘Harvard Dramatic Club,’ among others. He made his ‘Broadway’ debut with André Obey’s ‘Noah,’ in 1935.
Lloyd was associated with the social theater groups of the 30s, such as ‘Federal Theater Project (FTP),’ the ‘Theatre of Action,’ and the ‘Group Theater.’ He appeared in a number of FTP’s ‘Living Newspaper’ plays, including ‘Injunction Granted’ , ‘Triple – A Plowed Under’ , and ‘Power’ .
In 1937, Lloyd appeared as ‘Cinna the Poet’ in Orson Welles’ successful production of ‘Caesar’ [Mercury Theater production]. His performance in this role received a lot of appreciation. He appeared in the next Mercury Theater production ‘The Shoemaker’s Holiday’ , and ‘Broadway’ production ‘Everywhere I Roam’ . His name was included in the list of ‘Ten Best Performers’ of 1938.
Lloyd’s film career started with Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Saboteur’ , wherein he played the role of a ‘Nazi Spy.’ This was also the beginning of a long professional association and a deep friendship with Hitchcock. He also appeared in the next Hitchcock film, a psychological mystery thriller, ‘Spellbound’ .
Along with acting roles, Lloyd also began assisting in direction department. In the 1948 film ‘Arch of Triumph,’ he assisted director Lewis Milestone. His film career was affected during the cold-war and the ‘Hollywood Blacklisting’ period. Hitchcock helped him through the difficulties by appointing him as the director and associate producer of his TV series ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ . For the next several years, he worked as the producer and director of many TV series, including the Hitchcock series.
Lloyd appeared in such TV series as NBC horror stories show, ‘Night Gallery,’ and films such as ‘FM’ . The NBC medical drama ‘St. Elsewhere’ offered him the role of a teaching doctor ‘Dr. Auschlander.’ In this role, he was supposed to appear in only four episodes, but he ended up working through the entire run of the series [1982-1988], and appeared in 132 episodes. The popularity of this role gained him an entirely new generation of fans.
After a long gap of almost a decade, Lloyd was again seen in the 1989 drama film ‘Dead Poets Society,’ wherein he essayed the principal, ‘Mr. Nolan,’ of the ‘Welton Academy.’ [He was somewhat put off when was asked to audition for this part, but later agreed after winning his regular tennis match, which put him in a happy mood].
In UPN’s sci-fi series about time travel, ‘Seven Days,’ Lloyd portrayed ‘Dr. Isaac Mentnor’ [1998 to 2001]. He made guest appearances in a number of well-known TV series, including ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’ ‘The Twilight Zone,’ ‘Murder, She Wrote,’ ‘The Practice,’ ‘Wings,’ ‘Modern Family,’ among many others.
Lloyd also worked on the radio and performed in Peggy Webber’s and Yuri Rasovsky’s several radio dramas. In September 2007, a documentary on his life and career, ‘Who is Norman Lloyd?’ was premiered at the ‘Sundance Film Festival.’
In 2015, at the age of over 100, he appeared in Judd Apatow’s ‘Trainwreck.’ The director and the entire unit were amazed to see him arrive on the sets and work through the shooting without any assistance. He has been cast in a forthcoming TV series, ‘Fly.’
Lloyd has written three books – ‘Tap Dance For Fun,’ which he wrote along with Hermine Elizabeth Sauthoff (released in 1941); ‘Stages,’ which was released in 1990, and ‘Stages: Of Life in Theater, Film and Television,’ which was released in 2004, are his biographical books.
Family & Personal Life
Lloyd married ‘Broadway’ actress and director Peggy Craven on June 29, 1936. The couple had two children, son, Michael, and daughter, Josie Lloyd, who is an actress. Only a few days after they completed 75 years of marriage, Peggy Lloyd died in 2011, at the age of 98.
Lloyd began playing tennis at an early age of 8, and was proficient at it, but didn’t take it up professionally. He continued to play regularly all through his life, but had to give up after a fall in 2015, at the age of 101.