|Full Name James J. Lydon|
Name Jimmy Lydon
Children Two daughters
|Years active 1937–1987|
Occupation Actor, producer
Role Film actor
|Born May 30, 1923 (age 92) (1923-05-30) Harrington Park
New Jersey, USA|
Residence Bonita, San Diego County California
Spouse Betty Lou Nedell (m. 1952)
TV shows Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, The First Hundred Years, Roll Out
Movies Life with Father, Strange Illusion, Tom Brown's School D, Aerial Gunner, Cynthia
Similar People Olive Blakeney, Edgar G Ulmer, Edward Bernds, Robert Z Leonard, William Conrad
Jimmy Lydon interview - Pt 2
James J. Lydon (born May 30, 1923) is an American actor and television producer whose career in the entertainment industry began as a teenager during the 1930s.
Jimmy lydon interview pt 1
Lydon was born in Harrington Park in northeastern New Jersey, the fifth of nine children. His family was of Irish heritage. He was raised in Bergenfield.
In 1932, Lydon's father, who was an alcoholic, decided to retire from working. This decision forced all of the other family members to seek employment in the depths of the Great Depression. In 1937, Jimmy Lydon, not knowing what he wanted to do, tried his hand at acting. His first role was Danny in the Broadway play Western Waters. He had been allowed to audition for the part after fabricating a list of roles he had previously portrayed. In the next couple of years, he learned the acting craft while performing in plays such as Sunup to Sundown, Prologue to Glory, Sing Out the News, and The Happiest Days. In 1939, he moved with his family to Hollywood to seek film roles.
One of his first starring roles was the title character in the 1940 movie Tom Brown's School Days, also starring Cedric Hardwicke and Freddie Bartholomew. The film was well received by critics, with Variety praising it in a January 1940 review as "sympathetically and skillfully made, with many touching moments and an excellent cast". Lydon was called "believable and moving in the early portions, but too young for the final moments".
Between 1941–1944, under contract to Paramount Pictures, Lydon starred as the screechy-voiced, adolescent Henry Aldrich in the movie series of that title. After completing the Aldrich series, the 21-year-old Lydon signed a contract in 1944 with Republic Pictures.
He appeared with William Powell, Irene Dunne, and Elizabeth Taylor in the acclaimed 1947 film Life with Father, in the role of college-bound Clarence. Variety called Jimmy Lydon's portrayal "effective as the potential Yale man".
He then appeared opposite James Cagney in the 1948 movie The Time of Your Life. From 1949-1950, he and Janet Waldo voiced the leading characters in the radio adaptation of the comic strip Young Love. Lydon easily gained roles in the new medium of television. He portrayed Chris Thayer on The First Hundred Years. The show was CBS' first daytime soap opera. It was performed live for three seasons of three hundred episodes.
In 1953, he was cast as Murray in the aviation adventure film Island in the Sky, starring John Wayne. He also played Biffen Cardoza on the last six episodes of Rocky Jones, Space Ranger in 1954 and made appearances in Lux Video Theatre and The Christophers.
In 1958, Lydon played the role of Richard in Anne Jeffreys and Robert Sterling's short-lived sitcom, Love That Jill. Lydon appeared in guest roles on Crossroads, Casey Jones, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Wagon Train, Hennesey, The Twilight Zone, and Tales of the Texas Rangers, as Lt. Jared Evans in the 1958 episode "Warpath". A year later, he guest starred on the ABC/Warner Brothers western television series Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. Lydon played the role of Willy in the episode "Return to El Paso", with Paul Picerni cast as Jose.
After working increasingly in television in the 1950s, he turned to production and helped to create the detective series 77 Sunset Strip and the CBS sitcom M*A*S*H. He also produced the television adaptation of the film Mister Roberts in 1966 and Roll Out in 1973-1974. Lydon played Captain Henry Aldrich (a reference to his Aldrich movie series) on the latter show.
In 1963, Lydon was working for Warner Brothers to place on the NBC fall schedule a new western series, Temple Houston, starring Jeffrey Hunter as Temple Lea Houston, an historical figure, a clever lawyer, and the youngest son of Sam Houston. On orders from studio boss Jack Webb, episodes were put together in two or three days each, something previously thought impossible in television production. Work began on August 7, 1963, with the initial airing set for September 19. Lydon recalls that Webb told the staff: "Fellas, I just sold Temple Houston. We gotta be on the air in four weeks, we can't use the pilot, we have no scripts, no nothing - do it!" Lydon recalls the team having worked around the clock to get Temple Houston on the air. Co-producer William Conrad directed six episodes, two scripts simultaneously on two different soundstages at Warner Brothers: "We bicycled Jeff (Jeffrey Hunter) and (secondary character Jack Elam) Elam between the two companies, and Bill shot 'em both in four-and-a-half days. Two complete one-hour shows!". Though the production challenge was met with much difficulty, Temple Houston never gained popularity in the ratings and ended after twenty-six weeks. At the same time script and cast changes that Webb had imposed on 77 Sunset Strip, with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., left as the sole character, caused the cancellation of that series before it could finish its sixth season.
During the 1980s, Jimmy continued to act in television, with roles on episodes of Lou Grant, Simon & Simon, and St. Elsewhere.
Jimmy Lydon resides in Bonita in San Diego County, California, with his wife, the former Betty Lou Nedell, whom he married in 1952. They have two daughters and two granddaughters.