Lloyd Nolan's dramatic skills enabled him to overcome the secondary gangster and tough cop roles he was given in minor Hollywood sagas of the 1930s and '40s to go on to become Broadway's and television's sympathetically despicable Capt. Queeg.
From his film debut in the long-forgotten "Stolen Harmony" in 1934 to his warm portrayal of the neighborhood cop in 1945's "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," Nolan came to symbolize the journeyman artist plying his trade.
He was lured out of "retirement" many times, perhaps most notably when he agreed to become the white costar of television's first black-oriented vehicle "Julia." From 1968 to 1971 he was Dr. Morton Chegley, playing almost a secondary role to his nurse, black actress Diahann Carroll.
Ironically, it was to TV that he owed his most singular honor. He won but one national accolade—a 1955 Emmy for his now firmly established portrayal of the crazed Philip Queeg in a television adaptation of "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial."
From 1934 to 1954 he appeared in about 70 films, but only a few are remembered today: "Michael Shane: Private Detective," "Johnny Apollo" and during the war "Bataan" and "Guadalcanal Diary." The rest found him as a gangster, a prisoner or as the guy wearing the black hat in a series of westerns.
In 1957 he was chosen with Lana Turner, Arthur Kennedy and Hope Lange to bring Grace Metalious' scandalous novel "Peyton Place" to the screen, and again critics found his performance generally superior to the script. In the early 1960s he did "Susan Slade," "Never Too Late" and "Ice Station Zebra." He ended the decade with "Airport," a hair-raising melodrama with an all-star cast in which a bomb-damaged plane is talked to the ground.