Friday, January 27, 2006

Lloyd Bochner: Gone But Not Forgotten

I was saddened when I found out that Canadian-born actor (actually Toronto-born) Lloyd Bochner died at the age of 81 in October.

He played many roles in the theater and film and TV, but I best remember him as Cecil Colby on Dynasty (he put the nasty in Dynasty!) and as Franklin Blodgett in an episode of Bewitched.

He seemed a fixture in my childhood because he had roles in almost every single TV series I watched growing up, from Cannon to Mannix to Manimal to Fantasy Island -- you name it he was on it! And usually playing the suave villain.

He began acting with the Stratford Festival of Canada from (1953-1959), playing Horatio in Hamlet, Orsino in Twelfth Night, and Vincentio in Measure for Measure.

He then moved to New York to perform in Tamburlaine the Great on Broadway in 1956.

There is a really touching tribute to Lloyd Bochner in the winter 2006 issue of the ACTRA member's magazine "Inter ACTRA" written by his good friend and fellow Canadian-born actor, Monty Hall. Here is an excerpt:

As the years went by, and both of us married our lovely wives, we became socially friendly and that continued until 1956 when Lloyd and I both left for New York. I to do a daytime NBC television show and Lloyd to star on Broadway with Eva Gabor. We decided to share an apartment together. I wouldn't say that we were exactly "The Odd Couple" since our paths didn't cross until after the theater closed. He would come back to the apartment after 11pm and I'd have some coffee and Danish ready for him, and we would discuss what happened during the day to each of us. And then we'd sit down and play gin rummy. There was one rule in our game -- that we had to speak Yiddish. Now Lloyd and I each had a smattering of the language, but I wouldn't say that either one of us was a Yiddish linguist. So after we ran out of the usual words and phrases that we knew, we would start inventing things. It got to be hysterical, and we'd laugh ourselves sick.

If I'd had a chance to talk to him, I would have told him that he was a wonderful actor -- a great friend -- and one of the finest gentlemen I ever met. These are things I would have said to him. I will -- next time we meet.

Well said.

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