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William Powell’s Son in ‘Life With Father’ Was 98 – The Hollywood Reporter


Jimmy Lydon, who portrayed William Powell’s oldest son in Life With Father and the trouble-prone excessive schooler Henry Aldrich in a speedy collection of Paramount “B” motion pictures, has died. He was 98.

Lydon died peacefully March 9 at his dwelling in San Diego, his daughter Julie Lydon Cornell introduced.

Lydon mentioned he gave Elizabeth Taylor her first onscreen kiss after they each starred in Cynthia (1947), and he starred from 1950-52 in what is taken into account to be the primary community TV daytime cleaning soap opera, CBS’ The First Hundred Years, carried out dwell 5 days every week.

Beginning within the Nineteen Sixties, Lydon labored as a producer on motion pictures and TV exhibits together with the famed ABC detective collection 77 Sundown Strip and an NBC adaptation of Mister Roberts, each starring Roger Smith; the ABC comedy McHale’s Navy; and the NBC Westerns Wagon Practice and Temple Houston.

In Life With Father (1947), directed in three-strip Technicolor by Michael Curtiz, Lydon performed Clarence Day Jr., the primary of 4 redheaded sons of a cussed well-to-do stockbroker in 1880’s New York Metropolis. Irene Dunne portrayed his mother, and Lydon’s character, sure for Yale College, was taken with the attractive Mary Skinner, performed by Taylor, then 14.

The movie was an adaptation of a Broadway play that starred Howard Lindsay and ran for greater than 3,200 performances, from 1939 to 1947.

“We labored for 4 and a half months on that image,” Lydon informed Nick Thomas in a 2016 interview. “Mr. [Jack] Warner needed to spend all the cash on the earth on it and take his time to provide a status piece for Warner Bros. He paid one million {dollars} only for the rights to the story, which was some huge cash within the Forties. It was the most costly image Warner Bros. had made on the time, costing round $4.5 million.”

After Jackie Cooper starred as Henry in What a Life (1939) and Life With Henry (1941), Lydon took over for the ultimate 9 movies within the farcical collection, from Henry Aldrich for President (1941) to Henry Aldrich’s Little Secret (1944).

The character with the high-pitched voice had begun on Broadway in 1938 earlier than changing into the centerpiece of a long-running radio collection recognized for his mother calling out, “Hen-reeeeeeeeeeeee! Hen-ree Al-drich!” at first of every program, adopted by Henry’s reply, “Coming, Mom!”

James Lydon was born on Might 30, 1923, in Harrington Park, New Jersey, the fifth of 9 kids (he had six brothers and two sisters) in an Irish-Catholic household. He described his father as a violent alcoholic who got here to the dinner desk one night in 1937 and introduced that he was quitting his job in New York’s monetary district and retiring.

“And he did, he by no means labored once more,” Lydon mentioned in a 2013 interview with Alan Okay. Rode of the Movie Noir Basis. “We have been residing on the sting of catastrophe.”

A household pal who had a few children working within the theater advised Lydon’s mom flip one in all her kids into an actor. “Should you open your mouth on the Broadway stage, you make $25 every week,” he mentioned. “Within the ’30s, that was a fortune.”

The freckle-faced Lydon had zero appearing expertise however lied about being in three performs and was employed for a job reverse Van Heflin within the 1937 Broadway drama Western Waters. “I discovered the way to be an actor by being paid to be taught,” he mentioned. For years, he was the one one within the household with a job.

After stints in 4 different Broadway performs, Lydon and his household headed to Hollywood in September 1939, and he appeared in Again Door to Heaven and Two Thoroughbreds that yr. Signed by RKO, he acquired the most important break of his younger profession, getting solid because the title character in Tom Brown’s Faculty Days (1940), the studio’s second-ever $1 million image (Gunga Din was the primary).

He signed with Paramount and famous that he labored simply 63 days a yr on the studio, making three movies at 21 days apiece. The remainder of the time he attended lessons at studio college and discovered the way to make motion pictures watching professionals on dubbing levels and in enhancing rooms. That might turn out to be useful when he segued into producing.

After Henry Aldrich’s Little Secret, Lydon knew he was going to be typecast. “It was the kiss of dying once you end up a collection,” he mentioned. “It sticks to you want glue.”

Nonetheless, he appeared in Edgar Ulmer’s Unusual Phantasm (1945), with James Cagney in The Time of Your Life (1948), reverse Joan Fontaine and Joseph Cotton in September Affair (1950), in John Sturges’ The Magnificent Yankee (1950) and with John Wayne in Island within the Sky (1953).

He additionally performed Skeezix in three Gasoline Alley movies at Columbia, all launched in 1951 and based mostly on a newspaper cartoon.

In notable tv roles within the Forties and ’50s, Lydon portrayed Simon Vanderhopper, who dated the daughter of Jackie Gleason’s character, on the NBC comedy The Lifetime of Reilly and was an everyday on the syndicated sci-fi present Rocky Jones, House Ranger and on ABC’s Love That Jill, starring real-life husband and spouse Robert Sterling and Anne Jeffreys.

He went on to seem on Wished: Useless or AliveThe Life and Legend of Wyatt EarpWagon PracticeThe Twilight ZoneCannonAdam-12Lou Grant and St. Elsewhere and direct an episode of The Six Million Greenback Man.

On the short-lived 1973-74 CBS comedy Roll Out, created by M*A*S*H legends Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds, Lydon produced and performed an Military captain named Henry Aldrich.

He turned nice buddies with Robert Armstrong, and when the King Kong star died at age 82 in 1973, Lydon develop into the authorized guardian of his spouse, Louise, as per his will.

Lydon served as vp of SAG below Ronald Reagan within the late Forties, co-creating the actors’ pension and well being plan. The golden age star additionally was a member of the DGA.

He married actress Betty Lou Nedell, who additionally was on The First Hundred Years, in 1952. Her mom, Olive Blakeney, portrayed his mother in lots of the Aldrich motion pictures. Lydon and Nedell have been married for nearly 70 years till her dying two months in the past.

Survivors embody his daughters, Julie and Cathy, and granddaughters, Keara and Taryn.



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