William Powell’s son from “Life With Father” was 98 years old – The Hollywood Reporter

Jimmy Lydon, who portrayed William Powell’s eldest son in Life with the Father and Henry Aldrich, a high school student in a fast-paced Paramount “B” movie, has died. He was 98 years old.

Lydon died peacefully on March 9 at his home in San Diego, his daughter Julie Lydon Cornell announced.

Lydon said he gave Elizabeth Taylor the first kiss on the screen when they both played Cynthia (1947) and starred between 1950 and 1952 in what is considered to be CBS ‘first network day soap opera. The first hundred yearshe sang live five days a week.

Since the 1960s, Lydon has worked as a producer on movies and TV shows, including the famous ABC detective series. 77 Sunset Strip and an NBC adaptation of Mr. Roberts, both with Roger Smith; ABC comedy McHale’s Navy; and NBC westerns Train car and Houston Temple.

Into the Life with the Father (1947), directed in Technicolor in three bands by Michael Curtiz, Lydon played Clarence Day Jr., the first of four red-haired sons of a wealthy 18-year-old New York stockbroker. Irene Dunne portrayed herself. a mother, and Lydon’s character, destined for Yale University, was taken in with the beautiful Mary Skinner, played by Taylor, then 14 years old.

The film was an adaptation of a Broadway play starring Howard Lindsay and had over 3,200 performances from 1939 to 1947.

“I worked on that picture for four and a half months,” Lydon told Nick Thomas in a 2016 interview. [Jack] Warner wanted to spend all the money in the world on it and take the time to produce a prestigious piece for Warner Bros. He paid a million dollars just for the rights to the story, which was a lot of money in the 1940’s. It was the most expensive image Warner Bros. It cost about $ 4.5 million at the time. “

After Jackie Cooper played Henry in What life (1939) and Life with Henry (1941), Lydon took over the last nine films in the farce series, from Henry Aldrich for President (1941) la Henry Aldrich’s little secret (1944).

The sharp-voiced character began on Broadway in 1938, before becoming the centerpiece of a long-running radio series known for his mother shouting, “Hen-reeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Hen-ree Al-drich! ” at the beginning of each program, followed by Henry’s answer: “Come, mother!”

James Lydon was born on May 30, 1923, in Harrington Park, New Jersey, the fifth of nine children (six brothers and two sisters) into an Irish Catholic family. He described his father as a violent alcoholic who came to dinner one evening in 1937 and announced that he would resign from the New York financial district and retire.

“And he did, he never worked again,” Lydon said in a 2013 interview with Alan K. Rode of the Film Noir Foundation. “I was living on the brink of disaster.”

A family friend who had several children working in the theater suggested to Lydon’s mother that she turn one of her children into an actor. “If you open your mouth on the Broadway stage, you earn $ 25 a week,” he said. “That was a fortune in the 1930’s.”

Freckle Lydon had no acting experience, but lied that he was in three plays and was hired for a role alongside Van Heflin in the 1937 Broadway drama. Western waters. “I learned how to be an actor by being paid to study,” he said. For years, he was the only one in the family with a job.

After a period in four other Broadway plays, Lydon and his family moved to Hollywood in September 1939 and appeared in The back door to heaven and Two thoroughbreds that year. Signed by RKO, he received the longest break of his young career, being cast as the main character Tom Brown’s school days (1940), the second image of the $ 1 million studio (Gunga Din was the first).

He signed with Paramount and noted that he worked only 63 days a year in the studio, making three films every 21 days. The rest of the time he took classes at the studio school and learned how to make films, watching professionals on the dubbing scenes and in the editing rooms. This would be useful when he started producing.

After Henry Aldrich’s little secretLydon knew it would be printed. “It was the kiss of death when you finished a series,” he said. “It sticks to you like glue.”

However, he appeared in Edgar Ulmer’s Strange illusion (1945), with James Cagney in The time of your life (1948), with Joan Fontaine and Joseph Cotton in September business (1950), in John Sturges The magnificent Yankee (1950) and with John Wayne in The island in the sky (1953).

He also starred in Skeezix in three Columbia Gasoline Alley movies, all released in 1951 and based on a newspaper comic strip.

In notable television roles in the 1940s and 1950s, Lydon portrayed Simon Vanderhopper, who met Jackie Gleason’s daughter in the NBC comedy. Reilly’s life and was a regular on the SF show Rocky Jones, Space Ranger and on ABC Love Jillwith real-life husband and wife Robert Sterling and Anne Jeffreys.

He continued to appear on I’m looking for: dead or alive, The life and legend of Wyatt Earp, Train car, Twilight Zone, Cannon, Adam-12, Lou Grant and St. Elsewhere and directed an episode of The six million dollar man.

In the short-lived comedy from 1973-1974 CBS Rollmade by M * A * S * H legends Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds, Lydon produced and played an army captain named Henry Aldrich.

He became great friends with Robert Armstrong, and when King Kong Star died at the age of 82 in 1973, Lydon became the legal guardian of his wife, Louise, according to his will.

Lydon was vice president of the SAG under Ronald Reagan in the late 1940s, co-creating the actors’ pension and health plan. The star of the golden age was also a member of the DGA.

He married actress Betty Lou Nedell, who was also there The first hundred years, in 1952. Her mother, Olive Blakeney, portrayed her mother in many of Aldrich’s films. Lydon and Nedell were married for nearly 70 years until her death two months ago.

Survivors include his daughters, Julie and Cathy, and his nieces, Keara and Taryn.