Jeanette Nolan

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Jeanette Nolan
File:Jeanette Nolan 1935.JPG
Nolan in 1935.
Born (1911-12-30)December 30, 1911
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died June 5, 1998(1998-06-05) (aged 86)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Stroke
Resting place Tobacco Valley Cemetery in Eureka, Montana
Occupation Actress
Years active 1932-1998
Spouse(s) John McIntire (m. 1935-1991; his death)
Children Holly McIntire
Tim McIntire

Jeanette Nolan (December 30, 1911 – June 5, 1998) was an American radio, film, and television actress who was nominated for four Emmy Awards: in 1964, 1966, 1974 and 1978.[1]


Orson Welles and Jeanette Nolan in Macbeth (1948)

Nolan began her acting career at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California, and, while a student at Los Angeles City College, made her radio debut in 1932 in Omar Khayyam, the first transcontinental broadcast from station KHJ. She continued acting into the 1990s.

She appeared regularly in several radio series: Young Dr. Malone, 1939–1940; Cavalcade of America, 1940–1941; Nicolette Moore in One Man's Family, 1947–1950; and The Great Gildersleeve, 1949-1952. She appeared episodically in many more.[2]

She made her film debut as Lady Macbeth in Orson Welles' 1948 film Macbeth, based on Shakespeare's play of the same name. Despite the fact that she and the film received withering reviews at the time,[3][4] Nolan's film career flourished in largely supporting roles. Viewers of film noir may know her best as the corrupt wife of a dead (and equally corrupt) police officer in Fritz Lang's The Big Heat.

Nolan made more than three hundred television appearances, including the religion anthology series, Crossroads and as Dr. Marion in the 1956 episode "The Healer" in Brian Keith's CBS Cold War series, Crusader. She appeared on Rod Cameron's syndicated series, State Trooper. Nolan was cast as Emmy Zecker in the 1959 episode "Johnny Yuma" of the ABC western series, The Rebel, starring Nick Adams. She appeared in two episodes of David Janssen's crime drama, Richard Diamond, Private Detective.

From 1959-60, she played Annette Deveraux, part-owner of the hotel in the CBS western series, Hotel de Paree, with Earl Holliman. In 1960, she appeared in season 4, episode 7, of Richard Boone's Have Gun - Will Travel as a newly widowed sheriff. Also, in 1962, season 5, episode 24, as proprietor of a secluded halfway house. She was cast in other western films, most notably The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch (1982).

Nolan made six guest appearances on CBS's Perry Mason, including the role of murderer Mrs. Kirby in the 1958 episode, "The Case of the Fugitive Nurse," murderer Emma Benson in the 1960 episode, "The Case of the Nine Dolls," title character and murderer Nellie in the 1964 episode, "The Case of the Betrayed Bride," and defendant Emma Ritter in the 1965 episode, "The Case of the Fugitive Fraulein." She portrayed Janet Picard in the episode "Woman in the River" of the ABC/Warner Brothers detective series Bourbon Street Beat, starring Andrew Duggan. She gave an over-the-top performance as a crazed old woman in the "Parasite Mansion" episode of NBC's Thriller.

On April 27, 1962, she appeared in the episode "A Book of Faces" on another ABC crime drama, Target: The Corruptors, starring Stephen McNally and Robert Harland. She guest starred as Claire Farnham in the episode "To Love Is to Live" on the psychiatric medical dramaThe Eleventh Hour. She was cast as a fortune teller, Mme. Di Angelo, in the 1963 episode "The Black-Robed Ghost" of the anthology series, GE True, hosted by Jack Webb.

She was a member of the repertory cast of the The Richard Boone Show, appearing in 13 episodes.

In 1963, Nolan was cast as Mrs. Mertens in the episode, "Reformation of Willie", on the ABC drama series, Going My Way, starring Gene Kelly as a Roman Catholic priest in New York City. Coincidentally Going My Way followed the western series, Wagon Train, on the ABC schedule. Nolan herself appeared three times on Wagon Train, in which her husband, John McIntire, co-starred as wagon master Chris Hale from 1961-65.

Nolan guest starred three times from 1963-64 on Dr. Kildare and in a 1964 episode of Richard Crenna's short-lived Slattery's People, a political drama series on CBS. Earlier, she had appeared with Crenna and Walter Brennan in their sitcom, The Real McCoys.

Nolan played the role of witches in two of Rod Serling's anthology television series The Twilight Zone; in the episode "Jess-Belle" with Anne Francis, and the Night Gallery segment "Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay" opposite James Farentino and Michele Lee.

On November 4, 1965, Nolan portrayed the treacherous Ma Burns in "The Golden Trail" episode of NBC's Laredo. Ma Burns is a supposedly refined woman trying to hijack a presumed gold shipment headed to Laredo from St. Louis. In actuality, the cargo consists of thirty-six bottles of Tennessee whisky.[5] She was also cast on Laredo as Martha Tuforth in "It's the End of the Road, Stanley" (1966) and as Vita Rose in "Like One of the Family" (1967). Laredo was a two-season spinoff of The Virginian, whose cast Nolan joined in 1967 as Holly Grainger, along with her husband John McIntire who headed the cast as ranch owner Clay Grainger.[6]

In 1968, Nolan was cast as a mother who has lost her only child who was shot shortly after a robbery, in the NBC police drama, Ironside episode "All in a Day's Work".

Nolan guest-starred on the short-lived sitcom, The Mothers-in-Law in two separate episodes in the second and final season of the series. She first played Kaye Ballard's grandmother, Gabriela Balotta, who always fainted when she didn't get her way; and then secondly as Annie MacTaggart, a Scottish nanny hired to take care of newborn twins of the younger couple, Jerry and Suzie Buell.

In 1974, she starred briefly with Dack Rambo in CBS's Dirty Sally, a spinoff of the Gunsmoke, where she had played a recurring guest role for eight episodes. She also played the titular role in the award-winning short film Peege (1972) because of her Gunsmoke connection.[7] In all, Nolan appeared as a guest star in television's Gunsmoke more than any other female.

She also lent her voice to several Walt Disney animated films. Most notably as Widow Tweed, the kindly old lady who adopts an orphan fox in the 1981 feature The Fox and the Hound.

Nolan portrayed Mrs. Peck in the episode Double Shock of Peter Falk's Columbo series. She played Alma, Rose Nylund's adoptive mother, in an episode of the hit NBC sitcom, The Golden Girls.

Her final film appearance was in Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer as Redford's mother.

Personal life and death

Nolan graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in her native Los Angeles, California.[3]

In 1935, Nolan married actor John McIntire; the couple remained together until his death in 1991. The couple had two children, one of whom was the actor Tim McIntire, who was best known for his turn as the legendary DJ Alan Freed in the 1978 film American Hot Wax.

Nolan and McIntire worked together several times from the late 1960s on, sometimes as voice actors. They appeared in a 1969 KCET television reading of Norman Corwin's 1938 radio play The Plot to Overthrow Christmas, with McIntire as the Devil and Nolan as Lucrezia Borgia. In 1977 they appeared in the 23rd Disney animated film The Rescuers, in which McIntire voiced the cat Rufus and Nolan the muskrat Ellie Mae. Four years later, the couple worked on the 24th Disney film, The Fox and the Hound, with McIntire as the voice of Mr. Digger, a badger, and Nolan as the voice of Widow Tweed, the old kindly widow who takes in Tod after his mother is killed by an off-screen hunter.

They guest starred on screen together in an episode of Charlie's Angels in 1979, The Incredible Hulk in 1980, Goliath Awaits in 1981, Quincy, M.E. in 1983, and Night Court in 1985, playing Dan Fielding's hick parents. Nolan died of a stroke at age 86 in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on June 5, 1998, and was buried in Eureka, Montana's Tobacco Valley Cemetery.[8]

Selected filmography


  1. "Jeanette Nolan", Television Academy, retrieved November 29, 2015<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Jeanette Nolan Biography (1911-1998)". NetIndustries, LLC. Retrieved 2008-12-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Erickson, Hal. "Jeanette Nolan - Trailer - Showtimes - Cast - Movies & TV - (1st page)". Allmovie. New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-13. her stylized, Scottish-burred interpretation of Lady MacBeth was almost universally panned by contemporary critics, but her performance holds up superbly when seen today.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "The New Pictures". Time (magazine). Nov 1, 1948. Retrieved 2008-12-13. The on-again-off-again use of a Scotch burr by some of the actors, including the star, does not help; but the production's main fault is that Welles and his leading lady (Jeanette Nolan) play their roles, for most of 95 minutes, at the top of their lungs.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Laredo Episode 8 "The Golden Trail"". Retrieved January 10, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), pp. 115-116
  7. "Little-Known 'Peege' Named to National Film Registry" (Press release). Send2Press. January 15, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Gray, Tam Martinides; Michele Lynn Orecklin; Jessica Yadegaran (Jun 22, 1998). "Milestones". Time (magazine). Retrieved 2008-12-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links