Rediscoveries

Nehemiah Persoff (images courtesy IMDB)

Norman Lloyd

One way I’m passing the time during the coronavirus pandemic is to watch every single episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. (Expect my ranking of the top 20 episodes later this year.) This smorgasbord of suspense has led me to rediscover two Hollywood icons: Nehemiah Persoff and Norman Lloyd. They both worked on Hitchcock’s show, Persoff as an actor in one of the best episodes (“Heart of Gold” from 1957) and Lloyd as a producer.

You’ve seen performances by both men, though you may not know it. Persoff, one of the original members of Elia Kazan’s Actors Studio, played the lead in arguably the best Twilight Zone episode ever (“Judgment Night”), in addition to Little Bonaparte in Some Like It Hot and the non-speaking taxi driver in On the Waterfront. (Who can forget that face when he realizes Charley has betrayed Johnny Friendly?) And Lloyd started his career with Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre before going on to work with Charlie Chaplin in Limelight. But he might be best known to modern audiences for his roles in Dead Poet’s Society and the television series St. Elsewhere.

But the most amazing fact — and the reason I mention both men — is that they are still alive. Persoff is 100, and Lloyd is 105.

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