Norman Lloyd will turn 100 on November 8 but he shows no signs of
slowing down. On Sunday he starred in a production of George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House staged by CART, the
California Artists Radio Theatre and directed by its founder, the indomitable
Peggy Webber. He brought his customary vigor and booming voice to the acid-tongued
character of Captain Shotover–who is supposed to be a mere 88 years old—and wowed
an audience packed with friends, fans, and colleagues.
Appearing with Norman were Ed Asner, Samantha Eggar, Paul
Keith, Monte Markham, Diane Mercer, Phil Proctor, Charlotte Rae, Charles
Shaughnessy, and Jane Windsor, with John Harlan announcing and Tony Palermo
doing live sound effects. Despite having had little time for rehearsal, these
seasoned actors made the most of Shaw’s trenchantly witty play about a
civilization in decline; first performed in 1919, the material is as timely as
ever. I was pleased to help out by introducing Norman and some special guests in
Norman Lloyd is the only man I know who can talk first-hand
about working with Orson Welles, John Houseman, Alfred Hitchcock, Jean Renoir, Charlie
Chaplin, and Martin Scorsese. (One day he even told me an anecdote about Gabby
Hayes!) His acting career ranges from the title role in Hitchcock’s Saboteur to a six-year run on the hit TV
series St. Elsewhere, while his
directing and producing credits are too numerous to mention. It’s always a
pleasure to be in his presence.
If you’ve never heard any CART productions, I encourage you
to visit the website HERE and sample a CD or MP3 of the troupe’s many fine presentations.