It seems as if this January has seen more celebrity deaths than usual. Two actors died recently that I did not get around mentioning. Today the daughter of an American president and author died.
Stage, film, and television actress Lois Nettleton died January 18 at the age of 80 after a battle with lung cancer.
Netttleton was born in Oak Grove, Illinois on August 6, 1927. In 1948 she won the "Miss Chicago" title. She was a semifinalist in the Miss America pageant. She studied at Chicago's Goodman Theatre and the Actors Studio in New York. She made her debut on Broadway in the play The Biggest Thief in Town. Over the years she appeared in several Broadway productions, among them Darkness at Noon (1949), Silent Night, Lonely Night (1959), a revival of A Streetcar Named Desire (1973), and Strangers (1979). She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play in 1976 for They Knew What They Wanted.
Nettleton also had an extensive career in television. Her first appearance on the small screen was guest starring in an episode of Man Against Crime in 1953. Throughout the Fifties she guest starred on such shows as Captain Video, Studio One, Kraft Television Theatre, and The U.S. Steel Hour. She was a regular on the series The Brighter Day. In the Sixties she guest starred on The Twilight Zone, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Dr. Kildare, The Fugitive, Bonanza, and Daniel Boone. She was a regular on the series Accidental Family. From the Seventies to the Naughts she guested on such shows as Night Gallery, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Kung Fu, The Flash, Babylon 5, and Seinfeld. She appeared in the mini-series Centennial and was a regular on In the Heat of the Night and a semi-regular called Crossing Jordan.
She made her film debut in a bit appearance in the movie A Face in a Crowd. Over the years Nettleton appeared in such films as Period of Adjustment, Echoes of a Summer, The Man in the Glass Booth, and Deadly Blessing.
Lois Nettleton was an extremely talented actress who had a very rich career. Many will perhaps remember her for her guest appearance on The Twlight Zone in the episode "The Midnight Sun," in which she played one of two women trying to cope when the earth fell out of orbit.
Character actor Jack Eagle died January 10. He is perhaps best known for his role as Brother Dominic in a Xerox commercial which aired during the 1977 Super Bowl. He was 81 years old.
Jack Eagle was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 15, 1926. He was a stand up comedian in the Catskills for over forty years. He also played trumpet during the Big Band era. By the early Sixties he started doing commercials. Over the years he appeared in over fifty commercials. Eagle also appeared on television shows ranging from The Merv Griffin Show to Captain Kangaroo.
Although he never appeared in a major role in movies or TV series, Eagle was undoubtedly talented. His Xerox commercial is often counted among the 100 greatest commercials of all time, it is largely because of his performance. He was truly gifted when it came to acting in ads.
Today Margaret Truman Daniel, the daughter of President Harry Truman and well known mystery writer. She was 83 years old.
Margaret Truman was born February 17, 1924 in Independence, Missouri. Growing up she had aspirations to be a singer. Following her graduation from George Washington University in Washington D.C., she trained to be an opera singer. Ultimately, Truman would not have a singing career. Instead she would host her own radio show, Authors in the News for several years. She also co-hosted the radio show Weekday with Mike Wallace and hosted The CBS International Hour.
Besides being Harry Truman's daughter, it would be as a writer that Truman would become best known. Her first book, the memoir Souvenir, Margaret Truman's Own Story was published in 1956. She would write several other nonfiction books over the years, including Harry Truman (1973), First Ladies, and The President's House: 1800 to the Present. She was perhaps better known for her mysteries, the first of which was Murder in the White House first published in 1980. She would write over twenty mysteries, including Murder at the Kennedy Center and Murder at Ford's Theater.
Although no one would mistake her works for Shakespeare, Margaret Truman's mysteries were always entertaining and rich in detail. She was a fairly gifted writer. Her nonfiction works were always informative and, like her mysteries, full of detail. While she is perhaps best known as the daughter of President Harry Truman, she definitely deserves to be remembered as a writer.