Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gerald S. O’Loughlin Passes On

Gerald S. O’Loughlin, perhaps best known for his starring role on the Seventies TV series The Rookies, died on July 31 2015 at the age of 93.

Gerald S. O’Loughlin was born on December 23 1921 in New York City. He grew up in Spring Valley, New York. During World War II he served in the United States Marines. After the war he studied acting at the Neighbourhood Playhouse and later the Actors Studio. He appeared on Broadway in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Golden Boy, a revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, and Who’ll Save the Plowboy.

Mr. O'Loughlin made his television debut in 1952 in an episode of Suspense. In the Fifties he guest starred on the shows Goodyear Playhouse, Mister Peepers, The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, and The Witness. He made his film debut in Lovers and Lollipops (1956). He appeared in the films A Hatful of Rain (1957) and Cop Hater (1958).

In the Sixties he appeared in what may be his best known film role, that of Harold Nye, an agent of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, in the film In Cold Blood. He also appeared in the films Ensign Pulver (1964), A Fine Madness (1966), A Man Called Adam (1966), Ice Station Zebra (1968),   and Riot (1969). On television he had recurring roles on the soap operas The Doctors and The Guiding Light. He guest starred on such shows as The United States Steel Hour, The Asphalt Jungle, Ben Casey, Naked City, Dr. Kildare, The Defenders, Gunsmoke, The Green Hornet, Judd for the Defence, Mission: Impossible, Medical Centre, Then Came Bronson, Hawaii Five-O, and Ironside.

In the Seventies Gerald O'Loughlin starred as Lt. Ryker, the experienced police officer in charge of a group of cops who were new to the job on The Rookies. He guest starred on such shows as Storefront Lawyers, Nichols, The F.B.I., Room 222, and The Eddie Capra Mysteries. He appeared in the films The Organization (1971), The Valachi Papers (1972), and Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977).

In the Eighties Mr. O'Loughlin played Capt. E. G. Boyd on the short lived show Automan and next door neighbour Joe Kaplan on Our House. He played Sgt. O'Toole in the mini-series The Blue and the Grey. He guest starred on such shows as Charlie's Angels, Trapper John M.D., M*A*S*H, Quincy M.E., Too Close for Comfort, and Highway to Heaven. He appeared in Frances (1982), Crimes of Passion (1984), City Heat (1984), and Quicksilver (1986).

From the Nineties into the Naughts he guest starred on such shows as Murder, She Wrote; ER, Chicago Hope, The Division, and Judging Amy. He appeared in the films The Secret Kingdom (1998), 3 Strikes (2000), and Destinesia (2008).

Gerald O'Loughlin was best known for playing tough guys in positions of authority. Throughout his career he more often than not played police officers or members of the military. What is more, he was very good at it. He was convincing as Harold Nye in In Cold Blood and as Lt. Ryker on The Rookies. That having been said, he could play much more than tough guys. Indeed, what may be his best known television role besides that of Lt. Ryker was Joe Kaplan, Gus Witherspoon's avuncular Jewish neighbour and best friend on Our House. It is hard to picture Joe as a police officer, much less making a career out of the military. Despite this, Mr. O'Loughlin played Joe as well as he did Lt. Ryker. Ultimately Gerald O'Loughlin was a fine actor who did well by every role he played.

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