Portly Professors & Disturbed Doctors – Lloyd Corrigan (1900–1969)

Posted in Rewind by - July 23, 2015
Portly Professors & Disturbed Doctors – Lloyd Corrigan (1900–1969)

A scene-stealing character actor, the chubby and cheerful Lloyd Corrigan was often seen in comedy, but was equally adept at villainous roles. He played doctors, professors and other eminent characters, and directed some early features, notably the 1937 crime flick ‘Night Key’ with Boris Karloff. Also a gifted writer, he even found time to co-script Paramount’s popular “Fu Manchu” films, starring Warner Oland.

Born in California on October 16th 1900, Corrigan began acting in the silent days although he spent much of these early years writing and directing before turning to full-time acting in 1939. Following a funny turn in the Bob Hope vehicle ‘The Ghost Breakers’ (40), and a small role in the western favourite ‘The Return of Frank James’ (‘40), Lloyd had the recurring part of harassed millionaire Arthur Manleder in six of the ‘Boston Blackie’ film series, between 1941 & ’45. During this time he also played a likable Sheik in ‘Tarzan’s Desert Mystery’ (’43), a grocer in Oscar favourite ‘Since You Went Away’ (’44), and was very good as the unstable Doctor Clayworth (the surprise villain) in the fun mystery ‘The Thin Man Goes Home’ (’44). In fact, in these first five years Corrigan would appear in over fifty movies.

After playing the Sheriff of Nottingham in ‘The Bandit of Sherwood Forest’ (’46) a rare lead role came in John Sturges little-seen noir ‘Shadowed’ (’46), as a widower who stumbles upon a dead showgirl while playing golf. Another noir followed, ‘The Chase’ (’46) and this time he was the murder victim, a shipping magnate named Emmerrich Johnson. It was a good performance, after which came yet another thriller, the Ray Milland vehicle ‘The Big Clock’ (’48), although this time Lloyd was purely the comic relief.

The Fifties began with notable parts in ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ (‘50), as bakery owner and poet Ragueneau, and the comedy sequel ‘Son of Paleface’ (’52) as the scheming undercover agent Doc Lovejoy. With movie roles now sporadic, Lloyd would become a firm fixture on television. He was university head Dean Dodsworth in ‘The Ray Milland Show’ (’53-55) and then adventurer Ned Buntline in ‘The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp’ (‘57-60). Perhaps his greatest television role at this time was playing the wonderfully named Wally Dipple, the friendly neighbour, in ‘The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet’, from 1954 to 1960. Returning to the big screen Corrigan had a small but memorable role of a newspaper columnist who is murdered by his brainwashed employee (Laurence Harvey) in John Frankenheimer’s superb thriller ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ (‘62).

Following his role as the mayor in Stanley Kramer’s epic comedy ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ (63) Lloyd spent his remaining few years back in television with stints on various popular shows including ‘Lassie’, ‘Perry Mason’, and ‘The Lucy Show’, before retiring from the screen in 1966.

After a varied career spanning 40 years, Lloyd Corrigan died aged 69 on November 5th 1969. The multi-talented Corrigan was always a welcome presence, with his befuddled and wide-eyed expressions which occasionally hid a more sinister side. Though to me it’s his cheerful and often nervous characters that I fondly recall when I see his name up on the screen.

Favourite Movie: The Ghost Breakers
Favourite Performance: The Thin Man Goes Home

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