Lois Nettleton (Lois June Nettleton)

Lois Nettleton

Lois Nettleton was born on August 16, 1927 in Oak Park, Illinois to Virginia and Edward L. Nettleton. She was Miss Chicago of 1948 as well as a semifinalist at the Miss America 1948 Pageant. Her professional acting career began in 1949. She understudied Barbara Bel Geddes in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and first appeared on television in a 1954 episode of Captain Video. Nettleton played Patsy in the radio soap opera The Brighter Day. She performed in dozens of guest-starring roles on television shows. Early roles included The Twilight Zone (episode “The Midnight Sun”, 1961); Naked City; Route 66; Mr. Novak; The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (episode “The Dark Pool”, 1963); The Eleventh Hour; Dr. Kildare; Twelve O’Clock High; The Fugitive; The F.B.I.; Bonanza; Gunsmoke; The Virginian and Daniel Boone. She appeared in the pilot episode of The Eddie Capra Mysteries in 1978, as well as hit TV miniseries such as Washington: Behind Closed Doors and Centennial, as the villainous Maude Wendell. In 1973 she appeared on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Lou Grant’s new boss, Barbara Coleman, where she had a crush on Mr. Grant. In 1987, she portrayed the role of Penny VanderHof Sycamore on the TV series version of the classic Kaufman and Hart comedy play You Can’t Take It with You with Harry Morgan and Richard Sanders. She was a regular celebrity guest on various versions of the game show Pyramid from the 1970s through 1991. Nettleton won two Emmy Awards during her career. She won one for her role as Susan B. Anthony in the television film The American Woman: Profiles in Courage (1977), and for “A Gun For Mandy” (1983), which was an episode of the religious anthology, Insight. She received an Emmy Award nomination for “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series” for an episode of The Golden Girls. She also received Emmy nominations for her work in the TV movie Fear on Trial (1975) (“Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special”) and for a recurring role on the series In the Heat of the Night, in 1989 (“Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series”). Nettleton appeared in a 2006 Christmas TV movie special, The Christmas Card.

A life member of The Actors Studio, Nettleton made her Broadway debut in the 1949 production of Dalton Trumbo’s play, The Biggest Thief in Town using the name “Lydia Scott.” She appeared in a 1959 off-Broadway production of Look Charlie, which was written by her future husband, humorist Jean Shepherd. She received critical praise for her performance as Blanche DuBois in a 1973 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. Nettleton was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as “Amy” in a 1976 revival of They Knew What They Wanted. Other stage credits include Broadway productions of Darkness at Noon and Silent Night, Lonely Night. She continued to act onstage into her seventies. Her final stage performance was in 2004, in an off-Broadway play, How to Build a Better Tulip. Her film roles included Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd (1957), Tennessee Williams’ Period of Adjustment (1962), Come Fly with Me (1963), Mail Order Bride (1964), The Bamboo Saucer (1968), The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (1969), Dirty Dingus Magee (1970), Weekend of Terror (1970), Pigeons (1971), Terror in the Sky (1971), Women in Chains (1972), The Honkers (1972), The Man in the Glass Booth (1975), Echoes of a Summer (1976), Deadly Blessing (1981), Butterfly (1982), Colin Higgins’ The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), and Mirror, Mirror 2: Raven Dance (1994). Nettleton died at the age of 80, from lung cancer, in Woodland Hills, California on January 18, 2008. She was interred in New York City’s Saint Raymond’s Cemetery.

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  • August, 16, 1927
  • USA
  • Oak Park, Illinois


  • January, 18, 2008
  • USA
  • Woodland Hills, California

Cause of Death

  • lung cancer


  • Saint Raymonds Cemetery (New)
  • Bronx, New York
  • USA

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