It was my great privilege meeting Norman Lloyd in 1973, when he was the Executive Producer for KCET’s Hollywood Television Theater. He wanted me to play Napoleon Bonaparte in a production of G.B. Shaw’s Man of Destiny, in exchange for which he offered me the opportunity to direct Arthur Miller’s Incident At Vichy. I was thrilled and excited to accept his offer, and when I arrived at the KCET studios to meet him, he was just getting out of his car in full tennis attire.
“I’ll be with you a minute, Stace. Take a seat in my office. I need a quick shower, then we’ll talk.”
Norman was an avid tennis player, and I have no doubt that his longevity at 106 was at least partially due to his physical stamina, as he continued to play the game well into his 90’s.
He joined me in his office eating a blueberry muffin.
“In order to make you look small as Napoleon, we’re going to oversize all the furniture, you’ll love it,” Norman chuckled.
He possessed a boundless energy, a great sense of humor, and I loved hearing the stories of his working with Orson Welles and the days of the Mercury Theater. And in fact, his relationship with John Houseman provided me with the opportunity, the following year, to direct Mr. Houseman and Andy Griffith in a production of Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters In Search of An Author.
A few years ago, I had the great honor of sitting down with Norman for an interview about that production and working together. I will always be indebted to him for giving me the opportunity to direct.
I will always remember him saying, “One of the most important things in life is tradition. Innovation is often carved from history. We must always cherish the past.”
Thank you, Norman for your talent, your wisdom, and your indominable spirit.
We will cherish your memory and your inspiration, always.