Actor Neville Brand

Lawrence Neville Brand (August 13, 1920 – April 16, 1992) was an American actor. His most memorable film roles were in Stalag 17 (1953), Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954), and Birdman of Alcatraz (1962). Brand was a highly decorated World War II combat soldier.

Early life

Neville Brand was born in Griswold, Iowa, one of seven children of Leo Thomas Brand (June 24, 1892 – April 18, 1985) and the former Helen Louise Davis (August 4, 1900 – October 23, 1991). His father had worked as an electrician and bridge-building ironworker in Detroit. Neville was raised in Kewanee, Illinois, where he attended high school. After his schooling he helped support the family, employed as a soda jerk, waiter, and shoe salesman in Kewanee.

He entered the Illinois Army National Guard on October 23, 1939, as a private in Company F, 129th Infantry Regiment. He was enlisted in the United States Army as Corporal Neville L. Brand, infantryman on March 5, 1941.

World War II

Brand trained at Fort Carson and served in World War II, seeing action with B company, 331st Infantry Regiment of the 83rd Infantry Division (Thunderbolt Division) in the Ardennes, Rhineland and Central European campaigns. Brand, a sergeant and platoon leader, was wounded in action along the Weser River on April 7, 1945. His upper right arm was hit by a bullet, and he nearly bled to death.

Brand was awarded the Silver Star, the third-highest decoration for valor in the U.S. military, for gallantry in combat. His other awards and decorations were the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three Battle Stars, one Overseas Service Bar, one Service Stripe and the Combat Infantryman Badge. In a 1966 interview Brand explained the Silver Star, stating that withering fire from German machine guns in a hunting lodge kept him and his unit pinned down. “I must have flipped my lid,” he said. “I decided to go into that lodge.” He was discharged from service in October 1945.

Brand worked on a 1946 U.S. Army Signal Corps film with Charlton Heston and next settled in Greenwich Village and enrolled at the American Theatre Wing, working off-Broadway, including Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Victors. He also attended the Geller Drama School in Los Angeles on the G.I. Bill.

Acting career

Early roles

Brand had an uncredited bit in Battleground (1949) and Port of New York (1949). His first credited part was in D.O.A. (1950) as a henchman named Chester. His hulking physique, rough-hewn, craggy-faced looks and gravelly voice led to him largely playing gangsters, Western outlaws and various screen “heavies”, cops and other tough-guy roles throughout his career.

Brand was uncredited in My Foolish Heart (1949), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), and curiously Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye where he plays a significant early role, (1950) but had a good role on TV in The Bigelow Theatre.

Brand’s parts slowly grew bigger: Halls of Montezuma (1951), Only the Valiant (1951), The Mob (1951), and Red Mountain (1951).

On TV he did a short, Benjy (1951), and episodes of The Unexpected and Your Favorite Story. He was in Kansas City Confidential (1952), The Turning Point (1952), and, notably, Stalag 17 (1953).

Brand was now much in demand as a support actor, appearing in The Charge at Feather River (1953), The Man from the Alamo (1953), and Gun Fury (1953).

Leading man

Brand moved up to leading roles with Man Crazy (1953) and then Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954). He was down the cast list for The Lone Gun (1954) but had the lead in Return from the Sea (1954).

Brand had a supporting role in The Prodigal (1955) and The Return of Jack Slade and guest roles in Appointment with Adventure, Screen Directors Playhouse, Studio One in Hollywood, Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre, Chevron Hall of Stars, Schlitz Playhouse, General Electric Theater, The United States Steel Hour, and Stage 7.

He had lead roles in Bobby Ware Is Missing (1955) and Fury at Gunsight Pass (1956) and supported in Raw Edge (1956), and Mohawk (1956).

He had the distinction of being the first actor to portray outlaw Butch Cassidy, in the film The Three Outlaws opposite Alan Hale Jr. as the Sundance Kid. Though not the big-budget romp that the later Paul Newman–Robert Redford film was, both Brand’s Cassidy and Hale’s Kid were played as likable outlaws, a rare change from Brand’s typecasting as a murderous psycho. He followed it with Gun Brothers (1956).

Brand became well known as a villain when he killed the character played by Elvis Presley in his debut film Love Me Tender (1956). He was in The Way to the Gold (1957), The Lonely Man (1957), The Tin Star (1957), Cry Terror! (1958), and Badman’s Country (1958).

He often had better roles on such TV shows as Climax!, Playhouse 90, Target and notably an adaptation of All the King’s Men for Kraft Theatre, directed by Sidney Lumet, playing Willie Stark.

Brand was also a guest star on The Texan, Pursuit, Zane Grey Theater, and The Dupont Show of the Month (doing Body and Soul with Ben Gazzara).

Al Capone

Brand twice portrayed Al Capone on the television series The Untouchables, in the pilot and in the double episode “The Big Train”, as well as often glimpses in flashback throughout the series.

Brand was in Five Gates to Hell (1959), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960), The Last Sunset (1961), and The George Raft Story (1961), reprising his role as Al Capone in the latter.

He guest-starred on Straightaway, Cain’s Hundred, Death Valley Days, The Joey Bishop Show, Naked City, The DuPont Show of the Week, Ben Casey, Rawhide, The Lieutenant, Theatre of Stars, Arrest and Trial, Destry, Wagon Train, Suspense, Combat!, and Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and the Virginian

He also portrayed a prison guard of Birdman of Alcatraz, was second billed in Hero’s Island (1962) and had a key role in That Darn Cat! (1965).

Brand co-starred with George Takei in “The Encounter,” a 1964 episode of the Twilight Zone, as a World War II veteran. CBS considered the episode’s theme of US-Japanese hatred “too disturbing” to include when the series was syndicated. “The Encounter” was not seen after its initial airing until it was released on video in 1992 as part of the Treasures of the Twilight Zone collection.


Brand was given the star role in a TV series, Laredo (1965–67) which ran for 56 episodes.

Brand played a heartwarming character who was brain damaged and misunderstood in an episode of the television series Daniel Boone. He guest-starred on Tarzan.

He was in The Desperados (1969) and played U.S. Navy Lieutenant Kaminsky, ignored as he tried to warn his commander of the opening skirmish in Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970).


In the 1970s Brand could be seen in Westward the Wagon (1971), Lock, Stock and Barrel (1971), The Chicago Teddy Bears, Marriage: Year One, and The Smith Family. He played Hoss Cartwright’s (Dan Blocker) Swedish uncle Gunnar Borgstrom on Bonanza in the episode “The Last Viking”.

He was in Longstreet, Alias Smith and Jones, Adventures of Nick Carter, Marcus Welby, M.D., Two for the Money (1972), No Place to Run (1972), The Police Connection (1972), This Is a Hijack (1973), Cahill, U.S. Marshal (1973) with John Wayne, Scalawag (1973), The Magician, The Deadly Trackers (1973) with Richard Harris, Killdozer (1974), Death Stalk (1975), Police Story, Police Woman, Barbary Coast, Kojak, Mobile One, McCloud, Psychic Killer (1975), Island of Adventure, The Quest, and Captains and the Kings.

Brand was top billed in Eaten Alive (1976) directed by Tobe Hooper. He was in Fire! (1977), The Mouse and His Child (1977), Baretta, Captains Courageous, Man from Atlantis, Quincy M.E., The Seekers and Hi-Riders (1978). He had a key part in Five Days from Home (1978) directed by George Peppard, and in Angels’ Brigade (1979).


In 1980, Brand appeared as Major Marvin Groper in The Ninth Configuration, written and directed by The Exorcist author William Peter Blatty.

His final roles included Fantasy Island, Without Warning (1980), Harper Valley P.T.A., and The Return (1982). He was top billed in his last film, Evils of the Night (1985).

Personal life

Brand was an insatiable reader who amassed a collection of 30,000 books over the years, many of which were destroyed in a 1978 fire at his Malibu home. He and his wife, Rae, had three daughters.

A Republican, he supported the campaign of Dwight Eisenhower during the 1952 presidential election.

In 1975 Brand admitted in an interview that he was an alcoholic, and had spent most of his fortune.


Brand died from emphysema at Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, California, on April 16, 1992, at age 71. After a private funeral service he was cremated, and his remains were interred in a niche of the Morning Glory Room at East Lawn Memorial Park in Sacramento.

Selected filmography


  • Port of New York (1949) as Ike – Stasser’s Henchman (uncredited)
  • My Foolish Heart (1949) as Football Game Spectator (uncredited)
  • D.O.A. (1950) as Chester
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) as Steve, Scalise Hood (uncredited)
  • Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) as Carleton (uncredited)
  • Halls of Montezuma (1951) as Sgt. Zelenko
  • Only the Valiant (1951) as Sgt. Ben Murdock
  • The Mob (1951) as Gunner
  • Red Mountain (1951) as Lt. Dixon
  • Flame of Araby (1951) as Kral
  • Kansas City Confidential (1952) as Boyd Kane
  • The Turning Point (1952) as Red
  • Stalag 17 (1953) as Duke
  • The Charge at Feather River (1953) as Pvt. Morgan
  • The Man from the Alamo (1953) as Dawes
  • Gun Fury (1953) as Brazos
  • Man Crazy (1953) as Paul Wocynski
  • Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954) as James V. Dunn
  • Prince Valiant (1954) as Viking Warrior Chief (uncredited)
  • The Lone Gun (1954) as Tray Moran
  • Return from the Sea (1954) as CPO Chuck ‘Soup Bowl’ MacLish
  • The Prodigal (1955) as Rhakim
  • The Return of Jack Slade (1955) as Harry Sutton
  • Bobby Ware Is Missing (1955) as Police Lt. Andy Flynn
  • Fury at Gunsight Pass (1956) as Dirk Hogan
  • Raw Edge (1956) as Tarp Penny
  • Mohawk (1956) as Rokhawah
  • The Three Outlaws (1956) as Butch Cassidy
  • Gun Brothers (1956) as Jubal Santee
  • Love Me Tender (1956) as Mike Gavin
  • The Way to the Gold (1957) as Little Brother Williams
  • The Lonely Man (1957) as King Fisher
  • The Tin Star (1957) as Bart Bogardus
  • Cry Terror! (1958) as Steve
  • Badman’s Country (1958) as Butch Cassidy
  • Five Gates to Hell (1959) as Chen Pamok
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960) as Pap Finn
  • The Last Sunset (1961) as Frank Hobbs
  • The George Raft Story (1961) as Al Capone
  • Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) as Bull Ransom
  • Hero’s Island (1962) as Kingstree
  • That Darn Cat! (1965) as Dan
  • Three Guns for Texas (1968) as Texas Ranger Reese Bennett
  • Backtrack (1969) as Texas Ranger Reese Bennett (archive footage)
  • The Desperados (1969) as Marshal Kilpatrick
  • Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) as Lieutenant Kaminsky
  • The Mad Bomber (1973) as George Fromley
  • This Is a Hijack (1973) as Dominic
  • Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973) as Lightfoot
  • Scalawag (1973) as Brimstone / Mudhook
  • The Deadly Trackers (1973) as Choo Choo
  • Killdozer! (1974) (TV) as Chub Foster
  • Psychic Killer (1975) as Lemonowski
  • Eaten Alive (1977) as Judd
  • Fire! (1977) (TV) as Larry Durant
  • The Mouse and His Child (1977) as Iggy (voice)
  • Hi-Riders (1978) as Red
  • The Seekers (1979) (TV) as Capt. Isaac Drew
  • Five Days from Home (1979) as Inspector Markley
  • Angels’ Brigade (1979) as Miller
  • The Ninth Configuration (1980) as Maj. Marvin Groper
  • Without Warning (1980) as Leo
  • The Return (1980) as Walt
  • Evils of the Night (1985) as Kurt (filmed in 1983; final film role)
  • Television

  • Stage 7 – episode – “Armed” (1955) as Maj. Stevens
  • The Scarface Mob – television movie (1959) as Al Capone
  • The Untouchables – episode – Pilot (1959–1961) as Al Capone
  • Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse – episodes – “The Untouchables: Parts 1 & 2” (1959) as Al Capone
  • Bonanza (1960–1971, three episodes) as Gunnar Borgstrom / Pepper Shannon / Doyle
  • Rawhide – episode – “Incident of the Devil and His Due” (1960) as Gaff
  • Straightaway – episode – “The Tin Caesar” (1961) as Sheriff Bardeen
  • Death Valley Days – episode – “Preacher with a Past” (1962) as John Wesley Hardin
  • Ben Casey – episode – “Will Everyone Who Believes in Terry Dunne Please Applaud” (1963) as Terry Dunne
  • The Lieutenant – episode – “The Two Star Giant” (1963) as General Stone
  • Rawhide – episode – “Incident of the Red Wind” (1963) as Lou Bowdark
  • Wagon Train (1964) as Zebedee Titus / Sheriff Frank Lewis aka Jed Whitmore
  • Destry – episode – “The Solid Gold Girl” (1964) as Johnny Washburn
  • The Twilight Zone – episode – “The Encounter” (1964) as Fenton
  • Combat! – episode – “Fly Away Home” (1964) as Sergeant Keeley
  • Gunsmoke – episode – “Kioga” (1965) as Jayce McCaw
  • The Virginian (1965–1970) as Sheriff Wintle / Reese Bennett
  • Laredo (1965–1967) as Reese Bennett
  • Daniel Boone – episode – “Tanner” (1967) as Tanner
  • Tarzan – episode – “Alex the Great” (1968) as Alex Spence
  • Alias Smith and Jones (1971–1972) as Chuck Gorman / Sam Bacon
  • Marcus Welby, M.D. – episode – “Don’t Talk About Darkness” (1972) as Kenny Carpenter
  • Longstreet – episode – “Survival Times Two” (1972) as La Brien
  • McCloud (1972–1975) as Burl Connors / Det. Lt. Roy Mackie / Fred Schultke
  • The Magician – episode – “Lighting on a Dry Day” (1973) as Sheriff Platt
  • Kojak – episode – “Sweeter Than Life” (1975) as Sonny South
  • Police Story – episode – “War Games” (1975) as Norman Schoeler
  • Police Woman – episode – “The Loner” (1975) as Briscoe
  • Swiss Family Robinson – episode – “Jean LaFitte: Part 1” (1976) as Gambi
  • Captains and the Kings (1976) as O’Herlihy
  • Captains Courageous (1977) as Little Penn
  • The Eddie Capra Mysteries – episode – “Murder Plays a Dead Hand” (1979) as Frankie Dallas
  • Quincy, M.E. – episode – “Dark Angel” (1979) as Police Officer Tommy Bates
  • Fantasy Island – episode – “Nona/One Million B.C.” (1980) as Lucus
  • Footnotes

  • ^ Twilight Zone Encyclopedia
  • ^ Neville Brand; Tough-Guy Actor, Decorated War Hero Los Angeles Times April 18, 1992: VYA18.
  • ^ Neville Brand Signed for ‘Kansas City 117’ Los Angeles Times June 8, 1952: E3.
  • ^ Sperling Aims Yordan Tale at Brando; Neville Brand Again Will Star Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times September 15, 1953: B7.
  • ^ MOVIELAND EVENTS: Neville Brand to Star With Montgomery Los Angeles Times October 15, 1957: A9.
  • ^ Drama: James Arness Will Star in Rome; Neville Brand to Menace Jack Palance Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times March 20, 1956: A7.
  • ^ ‘BODY AND SOUL’ ADEQUATE PUNCH Page, Don. Los Angeles Times September 29, 1959: A9.
  • ^ Gordon Kay Slates Huffaker ‘Posse’: Los Angeles Times May 12, 1960: C9.
  • ^ a b Presnell, Don; McGee, Marty (1998). A Critical History of Television’s The Twilight Zone, 1959–1964. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-7864-3886-0.
  • ^ a b Courtney, Steve (October 8, 1992). “Treasures of the Twilight Zone”. Hartford Courant. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  • ^ “Niche for Neville? Try and Find One,” Los Angeles Times November 30, 1965: c20.
  • ^ John Carradine, Neville Brand Rescued in 2 Southland Blazes Los Angeles Times December 9, 1978: A36.
  • ^ Lambert, Bruce (April 19, 1992). “Neville Brand, 71, Craggy Actor Known for Many Roles as Villains”. The New York Times. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  • ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 34, Ideal Publishers
  • ^ Stingley, Jim. “Neville Brand’s 5-Year Lost Weekend: New Spring in His Step”. Los Angeles Times March 9, 1975: s26.
  • ^ “Death takes tough-guy actor Neville Brand, 71”. The Bulletin. April 19, 1992. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  • ^ “Private Service Planned for Neville Brand”. The Los Angeles Times. April 19, 1992. p. 13.
  • ^ “Capital’s Elite Address Residents Treasure “Fabulous Forties””. The Sacramento Bee. August 8, 1993. p. B1.
  • External Links

    Actor Neville Brand – Wikipedia

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