Actor Les Damon

Lester Joseph “Les” Damon (March 31, 1908 – July 21, 1962) was an American character actor best known for his nearly 30 years performing on radio. Out of all his appearances on radio, Damon was best remembered for his roles as Nick Charles on The Adventures of the Thin Man from 1941-1943 and again from 1946-1950 on NBC then CBS and as Michael Waring on The Falcon from 1950-1953 on Mutual.

Early years

Damon was born on March 31, 1908, in Providence, Rhode Island. He attended and graduated from Brown University.

Early career

Damon began acting in the early 1930s traveling with different stock companies in and out of the United States. Damon first started acting with the Albee Stock Company in Providence. In 1934, Damon became an apprentice with the Old Vic Company in Lambeth, England. He remained there for a year until he came back to the United States.


In 1943, Damon was drafted into the United States Military. He served in the Fourteenth Air Force of the Army Air Forces as a technical sergeant. Damon was stationed in the China Burma India Theater. He also served at the IBN outlet in Bhamo, Burma where he announced live spots between transcribed rebroadcasts of stateside programs, along with news broadcasts, interviews, and other assorted local features. Damon returned home in 1946. He was rewarded a Bronze Star for his service during World War II.


Damon returned to the States in 1938 after his stock company along his stage career folded. After struggling to establish himself as a stage actor in America, Damon went to Chicago where he a took several odd jobs in radio. He soon landed a job at Air Features, Inc., a radio production company headed by daytime radio monarchs Frank and Anne Hummert. Damon became a frequent voice in Hummert soaps of the late 1930s, usually playing either sympathetic go-getters or stern authority figures, in series such as The Romance of Helen Trent and Houseboat Hannah. Damon would remain a Hummert and daytime soap favorite through the early 1940s.

By the time the 1940s came about, Damon had been bouncing between Chicago and New York. On July 2, 1941, Damon became known as “The Thin Man” on NBC Radio’s The Adventures of the Thin Man. Damon became the title role on the program, a former private detective named Nick Charles who, each week, is drawn, usually against his own will, into investigating a murder. Damon starred in this program opposite Claudia Morgan who played his wife Nora.

Damon would leave the series shortly after its move to CBS in 1943 to serve in the military (see above). Actors David Gothard and Les Tremayne substituted for Damon as Nick Charles during Damon’s absence. Damon returned from the military in 1946 and resumed the role of Charles until December 1947. Tremayne was rehired as the role of Charles until 1948 when Joseph Curtin was hired as Charles until the program’s cancellation in 1950.

In 1950, Damon replaced Tremayne once again on the radio program The Falcon on Mutual when Damon became free-lance investigator and troubleshooter Michael Waring, also known as the Falcon. He remained on The Falcon until 1953, being replaced by actor George Petrie.

After Falcon, Damon reunited with his radio wife Claudia Morgan for a revamped version of Mutual’s Abbott Mysteries which originally was broadcast from 1945–47 and originally starred, coincidentally, Les Tremayne and Alice Reinheart in the title roles of Pat and Jean Abbott. The Damon-Morgan version was broadcast on NBC and was renamed The Adventures of the Abbotts. The show, like its predecessor, was not very popular among listeners and only was broadcast eight months from October 3, 1954–June 12, 1955.

Damon continued making frequent appearances on radio up until the end of his life. Some of those radio programs included The Lone Journey, Right to Happiness, ABC Mystery Theater, Dimension X, X Minus One and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. Damon made his last appearance on radio on the June 17, 1962 episode of Suspense entitled “Lunatic Hour”. This episode was broadcast 34 days before Damon died.


The 1950s marked Damon’s debut on television, with character roles in The Jackie Gleason Show, The Honeymooners, The Dick Powell Show, The New Breed, and Have Gun – Will Travel. Damon also garnered recurring roles on daytime television appearing on such soap operas as The Guiding Light, As The World Turns, Kitty Foyle, The Edge of Night, and Window on Main Street.

Personal life

Damon was married to radio actress Ginger Jones. The two did several radio assignments together while Damon was stationed during World War II and married in November 1943 in San Antonio, Texas. Damon and Jones had one daughter named Lisa. They were married until Damon’s death in 1962.


In July 1962, Damon was admitted into the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. On July 21, Damon died of what was later determined to be a massive heart attack. He was 54. He was survived by his wife Ginger and daughter Lisa. Damon is buried in Beverly National Cemetery in Beverly, New Jersey.[unreliable source?] Two months later in September of that year with the end of Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar marked the end of the Golden Age of Radio. Damon’s wife, Ginger, died on August 6, 2010 at 94. She is buried with her family in Kinderhook, Illinois.



Year Title Role Notes
1949 Studio One 1 episode
The Guiding Light Bruce Banning Unknown episodes
1953 The Big Story Robert L. Chase / Kleger 2 episodes
1953-1956 Robert Montgomery Presents Mose Higgins 2 episodes
1954-1957 The Jackie Gleason Show Various guest appearances 6 episodes
1955-1956 The Honeymooners Various guest appearances 4 episodes
1956-1957 As the World Turns James “Jim” Lowell, Jr. Original cast
1957-1958 The Edge of Night Asst. Dist. Attn. Ed Palmerlee
1957 Decoy Mr. Kitteridge 1 episode
1958 Kitty Foyle Rosie Rittenhouse 1 episode
1961 Window on Main Street Earl Greenough 2 episodes
1962 Bus Stop Stratton 1 episode
The Dick Powell Show Mr. Somers 1 episode
The New Breed Sumner Rath 1 episode
The Detectives Carter 1 episode
Have Gun – Will Travel Tilbury 1 episode


Year Title Ref
1941 Lone Journey
The Adventures of the Thin Man
1942 Great Plays
1943 Words At War
1947 The Right to Happiness
1947-1948 The Adventures of Christopher Wells
1948 Gang Busters
Cavalcade of America
1950 Dimension X
The Big Story
1950-1953 The Falcon
1951 Now Hear This
1952 Proudly We Hail
1954 The FBI in Peace and War
1955 The Adventures of the Abbotts
21st Precinct
X Minus One
1959 Suspense
1960 The Right to Happiness
Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1962 Suspense

External Links

Actor Les Damon – Wikipedia

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