Herbert Rudley

Herbert Rudley (March 22, 1910 – September 9, 2006) was an American character actor who appeared on stage, films and on television.

Herbert Rudley
Rudley in The Mothers-in-Law
Born(1910-03-22)March 22, 1910
DiedSeptember 9, 2006(2006-09-09) (aged 96)
Years active19261983
Spouse(s)Ann Loring (19401955; divorced); 2 children
Marilyn M. Perl (19582006; his death)

Early life

Rudley was born in 1910 in Philadelphia and attended Temple University. He left Temple after winning a scholarship to Eva Le Gallienne's Civic Repertory Theatre.[1]


He began appearing on stage in 1926. His Broadway debut was in Did I Say No in 1931. His other Broadway credits include How Long Till Summer (1949), Sons and Soldiers (1942), Macbeth (1941), Eight O'Clock Tuesday (1940), Another Sun (1939), The World We Make (1939), The Eternal Road (1936), Battle Hymn (1935), Mother (1935), The Threepenny Opera, (1932), and We, the People (1932).[2] He also appeared in Abe Lincoln in Illinois.[3]

Rudley and Keenan Wynn joined forces in the mid-1940s to create Players Production, a little theater in Los Angeles. Its goal was to present revivals of plays.[4]

Rudley was also a playwright, combining with Fanya Lawrence to create the farce Adam Ate the Apple.[5]


In 1940, Rudley appeared in the film version of Abe Lincoln in Illinois.[1] For the next four decades, he appeared in dozens of supporting film roles, including The Seventh Cross (1944) and Rhapsody in Blue (1945), a fictionalized biography of George Gershwin, in which he portrayed Ira Gershwin.[6] He appeared in A Walk in the Sun (1945) as a World War II sergeant who experiences a psychological breakdown in combat; Joan of Arc (1948); and The Young Lions (1958), in which he played an unsympathetic Army officer.[7]


On television, Rudley appeared both in dramas, often as military men, and comedies. He appeared on seven episodes of the CBS series "You Are There" hosted by Walter Cronkite. He also appeared on My Friend Flicka. In 1957, he guest starred as a Prussian cavalry officer in an episode of the syndicated western series, Boots and Saddles.[8]

In 1957, he appeared in the role of Sam Brennan in some early episodes of NBC's western drama, The Californians, set in the San Francisco gold rush of the 1850s. He made four guest appearances on Perry Mason between 1958-1962 including the part of murderer George Durrell in 1958’s “The Case of the Prodigal Parent” and as Edward Nelson in the 1960 episode "The Case of the Gallant Grafter".[7] He was one of only eleven actors to play all three pivotal roles in Perry Mason episodes—victim, defendant and murderer.

In 1959, he appeared as John McAuliffe on Border Patrol. He guest starred twice as Jeremy Thorne in NBC's western series Laramie. In the sixties he co-starred in two short-lived NBC half-hours, the drama, "Michael Shayne" with Richard Denning in 1960-61 and the Juliet Prowse comedy Mona McCluskey in 1965-66. In 1963, he appeared in two episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies. Also that year, he played the part of an overbearing father in "The All-Night Party" episode of Leave it to Beaver.

In 1973, Rudley guest starred in one episode of Griff. From 1967 through 1969 he co-starred as Herb Hubbard for two seasons on NBC-TV's The Mothers-in-Law with Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard. In 1981, he made four appearances on Dallas as Howard Barker, an attorney who represented J.R. Ewing in his divorce and child custody fight with his former wife, Sue Ellen.[7]

Personal life

Rudley was first married to Ann Loring. They had a son, Stephen.[9]


Rudley died in 2006, aged 96, from a heart attack.


Year Title Role Notes
1940Abe Lincoln in IllinoisSeth Gale
1944The Seventh CrossFranz Marnet
1944Marriage Is a Private AffairTed Mortimer
1944The Master RaceJohn
1945Brewster's MillionsNopper Harrison
1945Rhapsody in BlueIra Gershwin
1945A Walk in the SunSgt. Eddie Porter
1946DecoyDr. Lloyd L. Craig
1948Hollow TriumphMarcy
1948Joan of ArcIsambard de la Pierre
1954The Silver ChaliceLinus
1955Artists and ModelsSecret Service Chief Samuels
1955The Court JesterCaptain of the Guard
1956Raw EdgeGerald Montgomery
1956That Certain FeelingDoctor Summers
1956The Black SleepDr. Gordon Angus Ramsay
1958The Young LionsCapt. Colclough
1958The BravadosSheriff Eloy Sanchez
1958TonkaCapt. Benteen
1959The Big FishermanEmperor Tiberius
1959The Jayhawkers!Gov. William Clayton
1959Beloved InfidelStan Harris
1960Hell Bent for LeatherPerrick
1960The Great ImpostorSenior Officer
1962Follow That DreamMr. Endicott
1980Falling in Love AgainMr. Wellington (1940's)
1983Forever and BeyondRobert(final film role)


  1. Weaver, Tom (2003). Double Feature Creature Attack: A Monster Merger of Two More Volumes of Classic Interviews. McFarland. p. 310. ISBN 9780786482153. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  2. "("Herbert Rudley" search results)". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Archived from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  3. Herbert Rudley at the Internet Broadway Database
  4. Weaver, Tom (2010). A Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde: Interviews with 62 Filmmakers. McFarland. pp. 54–55. ISBN 9780786458318. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  5. "'Adam Ate the Apple'". Oakland Tribune. California, Oakland. October 14, 1945. p. 29. Retrieved March 28, 2017 via Newspapers.com.
  6. Tibbetts, John C. (2008). Composers in the Movies: Studies in Musical Biography. Yale University Press. p. 139. ISBN 0300128037. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  7. Herbert Rudley on IMDb
  8. "Boots and Saddles". Classic TV Archives. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  9. "Marital Tangle Leads To Suit". The Daily Mail. Maryland, Hagerstown. February 1, 1947. p. 8. Retrieved March 28, 2017 via Newspapers.com.


  • Scary Monsters Magazine (January 2008) no. 65 "The Black Sleep: An Interview With Herbert Rudley" Interview by Lawrence Fultz Jr.
  • Monster Bash Magazine (2006) no. 5 "On The Set of The Black Sleep" Interview by Lawrence Fultz, Jr.
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