Jerome Courtland

Jerome Courtland (December 27, 1926 – March 1, 2012) was an American actor, director and producer. He acted in films in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and in television in the 1950s and 1960s. Courtland also appeared on Broadway in the musical Flahooley in the early 1950s. He directed and produced television series in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. He served in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

Jerome Courtland
Courtland in Death Valley Days in 1967
Born(1926-12-27)December 27, 1926
DiedMarch 1, 2012(2012-03-01) (aged 85)
Santa Clarita Valley, California, U.S.
OccupationActor, director, producer
Years active1942–1993
Spouse(s)Polly Bergen (1950-1955) (divorced)
Janet Rose Gumprecht (1955-?) (divorced), 5 children
Marlene Juttner (1984-2012) (his death)
Military career
Battles/warsWorld War II



Jerome "Jerry" Courtland was born Courtland Jourolmon Jr. on December 27, 1926 in Knoxville, Tennessee. At 17, he attended a Hollywood party with his mother, a professional singer. A chance meeting with director Charles Vidor led to a screen test at Columbia Pictures and a seven-year contract. Courtland's feature debut was in Vidor's 1944 screwball comedy Together Again, before he joined the military, seeing service in the Pacific.[1]

After the War, Courtland starred opposite Shirley Temple in Kiss and Tell, followed by appearances in more than a dozen films including The Man From Colorado (1949), Battleground (1949), The Palomino (1950), The Barefoot Mailman (1951), and Take the High Ground (1953).[1]

He was a licensed pilot and trained in stunt flying.

In 1951 Courtland starred on Broadway as the romantic lead in the very short-lived musical Flahooley with Barbara Cook. Returning to California, he was frequently seen in guest roles on Westerns including The Rifleman, Death Valley Days and The Virginian.

In 1957, he starred in six episodes of ABC's Disneyland in the miniseries The Saga of Andy Burnett, the story of a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, man who comes west to the Rocky Mountains. This was an attempt by Walt Disney to follow up on the success of the first television miniseries, Davy Crockett. In 1958, Courtland guest starred in an episode of the television Western series The Rifleman. His voice was heard singing the title song during the credits in the movie Old Yeller. In 1959 he played the role of Army Lt. Henry Nowlan in the Disney film Tonka. Also that year he narrated the Disney short Noah's Ark, nominated for an Oscar the following year for Best Short Subject (Cartoon).[2]

Courtland starred in the 1959-1960 television series Tales of the Vikings, as the lead character, Leif. He dyed his hair and beard blonde for the role. The series was produced by Kirk Douglas' Bryna Productions and ran for 39 episodes.[1]

Courtland was cast as newspaperman William Byers in the 1965 episode, "The Race at Cherry Creek", on the syndicated television anthology series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Ronald Reagan. In the story line, Byers races against time to put out the first newspaper in the Colorado Territory during the gold rush year of 1859. His Rocky Mountain News became the first publication in the territory. Though strongly encouraged in the pursuit by his wife Elizabeth ([Nancy Rennick), Byers' pressman, Andy Kate (Alvy Moore), is pessimistic about their chances of publishing first.[3]


In the 60s, Courtland gave up acting to produce for Disney, Screen Gems, and others.

In 1975, he produced the Walt Disney film, Ride a Wild Pony.[4]

He was one of two producers of the partly animated 1977 Disney movie Pete's Dragon.[2]

He was the producer of Escape to Witch Mountain in 1975, and The Devil and Max Devlin.


In 1968 Courtland made his directorial debut with several episodes of The Flying Nun. In the 1980s he directed episodes of Aaron Spelling's Dynasty, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat and The Colbys.[5]

In the early 1990s he made guest appearances on L.A. Law and Knots Landing. In 1997 he moved to the Chicago area, where for five years he taught acting and directing for the camera at Columbia College.

Courtland died on March 1, 2012 of heart disease in the Santa Clarita Valley, California.[2]

Partial filmography


  1. "Remembering Jerome Courtland". The Walt Disney Family Museum. March 12, 2012. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  2. Minovitz, Ethan (March 6, 2012). "Jerome Courtland, 85, was "Pete's Dragon" producer". Big Cartoon News. Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  3. "The Race at Cherry Creek on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  4. Bettles, Robert (December 22, 1976). "Insight with a boy and his pony". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 16. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  5. "SCV’s Jerome Courtland, Actor-Director-Producer, Dies at 85", SCVTV News, March 5, 2012
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