Simon Oakland (August 28, 1915 – August 29, 1983) was an American actor of stage, screen, and television. During his career, Oakland performed primarily on television, appearing in over 130 series and made-for-television movies between 1951 and 1983. His most notable big-screen roles were in Psycho (1960), West Side Story (1961), The Sand Pebbles (1966), Bullitt (1969), The Hunting Party (1971) and Chato's Land (1972).
|Born||August 28, 1915|
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||August 29, 1983 68) (aged|
|Spouse(s)||Lois Porta (c. 1943–1983, his death; one child)|
Early life and career
Oakland was born in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, the eldest of the three sons of Jacob Weiss and Ethel Oaklander. His father was a plasterer and builder. While he later claimed in media interviews to have been born in 1922 (a date repeated in his New York Times obituary), Social Security and vital records indicate he was born Simon Weiss in 1915; his stage name was likely derived from his mother's maiden name, Oaklander.
He began his performing arts career as a musician (he was a violinist, an avocation he would pursue during his entire career as an actor). Oakland began his acting career in the late 1940s. He enjoyed a series of Broadway hits, including Light Up the Sky, The Shrike and Inherit the Wind, and theater was one of his lasting passions. He was a concert violinist until the 1940s.
Moving to films and television
In 1955 Oakland made his film debut, though uncredited, as an Indiana state trooper in The Desperate Hours. He next appeared in two films released in 1958: as the character Mavrayek in The Brothers Karamazov and then in the role of Edward Montgomery in I Want to Live! The character Montgomery was a real-life journalist, who had reported on the California murder trial and 1955 execution of Barbara Graham, played by Susan Hayward in the film. Oakland's portrayal of the journalist as a "tough, but compassionate" personality resulted in the actor's often being typecast in his subsequent roles in both films and on television.
Simon Oakland's notable performance in I Want to Live! led to his playing a long series of tough-guy types, usually in positions of authority, most notably in Psycho, in which he plays the psychiatrist who explains Norman Bates's multiple personality disorder. He also appeared in West Side Story, The Sand Pebbles, and Bullitt. He made two guest appearances on CBS's Perry Mason, both times as the murder victim. He also appeared in the syndicated crime drama, Decoy, starring Beverly Garland. Oakland appeared once each on the CBS western, Dundee and the Culhane and in another syndicated crime drama series, Sheriff of Cochise, starring John Bromfield. Oakland played the regular role of General Thomas Moore on NBC's Baa Baa Black Sheep, starring Robert Conrad. He also appeared in two episodes of the original The Twilight Zone TV series and in The Outer Limits as the alien birdman in "Second Chance". In 1974 and 1975, he was a series regular on Kolchak: The Night Stalker, playing newspaper editor Tony Vincenzo. (He'd previously played the same character in the two made-for-television movies that served as the pilot for the series.)
Oakland was the familiar voice-over for the tag line "When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be There Overnight" heard at the end of each television commercial for the long-running Federal Express advertising campaign, created by the New York advertising agency Ally & Gargano.
He also played the role of a Sony dealer for an ad campaign of ten national radio commercials, written and directed by Peter Hoffman, for the New York office of the global advertising agency McCann-Erickson when they had the Sony account.
Simon Oakland continued working up to the year of his death. His last credited acting appearance was in the episode "Living and Presumed Dead" on the CBS television series Tucker's Witch. That episode aired just three months before Oakland died of colon cancer in Cathedral City, California, on August 29, 1983, a day after the actor's 68th birthday.
TV and filmography
- The Desperate Hours (1955) as State trooper (uncredited)
- Gunsmoke (1956-1965, TV Series) as Carl Mandee / Miguel / Jim Nation / Enoch Mills
- Sheriff of Cochise (1956, Episode: "Question of Honor", season 1) as Charlie Moon
- Silent Service (1958, Episode: "USS Cavalla: Lucky Lady's Famous First Patrol") as Captain Herman Kossler
- The Brothers Karamazov (1958) as Mavrayek
- I Want to Live! (1958) as Edward S. 'Ed' Montgomery
- Have Gun - Will Travel (1958, Episode: "The Statue of San Sebastian", season 1) as Sancho Fernandez
- Adventures in Paradise (1959-1962, TV Series) as Martin / John Briggs / Red Mulligan / and McGraw
- The Alaskans (1959, Episode: "Doc Booker") as Doc Booker
- Men Into Space (1959, Episode 13: "Quarantine") as Dr. Horton
- The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960) as Lt. Moody
- Perry Mason (1960-1961, TV Series) as Capt. Mike Caldwell / Howard Walters
- Laramie (1960, Episode: "Ride or Die") as fugitive Vernon Kane
- Who Was That Lady? (1960) as Belka
- Psycho (1960) as Dr. Fred Richmond, the psychiatrist who explains Norman Bates' case
- Murder Inc. (1960) as Det. Sgt. William Tobin
- The Twilight Zone (1961-1963, Episodes: "The Rip Van Winkle Caper" and "The Thirty-Fathom Grave", the original series, hosted by Rod Serling) as Captain Beecham / De Cruz
- West Side Story (1961) as Lt. Schrank, a neighborhood police lieutenant
- Route 66 (1962, Episode: "To Walk With the Serpent") as Ben Newcombe
- Bus Stop (1962, Episode: "Cry to Heaven") as Sgt. Brokaw
- Tales of Wells Fargo (1962, Episode: "Portrait of Teresa") as Poderio
- Cain's Hundred (1962, Episode: "The New Order") as Walter Hayes
- Follow That Dream (1962) as Nick
- Third of a Man (1962) as Doon
- Ben Casey (1962, Episode: "When You See an Evil Man") as Jake
- Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962) as Joe Boulton
- Car 54, Where Are You? (1962, Episode: "Hail to the Chief") as Secret Service Agent Cordner
- Wagon Train (1962, Episode: "The Donna Fuller Story")
- The Untouchables (1962–1963, TV Series) as Russ Bogan / Pete 'The Persuader' Kalmisky / Joe Palakopolous aka Mr. Pal
- Bonanza (1963-1969, TV Series) as Judge Seth Tabor / Frank Scott / Mel Barnes / William Poole
- Combat! (1963-1965, TV Series) as Sgt. Tom Akers / Pvt. Clawson
- Stoney Burke (1963, Episode: "Image of Glory") as Sam Hagen
- Rawhide (1963, Episode: "Incident of the Travelin' Man") as Bolivar Jagger
- Wall of Noise (1963) as Johnny Papadakis
- My Favorite Martian (1963, season 1, Episode 1: "My Favorite Martian") as Lt. Murphy
- The Raiders (1963) as Sgt. Austin Tremaine
- The Outer Limits (1964, Episode: "Second Chance") as Empyrian
- Mr. Novak (1964, Episode: "With a Hammer in His Hand, Lord, Lord!") as Carl Green
- Mr. Broadway (1964, Episode: "Try to Find a Spy" with Barbara Feldon) as Shaw
- The Reporter (1964, in series finale "Vote for Murder") as Det. Lt. Gene Gordon
- Daniel Boone (1965-1969, TV Series) as Bickford / General James Wilkerson / Dull Knife
- The Satan Bug (1965) as Tasserly
- Get Smart (1965) as Cowboy
- The Plainsman (1966) as Chief Black Kettle
- The Sand Pebbles (1966) as the sailor Stawski
- Mission: Impossible (1967, Episode: "The Frame") as Jack Wellman
- Tony Rome (1967) as Rudy Kosterman
- Gentle Ben (1967-1969, TV Series) as Packy Benner
- Chubasco (1968) as Laurindo
- Hawaii Five-O (1968-1975, TV Series) as Benny Kalua / Frank Epstein / Mauritany / Shako / Mendoza
- It Takes A Thief (1968, Episode: "A Very Warm Reception") as Col. Savrille
- Bullitt (1968) as Captain Sam Bennett
- The Wild Wild West (1968, Episode: "The Night of the Fugitives") as Diamond Dave Desmond
- The Big Valley (1969, Episode: "The Secret") as Adam Howard
- Ironside (1969-1973, TV Series) as Mel Grayson / Theodore 'Ted' Berringer, Sr. / Elton Ferris
- On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) as Dr. Conrad Fuller
- Scandalous John (1971) as Barton Whittaker
- The Hunting Party (1971) as Matthew Gunn
- The Night Stalker (1972) as Vincenzo
- Chato's Land (1972) as Jubal Hooker
- The Night Strangler (1973) as Tony Vincenzo
- Emperor of the North (1973) as Policeman
- Happy Mother's Day, Love George (1973) as Sheriff Roy
- The Starlost (1973, Episode: "And Only Man is Vile") as Dr. Asgard
- Toma (1973-1974, TV Series) as Inspector Spooner
- Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975, TV Series) as Tony Vincenzo
- Ellery Queen (1975, Episode: "The Adventure of the Pharaoh's Curse") as Norris Wentworth
- Baa Baa Black Sheep (1976–1978, TV Series) as Brig. Gen. Thomas Moore
- Gibbsville (1976, Episode 4: All the Young Girls", season 1) as Chapman
- The Feather and Father Gang (1977, Episode: "The Big Frame", season 1, episode 14) as Cosgrove
- David Cassidy - Man Undercover (1978–1979, TV Series) as Sgt. Abrams / Lt. Abrams
- Evening in Byzantium (1978) as Walter Klein
- The Rockford Files (1977–1979, 4 episodes over 3 seasons) as Vern St. Cloud
- Charlie's Angels (1980, Episode: "Angel's Child") as Sgt. Shanks
- Quincy, M.E. (1978–1982, TV Series) as U.S. Sen. Reeves / Keith Zagner / Chick Thomas / Sal Jarrett
- The Littlest Hobo (1982, Episode: "Mail Order Bride", season 3) as Tom Beecher
- Tucker's Witch (1983, Episode: "Living and Presumed Dead", season 1) as Daniel Gorman (final appearance)
- "Simon Oakland, 61, Actor who starred in 3 TV series, dies". New York Times. 1 September 1983. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
- "Simon Oakland", Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved April 27, 2017.
- "Villain on the screen really is a nice guy". The Morning Record. 9 December 1967. p. 3. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- "Death Notices: Weiss, Ethel". The Miami News. October 9, 1974 – via Newspapers.com.
- "United States Census, 1930". Family Search. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
Isidor Weiss in household of Jacob Weiss, Brooklyn(registration required)
- Wilson, Earl (14 May 1977). "People Recognise His Face But Not Oakland's Name". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. p. 11A. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
- Blank, Edward L. (3 January 1972). "Simon Oakland: 'Face is Familiar - What's his name?'". The Pittsburgh Press. p. 39. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
- "Michigan Obituaries, 1820-2006". FamilySearch. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
- "California Death Index, 1940-1997". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 28 September 2019. Duplicate entries under surname Weiss and Oakland with same Social Security number.
- "California Death Index, 1940-1997". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- "U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- "New York, New York, Births, 1910-1965". Ancestry.com. New York City Department of Health. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
- Thompson, Ruth (28 October 1968). "More Than 800 Programs for Simon Oakland". The Gettysburg Times (TV Magazine). p. 1. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- "Simon Oakland", IMDb. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
- "Funeral Services & Memorials: Lois Lorraine Oakland, 84". Santa Fe New Mexican. New Mexico. 9 April 2003. p. 12 – via Newspaperarchive.com.
- "Living and Presumed Dead", Tucker's Witch episode S01E11, originally broadcast May 5, 1983. IMDb. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
- "Gentle Ben (TV Series 1967–1969)" – via www.imdb.com.