Born John Hoysradt, John Hoyt (1905-1991) had a long career on stage and screen.

John was 40 before he made his first screen appearance in “OSS”, with Alan Ladd.

Alan Ladd, Richard Webb, Geraldine Fitzgerald, John Hoyt, Patric Knowles.


With Geraldine Fitzgerald. OSS.

His stern demeanour and clipped tones led to typecasting in supporting roles, but, as John  said, “Well, you have to accept typecasting to a point, because it’s your daily bread.”

And yet he appeared in many different  roles – a sympathetic policeman in THE UNFAITHFUL; an undercover Treasury agent in TRAPPED; a prison inmate in BRUTE FORCE; an Apache Indian in DUAL AT DIABLO; a school principal in BLACKBOARD JUNGLE.



Jeff Corey, Burt Lancaster, John Hoyt. BRUTE FORCE.


In WINTER MEETING, John is the society friend  of Bette Davis – his performance was reminiscent of Clifton Webb as ‘Waldo Lydecker’ in LAURA.


With Florence Marly. SEALED VERDICT

As a German general on death row in SEALED VERDICT, John  had third billing after Ray Milland and Florence Marly.



In his long stage career, John  had been a member of Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre company and had played in “JULIUS  CAESAR” in 1937.

16 years later, he would reprise the very same role of ‘Decius Brutus’ in the 1953 film of “Julius Caesar”.
He played the Roman general who leads Caesar into the hands of the conspirators.


Edmund O’Brien,  Michael Pate, John Hoyt, John Gielgud, James Mason, Marlon Brando.

John fitted well into costume drama and also appeared in THE DESERT FOX, SPARTACUS and CLEOPATRA.



With Ann Sheridan, Zachary Scott, Lew Ayres.  THE UNFAITHFUL.

In the 1940s, he was averaging three or four films a year.


With Barbara Payton. TRAPPED.


With Paul Stewart.LOAN SHARK.

John got to display some comic touches in LOAN SHARK, as the gangster up against George Raft.






With Jeffrey Hunter. STAR TREK.

John was in the pilot episode of STAR TREK (‘The Cage’) – as ‘Dr. Boyce’.


In an episode of TWILIGHT ZONE entitled, “Will The Real Martian Stand  Up”, John humorously played a 3-armed alien!

In his pre-Hollywood days, John was known as “The Master of Satire” . His nightclub act was popular , with his impersonations of celebrities.

In 1946,  Variety called him: “the Broadway legiter and nightclub entertainer.”

His impression of Noel Coward led to his casting in Broadway’s THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1939) , playing ‘Beverley Carlton’.

But  he lost out when Hollywood came to film “The Man Who Came to Dinner”  in 1942 (,Reginald Gardiner took over the role).

In 1969, John had a one-man show – if only we could find some reviews.

John Hoyt died of lung cancer – he had been part of the cast of THE CONQUEROR in 1956.

He was a skilled actor whose career covered five decades, both in cinema and television. Like so many of the other dependable supporting actors, he was never out of work.

And to think he was in the cast of the Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, alongside Fanny Brice, Bob Hope, Gypsy Rose Lee,Eve Arden!
Quite a career. Quite a character.


Be sure to check out all the other entries on January 8th. in the WHAT A CHARACTER BLOGATHON .



17 responses »

  1. I’ve always liked him in whatever role he happened to be playing, even the unlikable ones.
    You managed to work in references to a couple of movies here that I’m not at all familiar with.

  2. He was probably capable of more variety than he was given to do, and very capable of leading roles if given the chance. I was so surprised to read about his earlier career in nightclubs.
    Which films are you referring to?
    I particularly like him in Loan Shark.

    • I’ve never seen Winter Meeting or Sealed Verdict so must look out for them.
      I liked what he did in Moonfleet for Fritz Lang and kind of wish he’d had a bigger part in that one. And just the other day I was watching him in the frivolous but rather fun The Black Castle.

      • Winter Meeting provided John with a co-starring role. Otherwise, one of Bette Davis’s poorer efforts.
        Haven’t seen Sealed Verdict which sounds interesting.
        Moonfleet has quite a cast – had forgotten it was a Fritz Lang film.

  3. I love this, Vienna! As you recount Hoyt’s varied roles I am astonished at his longevity and adaptability as an actor. It’s easy to forget that unless you see it all together. Thank you for joining us with this terrific entry.


    • Thanks, Aurora for continuing the tradition of the annual WHAT A CHARACTER blogathon.
      It was so interesting to find out about John Hoyt’s early career.

  4. John Hoyt was nothing if not prolific! What is more, he always gave great performances. It’s odd, but even though he did a wide variety of movies and TV shows, I have always associated him with Westerns from all the Western movies and shows he did. Anyway, I loved learning about his early career! I have to admit I didn’t know much about it.

    • I guess producers/directors knew they would get a solid performance from John in any role he took on.
      Interestingly his westerns were primarily on television. I counted nearly 30 tv westerns he appeared in .

  5. Thanks for a very interesting and enjoyable look at Hoyt’s career in film. This blogathon is so much fun for exploring the work of actors we seem to recognize from film to film but don’t always learn much about them. Well done!

  6. It’s fascinating to read about actors who don’t start in films until later in life, and then are in Big Demand.

    John Hoyt is someone I always recognize, but never knew much about. It’s surprising to see the various types of roles he played. Truly a talented man!

  7. So Hoyt was a late bloomer like Joseph Cotten–very interesting. I remember him on “Blackboard Jungle” and “Star Trek,” but now I want to go look for some of his earlier roles.

  8. I have a copy of Sealed Verdict but it’s a very dark print with a number of night scenes where you can barely see anything. I found Florence Marly very striking.

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