Jeanette Nolan was a popular American actress and radio personality during the Golden Age of radio in the ’30s through ’40s. Her long and varying career embraced stage, film, television, and most notably, radio where she performed in comedy, drama, soap operas, as well as documentaries. She is also known as the wife of popular Western actor and radio personality, John McIntire, with whom she appeared in various projects including Disney animations.
The Emmy-nominated actress portrayed various character roles both in films and on TV. Some of her works on TV include the series The Virginian where she starred opposite her husband, Dirty Sally; and in films, Macbeth and The Big Heat.
She provided the voices of different characters on such radio programs as The March of Time, Cavalcade of America, The Court of Missing Heirs, The Adventures of Mister Meek, and Manhattan at Midnight.
Jeanette Nolan’s Biography
Jeanette Nolan was born on 30th December 1911 in Los Angeles, California under the zodiac Capricorn. She is one of the three children born to her parents, Ada and Edward Nolan. Nolan has always had an eye for entertainment from an early age; she aspired to be an opera singer. Thus, after graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in LA, she proceeded to Los Angeles City College to study music.
While in college, she joined the Pasadena Playhouse and also worked part-time as a clerk in a local department store. However, what she was paid in her job could not cover both college and acting, as such, she had to give up both. Then, she took a friend’s suggestion to audition for a radio show. She was asked if she could do a Scottish dialect, and she did and even added three more. Jeanette Nolan’s radio career set off at once, in 1932 and she never stopped working.
Nolan began her radio work with a voice role in a production of Omar Khayyam, the first transcontinental broadcast from KHJ station, LA. Following up, she worked in radio serials Tarzan of the Apes and Tarzan and the Diamond of Asher, and would also play major roles on The March of Time. Nolan also scored gigs on a number of other radio shows including Calling All Cars, Great Plays, The Jack Pearl Show, The Shadow, Escape, Suspense, The Whistler, Radio Guild, One Man’s Family, and Young Doctor Malone. By the 1940s, Nolan has become one of radio’s busiest and in-demand actresses.
She returned to the acting scene in 1948, making her film debut with Orson Welles’ Macbeth in the role of Lady Macbeth. Both her role in the film and the film itself were panned in the media but that did nothing to quell her film career nonetheless. Nolan branched out into the small screen, becoming one of the finest character actresses of her era. She appeared in not less than 300 television works such as Crossroads, Dirty Sally, Crusader, The Virginian, State Trooper, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Richard Diamond. On the big screen, she made her mark in film noir, popular between 1944 to 1954 as the scheming wife of a dead, equally corrupt cop in the classic 1953 film The Big Heat.
While Nolan never abandoned her radio work even while acting, appearing in numerous films, she made more of an impression on the small screen. Therein, she notched up a whopping number of credits and earned four Emmy nominations for her awesomeness.
Family life of Jeanette Nolan
Jeanette Nolan was married to popular Western film actor John McIntire from August 26, 1935, until his death on January 30, 1991. The duo met while working together on radio. John also made a name for himself on radio, notably as the narrator of the March of Time series. They had two children, daughter Holly and son, Tim both of whom are actors.
Nolan and McIntire were one set of Hollywood super couple of their time. They worked together on a number of projects in radio, films, and television. Some of their notable works include the Disney animated films; The Rescuers (1977) and The Fox and the Hound (1981). The couple was nicknamed the Lunt and Fontanne of radio for often performing together.
The McIntire’s lived in a piece of property nicknamed The Yaak for its proximity to the Yaak River which they bought in Montana in the mid-40s until their deaths.
Jeanette Nolan died on the 5th day of June 1998 of a stroke at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, seven years after her husband. Her remains were interred in Eureka, Montana’s Tobacco Valley Cemetery. Meanwhile, their son Tim McIntyre, known for his portrayal of the disc jockey Alan Freed in American Hot Wax (1971), predeceased his parents, having died of heart failure in 1986.
Facts about the American Actress
Nolan’s final film appearance was in Robert Redford‘s The Horse Whisperer (1998) in the role of Tom Booker’s mother, Ellen.
Over the course of her career, she received four Emmy nominations.
Setting out in life, Nolan looked forward to when she would become an opera singer but life had a different course for her. She became a screen and radio maestro instead.
She was a frequent guest star on the CBS series Perry Mason. Also, she was cast as a witch many times on TV, most notably on episodes of The Twilight Zone (1959), twice on Thriller (1960) and Night Gallery (1970).
A very talented actress, Jeanette Nolan could do more than three accents including Spanish, Italian, German, or Russian as well as produce an Irish dialect on demand.