Simon Oakland

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Simon Oakland
Simon Oakland Tony Musante Toma 1973.JPG
Born (1915-08-28)August 28, 1915
Where Brooklyn, New York City
New York|, U.S.
Died August 29, 1983(1983-08-29) (aged 68)
Where Cathedral City|, California, U.S.
Gender {{{gender}}}
Years Active {{{years_active}}}
Roles {{{roles}}}
Parents {{{parents}}}
Spouse Lois Porta (?-1983, his death; one child)
Birth Name {{{birth_name}}}
Occupation Actor
First Appearance: {{{first}}}

Last Appearance: {{{last}}}

Simon Oakland (August 28, 1915 – August 29, 1983) was an American actor of stage, screen, and television.[1] During his career, Oakland performed primarily on television, appearing in over 130 series and made-for-television movies between 1951 and 1983.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Oakland was born in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, the son of a plasterer and builder Jacob Weiss and his wife Ethel Oaklander.[3][4] While he later claimed in media interviews to have been born in 1922[3][5] (a date repeated in his New York Times obituary),[1][6] Social Security| and death indexes indicate he was born Simon Weiss in 1915; his stage name was likely derived from his mother's maiden name, Oaklander.[7][8][9][10][Note 1]

He began his performing arts career as a musician (he was a violinist,[12] 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[edit]

In 1955 Oakland made his film debut, though uncredited, as a 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![13] 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 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|, Bullitt, and the television series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. 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 General Thomas Moore on NBC's Baa Baa Black Sheep|, starring Robert Conrad.

Death Certificate of Simon Oakland.jpg

Personal life[edit]

Oakland was married to Lois Lorraine Porta (1918-2003).[5][14] The couple had one daughter, Barbara.[1]


Simon Oakland continued to work to the year of his death. His last credited acting appearance was ironically in the episode "Living and Presumed Dead" on the CBS television series Tucker's Witch.[15] That episode aired just three months before Oakland died of colon cancer in Cathedral City, on August 29, 1983, the day after the actor's 68th birthday.

TV and filmography[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Simon Oakland, 61, Actor who starred in 3 TV series, dies". [[wikipedia:New York Times|]]. 1 September 1983. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  2. "Simon Oakland", Internet Movie Database ([[wikipedia:IMDb|]]). Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Wilson, Earl (14 May 1977). "People Recognise His Face But Not Oakland's Name". [[wikipedia:Sarasota Herald-Tribune|]]: p. 11A. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  4. "Villain on the screen really is a nice guy". The Morning Record: p. 3. 9 December 1967. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Blank, Edward L. (3 January 1972). "Simon Oakland: 'Face is Familiar - What's his name?'". [[wikipedia:The Pittsburgh Press|]]: p. 39. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  6. "Michigan Obituaries, 1820-2006". FamilySearch. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  7. "California Death Records". RootsWeb. Retrieved 2 April 2016.  Duplicate entries under surname Weiss and Oakland with same Social Security number.
  8. "California Death Index, 1940-1997". FamilySearch. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  9. "California Death Index, 1940-1997". FamilySearch. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  10. "United States Social Security Death Index". FamilySearch. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  11. "United States Census, 1930". Family Search. Retrieved 3 June 2016. Isidor Weiss in household of Jacob Weiss, Brooklyn 
  12. Thompson, Ruth (28 October 1968). "More Than 800 Programs for Simon Oakland". The Gettysburg Times (TV Magazine): p. 1. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  13. "Simon Oakland", IMDb. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  14. "Funeral Services & Memorials: Lois Lorraine Oakland, 84". Santa Fe New Mexican (New Mexico): p. 12. 9 April 2003. Retrieved 30 March 2016. 
  15. "Living and Presumed Dead", Tucker's Witch episode S01E11, originally broadcast May 5, 1983. IMDb. Retrieved April 28, 2017.


External links[edit]

Category:1915 births Category:1983 deaths Category:American people of Jewish descent Category:American male film actors Category:American male stage actors Category:American male television actors Category:Deaths from cancer in California Category:Deaths from colorectal cancer Category:People from Brooklyn Category:Male actors from New York City Category:Male actors from Los Angeles Category:20th-century American male actors Category:Age controversies Category:Western (genre) television actors
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