Jerome Courtland dies at 85
Directed episodes of Aaron Spelling dramas
By Variety Staff
Jerome (Jerry) Courtland, an actor who later became a producer and director in film and television, working on shows including "The Flying Nun," "The Love Boat" and "Dynasty," died of heart disease in the Santa Clarita Valley, Calif., on March 1. He was 85.
Courtland's producing career spanned more than 25 years at Walt Disney Studios and Screen Gems working on feature films including "Escape to Witch Mountain," "Ride a Wild Pony" and "Return From Witch Mountain"; TV series including "Here Come the Brides," "The Flying Nun," "The Partridge Family" and "The Interns"; and telepics including "Gidget Grows Up," "Hog Wild" and "The Million Dollar Dixie Deliverance."
Before leaving Disney in the early '80s Courtland produced animated feature "Pete's Dragon" and live actioner "The Devil and Max Devlin."
Working with Aaron Spelling in the 1980s, Courtland directed episodes of "Dynasty," "Falcon Crest," "Fantasy Island" and "Love Boat," as well as "Hotel" and "The Colbys." He also helmed episodes of "Knots Landing."
Courtland Jourolman Jr. was born in Knoxville, Tenn. When he was 17, he attended a Hollywood party with his mother, a professional singer; he met Charles Vidor, who invited him to screen test at Columbia, and he was soon signed to a seven-year contract. He made his feature debut in Vidor's "Together Again" and made a few additional films at Columbia before being inducted into the Army, where he served in the Pacific during WWII.
Courtland restarted his showbiz career after returning from service by appearing in the original Broadway production of "Flahoohey."
He starred opposite a 17-year-old Shirley Temple in the film "Kiss and Tell" and gained notice for roles in "The Man From Colorado" (1948), "Battleground" (1949), "The Palomino" (1950), "The Barefoot Mailman" (1951) and "Take the High Ground "(1953).
On TV starting in the mid-'50s, Courtland had a seven-episode staring run on "The Saga of Andy Burnett" as part of "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" and appeared on episodes of "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" and "The Rifleman"; in the early '60s, with dyed blonde hair and beard, he starred in the series "Tales of the Vikings" and later guested on "Death Valley Days" and "The Virginian."
Film credits during the 1960s include the musical "O sole mio," "Queen of the Seas" and "Cafe Oriental."
In the early '90s he guested on "L.A. Law" and "Knots Landing."
In 1997 he moved to the Chicago area, where he became a professor at Columbia College, teaching acting and directing for the camera for five years. He then retired in Florida, where he authored and illustrated children's books.
Courtland was a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for more than 30 years.
He was married three times, the first time to actress Polly Bergen. Courtland is survived by third wife Marlene, to whom he was married for 32 years; four sons; three daughters; 16 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
A memorial service celebrating Courtland's life will be held March 31.
COURTLAND, Jerome (Courtland Jourolman Jr.)
Born: 12/27/1926, Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
Died: 3/1/2012, Santa Clarita, California, U.S.A.
Jerome Courtland’s westerns – actor, singer, producer:
The Man from Colorado – 1948 (Johnny Howard)
The Walking Hills – 1949 (Johnny)
The Palomino – 1950 (Steve Noris)
Santa Fe – 1951 (Terry Canfield)
The Texas Rangers -1951 (Danny Carver/Bonner)
Cripple Creek – 1952 (Larry Galland)
The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (TV) – 1957 (Lt. Cliff Walker)
The Saga of Johnny Burnett (TV) – 1957, 1958 (Johnny Burnett)
Old Yeller – 1957 [soundtrack]
The Rifleman (TV) – 1958 (Johnny Gibbs)
Tonka – 1958 (Lt. Henry Nowlan)
Death Valley Days (TV) – 1965 (William Byers)
The Virginian (TV) – 1965 (Byron Prescott)
Black Spurs – 1965 (Sam Grubbs)
Here Come the Brides (TV) – 1968 [producer]