Remembering Norman Alden
I heard the sad news about the passing of my friend Norm Alden( age 87) the other day. Norm was a veteran character actor who was from Ft. Worth. His longtime partner Linda Thieben said, ‘Norman was a Paschal High school graduate and a TCU purple and white person.” Norm had a long distinguished career in Hollywood spanning 5 decades. He mostly played supporting roles in films like Jerry Lewis’s The Nutty Professor, Lou the diner owner in Back to the Future, and cameraman Bill in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. Other notable films he acted in were Tora, Tora, Tora, Kansas City Bomber( with Raquel Welch), Semi-Tough( Burt Reynolds), Patch Adams( Robin Williams),They Live to name a few. Norm was the voice of Aquaman in the animated Super friends cartoon series. He also was Lou the mechanic in the AC Delco commercials. Norm’s television bio is impressive as he appeared in many of the most popular TV shows in history as a guest starring roles on shows like Bonanza, Any Griffith, Perry Mason, The Untouchables, 77 Sunset Strip, Rifleman, Batman, Honey West, Lassie, My Three Sons, Hogan’s Heroes, Hawaii 5-0, Mission Impossible, A-Team, Kung Fu, Love Boat, Love American-style, Dallas, Gunsmoke, Planet of the Apes, Mannix, Kojak, Streets of San Francisco, Mary Hartman-Mary Hartman, and the list goes on. Norm appeared on or did voice work in about 2,500 movies, TV series and commercials.
I first met Norm back in the late 1990’s at the Colonial Golf tournament and he couldn’t have been nicer to me. I learned he was a big golfer so I invited him to come to one of my Celebrity charity golf events in Mexico CIty. We had a blast and Norm was a hit with all his Mexican fans down there. During the introductions at the banquet when he was introduced he started speaking to the large audience in attendance saying words like Los Gatos, Los Angeles, El Segundo, Los Alamitos, etc. He said that was the extent of his Spanish that he could speak. The crowd roared with approval. When my wife and I were out in Los Angeles a few years ago Norm & his partner Linda( very lovely lady) couldn’t have been nicer to us driving us around showing us the sites. Norman will be greatly missed and I’m happy that I got to know him albeit briefly because we didn’t live to close to visit. He was one of those rare individuals that you meet that makes you a better person for knowing them. He was a kind, generous and wonderful gentleman and I know if I ever want to see him again all I have to do is turn on the TV because somewhere on the dial Norman Alden will be there always making us smile. Rest in Peace Norman!
Tom Ward can be reached at www.teetimewithtom.com