John Marley

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John Marley
Born Mortimer Marlieb
(1907-10-17)October 17, 1907
New York City, New York, United States
Died May 22, 1984(1984-05-22) (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Cause of death Complications from open-heart surgery
Resting place Cedar Park Cemetery
Occupation Actor
Years active 1947–1984
Spouse(s) Stanja Lowe (1951-1971) (3 children)
Sandra Marley (1975-1984) (his death) (1 child)
Children Ben Marley, Peter Marley, Julia Marley, Alexis Marley (2nd marriage)[1]

John Marley (born Mortimer Marlieb,[2] October 17, 1907 – May 22, 1984) was an American actor who was known for his role as Phil Cavalleri in Love Story and as Jack Woltz— the defiant film mogul who awakens to find the severed head of his prized horse in his bed—in The Godfather (1972).[3] He starred in John Cassavetes' feature Faces (1968)[3] and appeared in The Glitter Dome (1984).


Marley served in the United States Army during World War II. Marley was a prolific character actor, appearing in nearly 150 films and television series during a career that spanned forty-five years. TV series included Peter Gunn, Johnny Staccato, Bourbon Street Beat, Rawhide, The Untouchables, Sea Hunt, 77 Sunset Strip, The Lloyd Bridges Show, Dr. Kildare, The Outer Limits, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, The Wild Wild West, Mannix, Bonanza, Ironside, The Name of the Game, The F.B.I., Cannon, McCloud, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Baretta, Barnaby Jones, and Hawaii Five-0.

In 1960, he portrayed the Oglala Lakota Chief Crazy Horse on the episode "Escort Detail" of NBC's western series, Overland Trail, starring William Bendix and Doug McClure. In 1961, he guest starred as Josiah Brady in the episode "Hand of Vengeance", along with Denver Pyle, on the syndicated western series, Two Faces West. He was cast as George Campbell in the 1961 episode "Jerkwater" of the ABC western series, The Rebel, starring Nick Adams; in 1962 he played the role of murderer Matthew Owen in the Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Angry Astronaut."

In the early 70s, Marley was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his role in Love Story but lost to John Mills, who won for Ryan's Daughter. One of his most notable roles, albeit short, was that of film producer Jack Woltz in The Godfather, he played Max Berns, a film producer who was a caring father figure to Burt Reynolds in the stuntman tribute, Hooper.[3]

In the late 70s, He appeared in the third season of the popular television series, The Incredible Hulk as D.W. Banner, the father of the main character, David Banner, in the "Homecoming" episode.

His son is actor Ben Marley, who has appeared in many films, including Jaws 2.

On stage, Marley appeared in the world premiere production of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poetry drama, Conversation At Midnight in 1961 in Los Angeles, in an ensemble cast which included James Coburn, Jack Albertson and Eduard Franz. The production was directed by Robert Gist and produced by Worley Thorne and Susan Davis.


In 1984, Marley died at age 76 following open-heart surgery,[4] he is interred at Cedar Park Cemetery, in Emerson, New Jersey.

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1942 Native Land Thug With Crowbar Uncredited
as John Marlieb
1947 Kiss of Death Prisoner in Spinning Mill Uncredited
1948 The Naked City Managing Editor Uncredited
1950 Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town Second Cab Driver Uncredited
1951 The Mob Tony
1952 My Six Convicts Knotty Johnson
1953 The Joe Louis Story Mannie Seamon
1955 The Square Jungle Tommy Dillon - Referee
1956 Time Table Bobik
1958 I Want to Live! Father Devers
1960 Pay or Die D. Caputo, Ragman
1962 The Twilight Zone - Kick the Can Mr. Cox
1963 A Child Is Waiting Holland
The Wheeler Dealers Achilles Dimitros
America, America Garabet
1964 The Twilight Zone - The Old Man in the Cave Jason
1965 Nightmare in the Sun Hogan, Gas station owner
Cat Ballou Frankie Ballou
The Lollipop Cover George
1968 Faces Richard Forst
In Enemy Country Rausch
1970 A Man Called Sledge Old Man
Love Story Phil Cavalleri Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1971 Clay Pigeon Police Captain
1972 The Dead Are Alive Nikos Samarakis
The Godfather Jack Woltz
1973 Jory Roy Starr
Blade Tommy Blade
1974 Deathdream Charles Brooks
1975 Framed Sal Viccarrone
1976 W.C. Fields and Me Studio Head Bannerman
1977 The Car Sheriff Everett Peck
Vengeance Jesus
The Greatest Dr. Ferdie Pacheco
The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover Dave Hindley
1978 Greatest Heroes of the Bible Moses
It Lives Again Mr. Mallory
Hooper Max Berns
1980 Tribute Lou Daniels
1981 Threshold Edgar Fine
The Amateur Molton
1982 Mother Lode Elijah
1983 Utilities Roy Blue
1986 On the Edge Elmo Glidden (final film role)


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Marley, John". American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press. February 2000. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Pareles, Jon (May 24, 1984). "JOHN MARLEY, ACTOR, AN OSCAR NOMINEE AND VENICE WINNER". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Obituary Variety, May 30, 1984.

External links[edit]