Carl Betz

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Carl Betz
Carl Betz Judd for the Defense 1967.JPG
Betz as Clinton Judd (1967)
BornCarl Lawrence Betz
(1921-03-09)March 9, 1921
Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedJanuary 18, 1978(1978-01-18) (aged 56)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Lung cancer
Resting place
Education(Mount St. Charles Academy, Class of 1940 Woonsocket, RI)
Alma materDuquesne University
Carnegie Mellon University
Years active1952–1977
Spouse(s)Lois Harmon (m. 1952; div. 1961)
Gloria Stone Martin (m. 1963–78)
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Carl Betz
Carl Betz Judd for the Defense 1967.JPG
Betz as Clinton Judd (1967)
BornCarl Lawrence Betz
(1921-03-09)March 9, 1921
Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedJanuary 18, 1978(1978-01-18) (aged 56)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Lung cancer
Resting place
Education(Mount St. Charles Academy, Class of 1940 Woonsocket, RI)
Alma materDuquesne University
Carnegie Mellon University
Years active1952–1977
Spouse(s)Lois Harmon (m. 1952; div. 1961)
Gloria Stone Martin (m. 1963–78)

Carl Lawrence Betz (March 9, 1921 – January 18, 1978) was an American stage, film and television actor.

A native of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Betz participated in childhood theatricals and later worked in summer stock. He graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School in 1939 and then served in the military. Following military service, he graduated from Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh and made his Broadway debut in 1952. He appeared in the CBS television soap opera, Love of Life, but is best remembered for having played Donna Reed's television husband, Dr. Alex Stone, from 1958 to 1966 in the ABC sitcom, The Donna Reed Show. Between 1967 and 1969, he played defense attorney Clinton Judd in ABC's Judd for the Defense, and won an Emmy Award in 1969 for his work. He died at the age of 56 of lung cancer.

Early years[edit]

Growing up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon, Betz began his acting career unofficially in grammar school when he formed a theatrical company with friends, performing plays in his grandmother's basement. After graduating from Mount Lebanon High School in 1939, he won scholarship to Duquesne University.[1] During the summer, Betz performed in a Pittsburgh summer stock company and decided to transfer to Carnegie Mellon University (then known as Carnegie Tech) in Pittsburgh to study drama. His education was interrupted when, in 1942, he was drafted into the United States Army. He served in Italy and North Africa during World War II and eventually became a technical sergeant with the Corps of Engineers.

After the war, Betz returned to Carnegie tech and earned a degree in drama. After graduation, Betz worked as a radio announcer and disk jockey before moving to New York City. He continued working in summer and winter stock companies and also worked as a doorman at Radio City Music Hall.[2]


Betz made his Broadway debut in 1952 in The Long Watch,[3] and toured with Veronica Lake in the summer stock play, The Voice of the Turtle. He then appeared for 18 months as Collie Jordan on Love of Life. Prior to his eight-year run on The Donna Reed Show, Betz made guest appearances on such television series as Sheriff of Cochise, Perry Mason, The Millionaire and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Donna Reed as Donna Stone, Paul Petersen as Jeff Stone, Carl Betz as Dr. Alex Stone, Shelley Fabares as Mary Stone, The Donna Reed Show (1960)

In 1958, Betz was cast as pediatrician, Dr. Alex Stone in ABC sitcom The Donna Reed Show. The show revolves around the home and school problems of a middle-class American family in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Alex was often called upon to rescue wife Donna Stone (Reed) from awkward situations and to monitor the behavior of their children, Mary (Shelley Fabares) and Jeff (Paul Petersen). Jeff Stone introduced the sentimental hit song "My Dad" in a 1962 episode, specifically singing the tune to Betz. The series was a hit for ABC and aired for eight seasons from September 1958 to March 1966. During the run of the series, Betz continued acting in stage roles during the show's hiatus. In 1964, he appeared as Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon in a limited stage run of The Night of the Iguana, for which he earned excellent reviews.[2][4]

After Donna Reed's cancellation, Betz returned to television roles and the stage work.[5] In 1967, producer Paul Monash offered Betz the role of defense lawyer Clinton Judd in legal drama, Judd, for the Defense. Monash had seen Betz's performance in Night of the Iguana in 1964 and was impressed with his acting. Betz initially thought the role was for a guest spot but soon realized Monash had proposed that he star in a new series. Betz initially had misgivings stating, "I did not want to do another series, you get bored", but eventually relented because he liked the scripts.[4] The series, which premiered on ABC in September 1967, was praised by critics but struggled in the ratings.[2] Shortly after ABC canceled the series in 1969, Betz won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series for his work on the series.[6] He also made many guest appearances on a variety of popular television shows such as Mission: Impossible, The Mod Squad, and Starsky and Hutch. One of his last roles was as General Douglas MacArthur in the one-man stage play I Shall Return.

Personal life[edit]

Betz was married twice and had one child. Betz married actress Lois Harmon on June 20, 1952. They had a son, Richard. They separated in May 1960 and were divorced in 1961.[7] In December 1963, Betz married Gloria Stone Martin, sister of actress Nita Talbot.[8] Through his marriage to Martin, Betz had a stepdaughter named Rio. The couple remained married until Betz's death in 1978.[9]


In 1977, Betz was diagnosed with terminal and inoperable lung cancer. He kept his diagnosis private so he could keep working.[5] On November 29, 1977, Betz entered Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He died seven weeks later, on January 18, 1978.[10] His remains were cremated.[9]

Broadway credits[edit]

March 20–29, 1952The Long DayLt. Dick Bennett


1952O. Henry's Full HouseJimmie Valentine - PrologueUncredited
1952My Pal GusMr. NelsonUncredited
1952The President's LadyCharles Dickinson
1953Powder RiverLoney Hogan
1953InfernoLt. Mike Platt
1953Dangerous CrossingJohn Bowman
1953VickiDetective McDonald
1953City of Bad MenDeputy Phil Ryan
1966SpinoutHoward Foxhugh
1975The Boy Who Talked to BadgersWill MacDonald
1975The MealJakeAlternative title: Deadly Encounter
1975The Lady from PekingMax FosterAlternative title: That Girl from Peking
1953Your Jeweler's ShowcaseEpisode: "Lady's Choice"
1954WaterfrontDave HerrickEpisode: "The Skipper's Day"
1954Kraft Television TheatreEpisode: "Party for Jonathan"
1954The Big StoryCharles McKinneyEpisode: "Charles McKinney of the Tulsa World"
1954Robert Montgomery PresentsEpisode: "Two Wise Woman"
1954-1955Love of LifeCollie JordanRegular cast member
1956I SpyEpisode: "Dishonored Hero"
1956Appointment with AdventureWalter PollardEpisode: "Suburban Terror"
1956CrusaderInspector Alan Kingman2 episodes
1957The Alcoa HourHoward MillerEpisode: "No License to Kill"
1957GunsmokeNate TimbleEpisode: "Gone Straight"
1957Panic!Co-Pilot Terry BlakeEpisode: "The Airline Hostess"
1957Sheriff of CochisePaul SloanEpisode: "Statute of Limitations"
1957-1958The MillionaireMiller
Phil Williams
2 episodes
1958Perry MasonDr. Ralph ChandlerEpisode: "The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary"
1958Alfred Hitchcock PresentsJerome Stanton
Store Detective
2 episodes
1958The Silent ServiceEpisode: "Mine for Keeps"
1958Broken ArrowTrentEpisode: "Jeopardy"
1958Mickey Spillane's Mike HammerButler TiltonEpisode: "A Detective Tail"
1958-1966The Donna Reed ShowDr. Alex Stone272 episodes
1967-1969Judd, for the DefenseClinton Judd50 episodes
1968PremiereDr. Frank ChandlerEpisode: "Crisis"
1969Felony SquadClinton JuddEpisode: "The Law and Order Blues"
1969The MonkDanny GouzenkoTelevision movie
1969Love, American StyleJohn FillmoreSegment: "Love and the Former Marriage"
1969-1971The F.B.I.Gar Shelton
Martin Ashton
2 episodes
1970Bracken's WorldJeffrey HarrisEpisode: "Money Men"
1970Medical CenterJason PurcellEpisode: "The V.D. Story"
1970McCloudAldon F. FlandersEpisode: "Who Says You Can't Make Friends in New York City?"
1970IronsideJason BanningEpisode: "The Lonely Way to Go"
1970Night GalleryDr. Max RedfordSegment: "The Dead Man"
1970-1972Mission: ImpossibleGeneral Yuri Kozani
Dutch Krebbs
2 episodes
1970-1974InsightWalter P. Hendricks
General Dodd
2 episodes
1971The Mod SquadR.J. ColemanEpisode: "A Bummer for R.J."
1971In Search of AmericaBen OlsonTelevision movie
1971The Deadly DreamDr. Howard GearyTelevision movie
1972Norman Corwin PresentsEpisode: "The Joy of Living"
1972The Bold Ones: The New DoctorsArthur BellamyEpisode: "The Endangered Species"
1972The Streets of San FranciscoJeff WilliamsEpisode: "The Bullet"
1973Set This Town on FireAndy WellsTelevision movie
1973Barnaby JonesMarshall BriggsEpisode: "Stand-In for Death"
1973The MagicianPaul RyersonEpisode: "Man on Fire"
1973The New Adventures of Perry MasonClinton ExeterEpisode: "The Case of the Spurious Spouse"
1974Killdozer!Dennis HolvigTelevision movie
1974Marcus Welby, M.D.Dr. Simon BryantEpisode: "No Gods in Sight"
1975The Daughters of Joshua Cabe ReturnWillTelevision movie
1975The Wonderful World of DisneyWill MacDonald2 episodes
1975S.W.A.T.Greg ColbyEpisode: "Criss-Cross"
1975Matt HelmPurcellEpisode: "Think Murder"
1976Starsky & HutchFather IgnatiusEpisode: "Silence"
1976Police StoryChief ElliottEpisode: "Open City"
1976Brinks: The Great RobberyPaul JacksonTelevision movie
1976Jigsaw JohnEpisode: "Plastique"
1977Most WantedHillEpisode: "The Hit Men"
1977Quincy, M.E.Attorney Paul BarkleyEpisode: "Hit and Run at Danny's"
1977The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew MysteriesAlex RichmondEpisode: "A Haunting We Will Go"
1977Kingston: ConfidentialChaplain PotterEpisode: "The Cult"


YearAwardCategoryTitle of work
1969Golden Globe AwardBest TV Star - MaleJudd, for the Defense
1969Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic SeriesJudd, for the Defense


  1. ^ "Name Winner of Scholarship". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 22, 1939. p. 13. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Cohen, Harold V. (April 11, 1968). "No Wonder Carl Betz Agrees With the Bard". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 26. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Carl Betz: A Look Back". Toledo Blade. May 14, 1986. pp. P–2. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Thompson, Ruth (September 16, 1967). "Carl Betz Plays Lawyer In "Judd"". Gettysburg Times. p. 1. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Actor Carl Betz Dying From Inoperable Cancer". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 5, 1978. p. 11. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Canceled TV Shows Garner Emmys". Lodi News-Sentinel. June 9, 1969. p. 9. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Show Business Couple To Split". Reading Eagle. October 1, 1961. p. 20. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  8. ^ Humphrey, Hal (February 2, 1964). "Donna's 'Dr. Stone' Falls Off the Wagon". The Victoria Advocate. p. 5. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "TV actor Carl Betz loses bout with cancer". The Day. January 19, 1978. p. 31. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Carl Betz, City Native, Actor, Dies". The Pittsburgh Press. January 19, 1978. p. A-5. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 

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