Mr. Norm Alden, a character actor who referred to himself as "the familiar face nobody knows" and "America's favorite unknown actor," died Friday in Los Angeles of natural causes. He was 87.|
Mr. Alden appeared or did voice work in about 2,500 movies, TV series and commercials, his family told The Hollywood Reporter.
He played the owner of Lou's Diner in Back to the Future and Cameraman Bill in Tim Burton's Ed Wood; did the voice of Aquaman (among others) in Super Friends and The All-New Super Friends Hour; and played Lou the Mechanic in a series of AC Delco commercials. Not to mention scores of sheriffs, outlaws, cabbies, cops and crooks in a credit roll the includes projects as diverse as the original Dallas and Love, American Style, as well as appearances in seemingly every cop show of the late '60s and '70s.
Mr. Alden, who as born Norman Adelberg? on Sept. 13, 1924, in Fort Worth, had a Hollywood career that spanned five decades. But he never forgot his roots.
"He's a TCU, Paschal High School, purple-and-white person," Linda Thieben, his longtime partner, said by phone from the L.A. area.
"A few years ago, everybody from Fort Worth was here for the Rose Bowl, and we got to meet with a lot of his friends."
Mr. Alden returned to Fort Worth frequently and was often spotted at the Colonial National Invitation Tournament by people who recognized his face but couldn't place where they'd seen him. He also came back to play stage parts such as the sheriff in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at Casa Mañana and the Stage Manager in a 1995 production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town and Mr. Alden's alma mater, Paschal High School. Mr. Alden told the Star-Telegram at the time that he made his acting debut on the same stage in 1936 or '37, playing Mexican Gen. Santa Anna.
Services for Mr. Alden will be Sunday in Los Angeles. Plans for a memorial service in Fort Worth are pending.
Published in Star-Telegram on July 30, 2012