Carl Betz

Carl Betz

Betz as Clinton Judd (1967)
Born Carl Lawrence Betz
(1921-03-09)March 9, 1921
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died January 18, 1978(1978-01-18) (aged 56)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Lung cancer
Education (Mount St. Charles Academy, Class of 1940 Woonsocket, RI)
Alma mater Duquesne University
Carnegie Mellon University
Years active 19521977
Spouse(s) Lois Harmon (m. 1952; div. 1961)
Gloria Stone Martin (m. 1963–78)
Children 1

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

A native of Pittsburgh, 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.

Early years

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 a 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 stage work.[5] In 1967, producer Paul Monash offered Betz the role of defense lawyer Clinton Judd in the 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, Love, American Style, 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

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

Date Production Role
March 20–29, 1952 The Long Day Lt. Dick Bennett


Year Title Role Notes
1952 O. Henry's Full House Jimmie Valentine - Prologue Uncredited
1952 My Pal Gus Mr. Nelson Uncredited
1952 The President's Lady Charles Dickinson
1953 Powder River Loney Hogan
1953 Inferno Lt. Mike Platt
1953 Vicki Detective McDonald
1953 City of Bad Men Deputy Phil Ryan
1953 Dangerous Crossing John Bowman
1966 Spinout Howard Foxhugh
1975 The Boy Who Talked to Badgers Will MacDonald
1975 The Meal Jake Matheson Alternative title: Deadly Encounter
1975 The Lady from Peking Max Foster Alternative title: That Girl from Peking
Year Title Role Notes
1953 Your Jeweler's Showcase Episode: "Lady's Choice"
1954 Waterfront Dave Herrick Episode: "The Skipper's Day"
1954 Kraft Television Theatre Episode: "Party for Jonathan"
1954 The Big Story Charles McKinney Episode: "Charles McKinney of the Tulsa World"
1954 Robert Montgomery Presents Episode: "Two Wise Woman"
1954-1955 Love of Life Collie Jordan Regular cast member
1956 I Spy Episode: "Dishonored Hero"
1956 Appointment with Adventure Walter Pollard Episode: "Suburban Terror"
1956 Crusader Inspector Alan Kingman 2 episodes
1957 The Alcoa Hour Howard Miller Episode: "No License to Kill"
1957 Gunsmoke Nate Timble Episode: "Gone Straight"
1957 Panic! Co-Pilot Terry Blake Episode: "The Airline Hostess"
1957 Sheriff of Cochise Paul Sloan Episode: "Statute of Limitations"
1957-1958 The Millionaire Miller
Phil Williams
2 episodes
1958 Perry Mason Dr. Ralph Chandler Episode: "The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary"
1958 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Jerome Stanton
Store Detective
2 episodes
1958 The Silent Service Episode: "Mine for Keeps"
1958 Broken Arrow Trent Episode: "Jeopardy"
1958 Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Butler Tilton Episode: "A Detective Tail"
1958-1966 The Donna Reed Show Dr. Alex Stone 272 episodes
1967-1969 Judd, for the Defense Clinton Judd 50 episodes
1968 Premiere Dr. Frank Chandler Episode: "Crisis"
1969 Felony Squad Clinton Judd Episode: "The Law and Order Blues"
1969 The Monk Danny Gouzenko Television movie
1969 Love, American Style John Fillmore Segment: "Love and the Former Marriage"
1969-1971 The F.B.I. Gar Shelton
Martin Ashton
2 episodes
1970 Bracken's World Jeffrey Harris Episode: "Money Men"
1970 Medical Center Jason Purcell Episode: "The V.D. Story"
1970 McCloud Aldon F. Flanders Episode: "Who Says You Can't Make Friends in New York City?"
1970 Ironside Jason Banning Episode: "The Lonely Way to Go"
1970 Night Gallery Dr. Max Redford Segment: "The Dead Man"
1970-1972 Mission: Impossible General Yuri Kozani
Dutch Krebbs
2 episodes
1970-1974 Insight Walter P. Hendricks
General Dodd
2 episodes
1971 The Mod Squad R.J. Coleman Episode: "A Bummer for R.J."
1971 In Search of America Ben Olson Television movie
1971 The Deadly Dream Dr. Howard Geary Television movie
1972 Norman Corwin Presents Episode: "The Joy of Living"
1972 The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Arthur Bellamy Episode: "The Endangered Species"
1972 The Streets of San Francisco Jeff Williams Episode: "The Bullet"
1973 Set This Town on Fire Andy Wells Television movie
1973 Barnaby Jones Marshall Briggs Episode: "Stand-In for Death"
1973 The Magician Paul Ryerson Episode: "Man on Fire"
1973 The New Adventures of Perry Mason Clinton Exeter Episode: "The Case of the Spurious Spouse"
1974 Killdozer! Dennis Holvig Television movie
1974 Marcus Welby, M.D. Dr. Simon Bryant Episode: "No Gods in Sight"
1975 The Daughters of Joshua Cabe Return Will Television movie
1975 The Wonderful World of Disney Will MacDonald 2 episodes
1975 S.W.A.T. Greg Colby Episode: "Criss-Cross"
1975 Matt Helm Purcell Episode: "Think Murder"
1976 Starsky & Hutch Father Ignatius Episode: "Silence"
1976 Police Story Chief Elliott Episode: "Open City"
1976 Brinks: The Great Robbery Paul Jackson Television movie
1976 Jigsaw John Episode: "Plastique"
1977 Most Wanted Hill Episode: "The Hit Men"
1977 Quincy, M.E. Attorney Paul Barkley Episode: "Hit and Run at Danny's"
1977 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Alex Richmond Episode: "A Haunting We Will Go"
1977 Kingston: Confidential Chaplain Potter Episode: "The Cult", (Last appearance)


Year Award Category Title of work
1969 Golden Globe Award Best TV Star - Male Judd, for the Defense
1969 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series Judd, for the Defense


  1. "Name Winner of Scholarship". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 22, 1939. p. 13. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 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. 1 2 Thompson, Ruth (September 16, 1967). "Carl Betz Plays Lawyer In "Judd"". Gettysburg Times. p. 1. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  5. 1 2 "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. 1 2 "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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