John Loder (actor)

John Loder

Hedy Lamarr and John Loder in 1946
Born John Muir Lowe
3 January 1898
London, England, United Kingdom
Died 26 December 1988(1988-12-26) (aged 90)
London, England, United Kingdom
Years active 1925–1971
Spouse(s) Alba Julia Lagomarsino (1958–1988) (divorced) 1 child
Evelyn Auff Mordt (1949–1955) (divorced)
Hedy Lamarr (1943–1947) (divorced) 2 children
Micheline Cheirel (1936–1941) (divorced) 1 child
Sophie Kabel (?–?) (divorced) 1 child

John Loder (3 January 1898 – 26 December 1988) was a well-known British actor who later became an American citizen (1947). He was born William John Muir Lowe in London.

Early life and military service

He was born at 11 Herbert Crescent, Knightsbridge, London.[1] His father was General W. H. M. Lowe, the British officer to whom Patrick Pearse, the leader of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, Ireland, surrendered.[2] Both were present at the surrender.[3]

He was educated at Eton and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Berkshire.

He followed his father into the army, being commissioned into 15th Hussars as a second lieutenant on 17 March 1915,[4] and then served in the Gallipoli Campaign, leaving there on 19 December that year. On 21 April 1916 until early May, he was in Ireland, before proceeding to Rouen, France to rejoin his regiment. He was engaged in the 1916 Battle of the Somme and was taken prisoner by the Germans on 21 March 1918 at the village of Roisel. He was taken to Le Cateau gaol and then by train to the first of several prisoner-of-war camps, at Rastatt, in Baden, Germany.[5] Upon being released, he stayed in Germany, resuming military duties on behalf of the Inter-Allied Commission in Breslau and Upper Silesia.

Acting career

Leaving the cavalry he went into business with a German friend, Walter Becker, establishing a pickle factory in Potsdam. Later Loder began to develop an interest in acting, appearing in bit parts in a few German films at the Tempelhof Film Studios, employed by Alexander Korda.[6] He left Germany to briefly return to the United Kingdom, before leaving on the SS Île de France bound for Hollywood to try his luck in the new medium: "talkies". He appeared in The Doctor's Secret, which was Paramount's first talking picture—though his very English persona did not win America over at this time. He returned to Britain, where he co-starred in plush musicals and intrigue such as Love, Life and Laughter and Sabotage. He was the male romantic interest in the 1937 original film version of King Solomon's Mines[7]

When the Second World War started, he returned to America. where he seamlessly coasted into a career in B movie roles, usually playing upper-crust characters, with occasional appearances on Broadway. He occasionally had supporting parts in major films such as How Green Was My Valley, in which he played a brother of Roddy McDowall's character; and Now, Voyager, in which he played a wealthy widower engaged to Bette Davis's character. His last screen appearance was in 1971.

In the early 1940s, Loder was host of Silver Theater, a dramatic anthology on CBS radio.[8] He also starred in the programme's 11 June 1944 episode.[9]

Personal life

Loder was married five times; two of his wives were actresses: French star Micheline Cheirel (married 1936–41 – she later married Paul Meurisse), and the Austrian-American Hedy Lamarr (married 1943–47). He and Lamarr had two children, Denise (born 1945) and Anthony (born 1947), and he adopted Lamarr's son James Markey from her previous marriage to screenwriter Gene Markey.

Loder's other wives were Sophie Kabel, Evelyn Auff Mordt, and finally in 1958, the heiress Alba Julia Lagomarsino of Argentina, where he lived on her 25,000-acre cattle ranch and spent much time at the Jockey Club in Buenos Aires. After they divorced in 1972,[10] Loder returned to London and resided for some years in a house opposite Harrods.

In 1947, he became an American citizen. In 1959, he became a naturalised citizen of the United Kingdom, as he had been of "uncertain nationality".[11]

His general health deteriorated in his eighties, and he was admitted in 1982 to the Distressed Gentlefolks Aid Association's Nursing Home in Vicarage Gate, Kensington, where he was well looked after, venturing out by taxi once a week to his London club, 'Bucks', in Mayfair, for luncheons. He died in London, aged 90, in 1988.[12] His autobiography, Hollywood Hussar was published in 1977.

John Loder's eldest son, Robin William Lowe (1925 – 29 March 2002[13]), followed his father to Eton and served in the Grenadier Guards. He later became a theatrical and literary agent and was married three times. His last marriage was to British actress Hilary Tindall (1938–1992), who played Ann Hammond in the 1970s BBC TV series The Brothers.[14]



  1. Hollywood Hussar by John Loder, London, 1977, p.9, ISBN 0-7030-0121-3
  2. "Hedy Lamarr and the Easter Rising". Irish Theatre Institute. 17 August 2006. Retrieved 2009-03-30.
  3. BBC, 1916 Easter Rising Gallery
  4. The London Gazette: no. 29102. p. 2632. 16 March 1915. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  5. Hollywood Hussar pps:30 & 41-52.
  6. Hollywood Hussar pps:70-74.
  7. Hollywood Hussar, p.118.
  8. Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Pp. 615-616.
  9. "Sunday Highlights". The Lincoln Star. June 11, 1944. p. 32. Retrieved March 31, 2015 via
  10. Genealogists' Magazine, vol.27, no.7, Society of Genealogists, London, 2002, pps:332-326, "Another Englishman Abroad - John loder and Hedy Lamarr" by Charles Kidd, editor of Debrett's Peerage & Baronetage.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 41637. p. 1172. 17 February 1959. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  12. The Daily Telegraph, Obituary, 29 December 1988
  13. "Times" Death Notices, 3 April 2002
  14. Genealogists' Magazine, Sept 2002
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