John Loder, 90; Debonair Star of ‘30s, ‘40s

Times Staff Writer

John Loder, the aristocratic and debonair romantic star of films that began with early American silents and extended over more than three decades, has died at the age of 90.

The New York Times said in its Thursday editions that he died somewhere in England late last month. Further details were not available.

Born John Lowe in York, England, Loder’s off-screen persona was often as fascinating as the tweedy, pipe-smoking gentlemen of leisure he normally portrayed on the screen.


The third of his five wives was Hedy Lamarr, and newspaper clippings of the 1930s and ‘40s dwell more on his marriages and social activities than they do his films.

Born the son of a British general, he attended Eton and the Royal Military College at Sandhurst before serving as a lieutenant with the 15th Hussars in North Africa, France and Turkey during World War I. He was a prisoner of war for a time and titled his 1977 autobiography “Hollywood Hussar.”

In 1926 he played a subordinate role to German starlet Marlene Dietrich in a dance scene in Alexander Korda’s “Madame Wants No Children.”

By the early 1930s he was making pictures in both Hollywood and Europe and appeared in Paramount’s early talkie, “The Doctor’s Secret” in 1929.

He continued to make films in both his adopted land (he became a citizen of the United States in 1947) and his native England until 1970, when he was seen in “Cause for Alarm,” his first on-screen role in a decade. That was his final credit.

In all he appeared in more than 60 films. He probably will best be remembered for his work as the eldest son in “How Green Was My Valley,” opposite Lamarr in “Dishonored Lady” and in the lachrymose classic “Now Voyager” which starred Bette Davis.

His other pictures included the 1937 version of “King Solomon’s Mines,” Alfred Hitchcock’s “Sabotage,” “Lorna Doone,” “Gideon of Scotland Yard” and “Passage to Marseilles.”

Loder’s fifth and last wife was Julia Lagomarsino, widow of an Argentine cattle rancher. For a time they made their home in both Argentina and England.