Carl Betz bigraphy, stories - Actor

Carl Betz : biography

March 9, 1921 - January 18, 1978

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

A native of Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Betz participated in childhood theatricals and later worked in summer stock. He graduated from Mount 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 fifty-six of lung cancer.

Selected filmography

  • O. Henry's Full House (Uncredited, 1952)
  • My Pal Gus (Uncredited, 1952)
  • The President's Lady (1952)
  • Dangerous Crossing (1953)
  • Inferno (1953)
  • Vicki (1953)
  • Spinout (1966)
  • The Lady from Peking (1975)


  • Kraft Television Theatre (1 episode, 1954)
  • Love of Life (1954–1955)
  • Appointment with Adventure (episode "Suburban Terror", 1956)
  • Crusader (1 episode, "Innocent Bystander", 1956)
  • Gunsmoke (1 episode, 1957)
  • Sheriff of Cochise (as Paul Sloan in episode "Statute of Limitations", 1957)
  • Perry Mason (1 episode, 1958)
  • The Millionaire (2 episodes, 1957–1958)
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents (2 episodes, 1958)
  • The Donna Reed Show (1958–1966)
  • Judd, for the Defense (53 episodes, 1967–1969)
  • Love, American Style (1 episode, 1969)
  • The Monk (ABC Movie of the Week, 1969)
  • Medical Center (1 episode, 1970)
  • Night Gallery (1 episode, 1970)
  • Mission: Impossible (2 episodes, 1970–1972)
  • The Mod Squad (1 episode, 1971)
  • The Bold Ones: The New Doctors (1 episode, 1972)
  • The Streets of San Francisco (1 episode, 1972)
  • Cannon (TV series) (1 episode, 1972)
  • Barnaby Jones (1 episode, 1973)
  • Mannix (1 episode, 1973)
  • The New Adventures of Perry Mason (1 episode, 1973)
  • Marcus Welby, M.D. (1 episode, 1974)
  • S.W.A.T. (1 episode, 1975)
  • Matt Helm (1 episode, 1975)
  • Starsky and Hutch (1 episode, 1976)
  • Police Story (1 episode, 1976)
  • Most Wanted (1 episode, 1977)
  • Kingston: Confidential (1 episode, 1977)
  • The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1 episode, 1977)


Betz was diagnosed with lung cancer and entered Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on November 28, 1977. He died seven weeks later, on January 18, 1978 and was cremated.


Year Outcome Award Category Film or series
1969 Won Golden Globe Award Best TV Star - Male Judd, for the Defense
Won Emmy Award Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series Judd, for the Defense


Growing up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mount 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. He took part in a Pittsburgh summer stock company, working for $45 a week along with room and board.

Following World War II military service in Italy and North Africa, Betz earned a degree at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh. He worked as a radio announcer and disk jockey before moving to New York City and again working in summer and winter stock companies.

Betz made his Broadway debut in 1952 in The Long Watch, 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 the John Bromfield syndicated crime drama, Sheriff of Cochise, and CBS's Perry Mason, in which he played Dr. Ralph Chandler in "The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary." He also made two appearances each on CBS's 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)]]

As Dr. Alex Stone, Betz was cast as a pediatrician, Dr. Alex Stone. The Donna Reed 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 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.

Betz earned excellent reviews for his performance on stage in The Night of the Iguana, but returned to television after The Donna Reed Show was cancelled as defense lawyer Clinton Judd in the two-season legal drama, Judd, for the Defense. He won an Emmy Award in 1969 for his performance, and 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.

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Living octopus

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