Simon Oakland

Simon Oakland

Oakland (left) as Inspector Spooner and Tony Musante as Toma from Toma (1973)
Born (1915-08-28)August 28, 1915
Brooklyn, New York City
New York, U.S.
Died August 29, 1983(1983-08-29) (aged 68)
Cathedral City, California, U.S.
Cause of death Cancer
Occupation Actor
Years active 1956–1983
Spouse(s) Lois Porta (?-1983, his death; one child)

Simon Oakland (August 28, 1915 – August 29, 1983) was an American actor of stage, screen, and television.

Early life and career

Oakland was born in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, the son of a plasterer and builder.[1][2] While he later claimed in media interviews to have been born in 1922[1][3] (a date repeated in his New York Times obituary),[4][5] Social Security and death indexes indicate he was born Simon Weiss in 1915; his stage name was likely derived from his mother's maiden name, Oaklander.[6][7][8][9][Note 1]

He began his performing arts career as a musician (he was a violinist,[11] an avocation he would pursue during his entire career as an actor). Oakland began his acting career in the late 1940s. He enjoyed a series of Broadway hits, including Light Up the Sky, The Shrike and Inherit the Wind, and theater was one of his lasting passions. He was a concert violinist until the 1940s.

Moving to films and television

Oakland made his film debut as the "tough, but compassionate" journalist who speaks up for Susan Hayward's Barbara Graham in I Want to Live! in 1958. Oakland would play this type often over the course of his career.

He went on to play a long series of tough-guy types, usually in positions of authority, most notably in Psycho, in which he plays the psychiatrist who explains Norman Bates's multiple personality disorder. He also appeared in West Side Story, The Sand Pebbles, Bullitt, and the television series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. He made two guest appearances on CBS's Perry Mason, both times as the murder victim. He also appeared in the syndicated crime drama, Decoy, starring Beverly Garland. Oakland appeared once each on the CBS western, Dundee and the Culhane and in another syndicated crime drama series, Sheriff of Cochise, starring John Bromfield. Oakland played General Thomas Moore on NBC's Baa Baa Black Sheep, starring Robert Conrad.

Death certificate of Simon Oakland

Personal life

Oakland was married to Lois Lorraine Porta (1918-2003).[3][12] The couple had one daughter, Barbara.[4]


Simon Oakland died of colon cancer, one day after his 68th birthday (29 August 1983), in Cathedral City, California.

TV and filmography


  1. Some primary sources suggest his birth name may have been Isidor Weiss.[10] One source reported that his "real name" was Si Oaklander,[1] but this is contradicted by the weight of evidence.


  1. 1 2 3 Wilson, Earl (14 May 1977). "People Recognise His Face But Not Oakland's Name". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. p. 11A. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  2. "Villain on the screen really is a nice guy". The Morning Record. 9 December 1967. p. 3. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  3. 1 2 Blank, Edward L. (3 January 1972). "Simon Oakland: 'Face is Familiar - What's his name?'". The Pittsburgh Press. p. 39. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  4. 1 2 "Simon Oakland, 61, Actor who starred in 3 TV series, dies". New York Times. 1 September 1983. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  5. "Michigan Obituaries, 1820-2006". FamilySearch. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  6. "California Death Records". RootsWeb. Retrieved 2 April 2016. Duplicate entries under surname Weiss and Oakland with same Social Security number.
  7. "California Death Index, 1940-1997". FamilySearch. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  8. "California Death Index, 1940-1997". FamilySearch. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  9. "United States Social Security Death Index". FamilySearch. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  10. "United States Census, 1930". Family Search. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  11. Thompson, Ruth (28 October 1968). "More Than 800 Programs for Simon Oakland". The Gettysburg Times (TV Magazine). p. 1. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  12. "Funeral Services & Memorials: Lois Lorraine Oakland, 84". Santa Fe New Mexican. New Mexico. 9 April 2003. p. 12. Retrieved 30 March 2016 via
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