Jerome Palmer Cowan (October 6, 1897 – January 24, 1972) was an American stage, film, and television actor. At eighteen he joined a travelling stock company, shortly afterwards enlisting in the United States Navy during World War I. After the war he returned to the stage and became a vaudeville headliner, then gained success on the New York stage. He was spotted by Samuel Goldwyn and was given a film contract, his first film being Beloved Enemy.
He appeared in more than one hundred films, but is probably best remembered for two roles in classic films: Miles Archer, the doomed private eye partner of Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon and Thomas Mara, the hapless district attorney who has to prosecute Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street.
The New York City-born actor also played Dagwood Bumstead's boss Mr. Radcliffe in several installments of Columbia Pictures'Blondie series. He also appeared in Deadline at Dawn, June Bride, and High Sierra.
In 1959, played Horatio Styles in the episode "Winter Song" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western television series, The Alaskans, withRoger Moore. That same year, he made two guest appearances in the CBS courtroom drama series, Perry Mason, starring Raymond Burr. He played murdered playwright Royce in "The Case of the Lost Last Act" and then Victor Latimore in "The Case of the Artful Dodger." He guest starred on the David Janssen crime drama, Richard Diamond, Private Detective.
In the 1960-1961 television season, Cowan starred as John Larsen, the owner of Comics, Inc., and the boss of Paul Morgan, a young cartoonist portrayed by Tab Hunter in the 32-segment NBC sitcom, The Tab Hunter Show. In 1962, he guest starred on Fess Parker'sABC sitcom, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He also appeared on Parker's historical series Daniel Boone and on the ABC religion drama, Going My Way, starring Gene Kelly.
In 1964 and 1965, Cowan appeared as the demanding Herbert Wilson alongside Walter Brennan in the 32-episode ABC series, The Tycoon. Earlier in 1963 he had appeared on Brennan's previous series, The Real McCoys, which in its last season aired on CBS.