Jimmy Lydon (born May 30, 1923) is an American film actor and television producer, whose career in the entertainment industry began as a teenage actor in the 1930s.
James J. Lydon was born in Harrington Park, New Jersey. His family was of Irish heritage. Raised in Bergenfield, New Jersey, Lydon initially appeared on Broadway in 1937, before he turned to films, beginning as a teenager. One of his first starring roles was the title character in the 1940 movie Tom Brown's School Days, also starring Cedric Hardwicke and Freddie Bartholomew. It was well received by critics, with Variety praising it in a January 1940 review as "sympathetically and skillfully made, with many touching moments and an excellent cast". Lydon was called "believable and moving in the early portions, but too young for the final moments".
Between 1941–1944, Lydon starred as the screechy-voiced, adolescent Henry Aldrich in the movie series of that title. After completing the Aldrich series, the 21-year-old Lydon signed a contract in 1944 with Republic Pictures.
He appeared with William Powell, Irene Dunne, and Elizabeth Taylor in the acclaimed 1947 film Life with Father, in the role of college-bound Clarence.Variety called Jimmy Lydon's portrayal "effective as the potential Yale man". He then appeared opposite James Cagney in the 1948 movie The Time of Your Life. From 1949-1950, he and Janet Waldo voiced the leading characters in the radio adaptation of the comic book Young Love.
Lydon easily gained roles in the new medium - television. Jimmy Lydon portrayed Chris Thayer on The First Hundred Years. The show was CBS' first daytime soap opera. It lasted for three seasons. He played Biffen Cardoza on the last six episodes of Rocky Jones, Space Ranger in 1954 and made appearances in Lux Video Theatre and The Christophers.
In 1958, the actor played the role of Richard in Anne Jeffreys and Robert Sterling's short-lived sitcom, Love That Jill. A year later, Lydon guest starred on the ABC/Warner Brothers westerntelevision series Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. He played the role of Willy in the episode "Return to El Paso", with Paul Picerni cast as Jose.
Lydon appeared in guest roles on Crossroads, Casey Jones, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Wagon Train, Hennesey, The Twilight Zone, and Tales of the Texas Rangers, as Lt. Jared Evans in the 1958 episode "Warpath". After working increasingly in television in the 1950s, Lydon turned to production roles, helping to create the detective series 77 Sunset Strip and the CBS sitcomM*A*S*H. He also produced the television adaptation of the film Mister Roberts in 1966 and Roll Out in 1973-1974. Jimmy Lydon also played Captain Henry Aldrich (a reference to his Aldrich movie series) on the latter show.
During the 1980s, Jimmy continued to act in television, with roles on Lou Grant, Simon & Simon and St. Elsewhere episodes .
Lydon resides in Bonita, California, with his wife, the former Betty Lou Nedell, whom he married in 1952. They have two daughters and two granddaughters.