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Daly Drama

  Alumni Profile  

Standing on the stage in Armstrong Theatre playing the lead in the Cornell production of Hamletin the early 1940s, James Daly ’41could not have known that over the next three decades he would become an Emmy winning actor with more than 600 television appearances.

Before coming to Cornell, Daly studied at the University of Wisconsin and at the University of Iowa. He attended Cornell from the summer of 1938 until February 1941 when he received degrees in English and drama. While at Cornell, Daly met his future wife, Hope Newell ’42, who became a character actor. The couple had four children, including Pegeen, Glynn, and prominent actors Tim (Wings) and Tyne (Cagney & Lacey and Judging Amy).

James Daly, after receiving the honorary degree of doctor of fine arts from Cornell, June 11, 1956. On the left is his actress wife, Hope Newell, and next to her professor Clyde “Toppy” Tull.

While at Cornell, Daly studied under drama instructors Albert and Bertha Johnson. In 1976, Daly honored Albert Johnson at a birthday at the actor’s penthouse in Venice, Calif.

A native of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., Daly received an honorary degree in fine arts from Cornell in 1956. The actor may be best known for his appearances on Gunsmoke, The Fugitive, The FBI, Ironsides, and Mission: Impossible. His film credits included The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell and Planet of the Apes. He also had a long stage career that included performances in The Glass Menagerie, St. Joan, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Billy Budd.

Daly won an Emmy in 1966 for his supporting role in the Hallmark Hall of Fame show Eagle in a Cage. He died in Nyack, N.Y., on July 2, 1976, at the age of 59.

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