Born in Ossining, New York, on January 20, 1916 (some sources cite January 1919), character actor Alex Nicol acted in a number of stage productions from the 1930s through the mid 1950s. His stage career was interrupted by a five-year stint in the U.S. Army in the early 1940s. After his return from the Army, Nicol enrolled at the famed Actor's Studio. Acting both on and off Broadway, some of the Broadway productions in which he appeared include King Richard II and South Pacific. He also portrayed Brick in the Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, replacing Ben Gazzara in late 1955. After more than ten years of acting onstage, Nicol signed with Universal-International in 1950 and acted in his first film, The Sleeping City (1950; with Coleen Gray and Richard Conte).

Alex Nicol

Early 1950s Universal-International photo of Alex Nicol

Nicol acted in numerous westerns while at Universal, including Lone Hand (1953; with Joel McCrea and Barbara Hale) and Dawn at Socorro (1954; with Rory Calhoun and Piper Laurie). When he left Universal in 1955, Nicol freelanced for the remainder of his career. He started a second career as a director with the horror film The Screaming Skull (1958; with John Hudson and Peggy Webber). And he also directed some television show episodes in the 1960s, including Tarzan (1966-1969; with Ron Ely) and The Wild, Wild West (1965-1969; with Robert Conrad).

the films of alex nicol

Target Unknown (1951)

Alex Nicol and James BestAlex Nicol and Malu Gatica

Images from the Universal-International war flick Target Unknown. LEFT: With James Best. RIGHT: With Malu Gatica

Meet Danny Wilson (1952)

Frank Sinatra, Alex Nicol, and Raymond BurrAlex Nicol and Shelley Winters

From Universal-International's musical drama Meet Danny Wilson. LEFT: With Frank Sinatra and Raymond Burr. RIGHT: With Shelley Winters

Champ for a Day (1953)

Audrey Totter and Alex Nicol

With Audrey Totter in the Republic drama Champ for a Day

Lone Hand (1953)

Joel McCrea, Alex Nicol, and James Arness

From the Universal-International western Lone Hand with Joel McCrea and James Arness

The Redhead From Wyoming (1953)

Alex NicolAlex Nicol

As Sheriff Blaine in the colorful Universal-International western The Redhead From Wyoming

Dawn at Socorro (1954)

Alex Nicol

Nicol portrayed gunfighter Jimmy Rapp in Universal-International's Dawn at Socorro

Heat Wave (1954)

Hillary Brooke and Alex Nicol

With Hillary Brooke in the British-made film noir release Heat Wave

The Screaming Skull (1958)

Peggy Webber

Peggy Webber is frightened by The Screaming Skull, released by American International. This film marks Alex Nicol's debut as a director, and he also portrays Mickey the caretaker. This film once aired on Mystery Science Theater 3000

Look in Any Window (1961)

Carole Mathews and Alex Nicol

With Carole Mathews in the Allied Artists potboiler Look in Any Window

Then There Were Three (1961)

Alex Nicol and Frank Latimore

With Frank Latimore in the low-budget war flick Then There Were Three, directed by Alex Nicol

The Savage Guns (1962)

Richard Basehart, Maria Granada, and Alex Nicol

Maria Granada tries to stop Alex Nicol from killing Richard Basehart in this scene from the western The Savage Guns, released by MGM

Point of Terror (1971)

Point of Terror poster

Poster from the horror flick Point of Terror, the final film directed by Alex Nicol

later years

With film roles getting fewer and farther between in the 1960s, Nicol headed to Europe, where he acted in several westerns. Wisely investing his earnings in rental property, his film career slowed considerably in the late 1960s. Nicol wrapped his acting career with the film Woman in the Rain (1976; with Ron Masak and Barbara Luna). Afterward, he retired from acting. Alex Nicol passed away on July 29, 2001 at the age of 85 and was survived by his wife, two sons, and a daughter.

alex nicol dvds available from


Woman in the Rain (1976) with Ron Masak and Mary Frann
APE (1976) with Joanna Kerns
Huckleberry Finn (1975) with Ron Howard, Donny Most, Antonio Fargas, Jack Elam, Merle Haggard, and Clint Howard
Winner Take All (1975) with Shirley Jones, Laurence Luckinbill, Sam Groom, Joyce Van Patten, Joan Blondell, and Sylvia Sidney
The Clones (1974) with Michael Greene, Gregory Sierra, and John Drew Barrymore
The Night God Screamed (1971) with Jeanne Crain
Homer (1970) with Don Scardino and Tisa Farrow
Bloody Mama (1970) with Shelley Winters, Pat Hingle, Don Stroud, Diane Varsi, Bruce Dern, Robert De Niro, and Robert Walden
Manila, Open City (1968) with John Ashley and James Shigeta
Relevo para un pistolero (1964) with Silvia Solar
Ride and Kill (1964)
Gunfighters of Casa Grande (1964)
Run with the Devil (1963) with Yvonne Furneaux
The Savage Guns (1962) with Richard Basehart and Fernando Rey
A Matter of WHO (1962) with Terry-Thomas and Honor Blackman
Then There Were Three (1961) with Frank Latimore
Look in Any Window (1961) with Paul Anka , Ruth Roman, Gigi Perreau, Carole Mathews, George Dolenz, and Jack Cassidy
Everybody Go Home (1960) with Martin Balsam
Under Ten Flags (1960) with Van Heflin, Charles Laughton, and John Ericson
5 Branded Women (1960) with Jeanne Moreau, Vera Miles, Barbara Bel Geddes, Van Heflin, Richard Basehart, and Steve Forrest
The Screaming Skull (1958) with John Hudson, Peggy Webber, and Russ Conway; directed by Alex Nicol. Once aired on Mystery Science Theater 3000
Stranger in Town (1957)
Great Day in the Morning (1956) with Virginia Mayo, Robert Stack, Ruth Roman, Raymond Burr, Leo Gordon, and Regis Toomey
Sincerely Yours (1955) with Liberace, Joanne Dru, Dorothy Malone, William Demarest, Lurene Tuttle, Lori Nelson, Edward Platt, and Guy Williams
The Man from Laramie (1955) with James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, and Cathy O'Donnell
Strategic Air Command (1955) with James Stewart, June Allyson, Barry Sullivan, Bruce Bennett, and Rosemary DeCamp
The Gilded Cage (1954)
Dawn at Socorro (1954) with Rory Calhoun, Piper Laurie, David Brian, Kathleen Hughes, Edgar Buchanan, Mara Corday, Lee Van Cleef, and Richard Garland
About Mrs. Leslie (1954) with Shirley Booth, Robert Ryan, and Philip Ober
Heat Wave (1954) with Hillary Brooke
Face the Music (1954)
Champ for a Day (1953) with Audrey Totter and Hope Emerson
Law and Order (1953) with Ronald Reagan, Dorothy Malone, Russell Johnson, Jack Kelly, and Dennis Weaver
Lone Hand (1953) with Joel McCrea, Barbara Hale, and Charles Drake
The Redhead From Wyoming (1953) with Maureen O'Hara, Gregg Palmer, Jack Kelly, Jeanne Cooper, and Dennis Weaver
Because of You (1952) with Loretta Young, Jeff Chandler, and Frances Dee
Red Ball Express (1952) with Jeff Chandler, Charles Drake, Sidney Poitier, Hugh O'Brian, Gregg Palmer, John Hudson, and Jack Kelly
Meet Danny Wilson (1952) with Frank Sinatra, Shelley Winters, and Raymond Burr
The Raging Tide (1951) with Shelley Winters, Richard Conte, Stephen McNally, and Charles Bickford
Air Cadet (1951) with Stephen McNally, Gail Russell, Richard Long, Charles Drake, Rock Hudson, Peggie Castle, and James Best
Target Unknown (1951) with Mark Stevens, Gig Young, Joyce Holden, and James Best
Tomahawk (1951) with Van Heflin, Yvonne De Carlo, Preston Foster, Rock Hudson, and Susan Cabot
The Sleeping City (1950) with Richard Conte, Coleen Gray, and Peggy Dow

McCloud, episode The Day New York Turned Blue, originally aired February 22, 1976
Boney, episode Boney and the Black Clansman, originally aired April 11. 1973
The F.B.I., episode Game of Terror, originally aired November 7, 1971
The Outer Limits, episode Moonstone, originally aired March 9, 1964
The Dick Powell Show, episode The Old Man and the City, originally aired April 23, 1963
Dr. Kildare, episode The Dark Side of the Mirror, originally aired March 28, 1963
Cain's Hundred, episode The Quick Brown Fox, originally aired May 15, 1962
The Twilight Zone, episode Young Man's Fancy, originally aired May 11, 1962
Alcoa Theatre, episode Medals for Harry, originally aired June 1, 1959
U.S. Marshal, episode Cop Hater, originally aired November 8, 1958
Climax!, episode Cabin B-13, originally aired June 26, 1958
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, episode Heroes Never Group Up, originally aired February 7, 1958
Kraft Television Theatre, episode Run, Joe, Run, originally aired January 29, 1958
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, episode The Percentage, originally aired January 5, 1958
Climax!, episode Shadow of a Memory, originally aired December 26, 1957
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, episode No Trial by Jury, originally aired November 11, 1955
Damon Runyon Theater, episode Earthquake Morgan, originally aired August 27, 1955
Lux Video Theatre, episode Eight Iron Men, originally aired May 12, 1955
TV Reader's Digest, episode The Great Armored Car Robbery, originally aired April 25, 1955
Lux Video Theatre, episode Christmas in July, originally aired September 9, 1954
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, episode Groundloop, originally aired March 12, 1954
Letter to Loretta, episode Laughing Boy, originally aired December 6, 1953

alex nicol film now showing

Watch Alex Nicol's 1958 horror film The Screaming Skull, which Nicol also directed.

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