WESTON, Vt. – Sam Lloyd, an actor, statesman, philanthropist, and community leader, died peacefully at his home in Weston, Vermont, on Friday, March 24. He was 91. The cause of death was heart failure.
Sam Lloyd was born in New York City on September 8, 1925, son of Sam Lloyd and Ruth Lapham Lloyd. He was raised in the suburban communities of Stamford and New Canaan, Connecticut. After graduating from Lawrenceville Academy in 1942, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, serving with distinction in the Pacific during World War II in the 21st Marines 3rd Division, including the invasion of Iwo Jima. After the war, Sam trained at the Feagin School of Drama and Radio in New York City and played summer stock in Ridgefield, Connecticut and Chatauqua, New York. He then joined the acting company at the famed Cleveland Playhouse in Ohio, where – interrupted by a return to duty with the Marines during the Korean War – he spent many productive seasons.
Mr. Lloyd first came to Weston, Vermont, to appear at the Weston Playhouse in the summer of 1951, and he subsequently appeared in more than a thousand Playhouse productions, including “Sherlock Holmes” (1990) with his wife Barbara, brother Christopher, and son Sam.
During the late 1950’s, he moved to New York City where he studied with Uta Hagen, understudied Walter Matthau in the Broadway production of “A Shot in the Dark” and appeared in “A Cook for Mr. General” with a young Dustin Hoffman. He has also appeared in three Vermont films, “The Spitfire Grill” (1996), “Where the Rivers Flow North” (1953), and “Bereft” (2004).
Sam and his family moved full time to Weston in 1960, where he combined acting, business, and community service into a life of extraordinary breadth. He owned and operated the Weston Bowl Mill for more than three decades while finding time to serve eight years in the Vermont State Legislature, moderate the Weston Town Meeting for almost four decades, serve repeated terms on the State Environmental Board, serve as a member of the Weston Selectboard and Planning Commission, and the Flood Brook School Board. A dedicated environmentalist, he was among the authors of Vermont’s billboard law and Act 250, both of which were dedicated to preserving the Vermont that he loved.
Sam served as President of the Weston Community Club, was a board member of Vermont Institute of Natural Science, and from 1996 to 2006 he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company.
Sam’s generosity to local institutions is legendary. In the early 1990s, he envisioned the importance of computers in education and donated computers to Flood Brook School and endowed a forward-looking computer program at the school. He also was generous to the Vermont Land Trust, Vermont Community Foundation, and, of course, the Weston Playhouse Theater Company. On the opening night of his performance in “An Ideal Husband” (July 13, 2001), the Theatre Company commemorated his fifty years on the Weston Playhouse stage by naming its rehearsal hall in his honor.
Sam is survived by his beloved wife Barbara of 35 years, who has also been an actor on the Weston stage. He has survived by his four children, Sam Lloyd, Jr., Laurel Lloyd, Robin Lloyd, and Sandra Yaple. A fifth child, Jackson Lloyd, predeceased him. He is also survived by three siblings, Christopher Lloyd, Ruth Lloyd, and Adele Lloyd. He has four grandchildren, four great grandchildren, three stepchildren, three step grandchildren, one step great grandchild, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Sam Lloyd could have played on any stage. The Weston Playhouse and State of Vermont are fortunate indeed that he chose to play on ours.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial Contributions may be made to the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company.