2006-10-06 15:37:55 UTC
10/5/2006, 10:38 p.m. CT
By NANCY BLACKMON
The Associated Press
OPP, Ala. (AP) - James Harold Tilton Lynch, "Hal" to his friends and
those who know him from his acting career, died Thursday, the victim of
an apparent suicide.
Born November 13, 1927, in Birmingham, he grew up in Opp, attended Opp
Schools, enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was at Okinawa when he graduated
in absentia with the Class of 1945.
He began pursuing an acting career in the 1950s. In September of 1963,
he appeared on Broadway in "Spoon River Anthology," which had a
successful run, closing in January of 1964. His film career began in
1964 when he appeared in an episode of "Gunsmoke."
Before he returned to Opp in the mid 1970s, he worked for 12 years as
an actor appearing in more than 200 television shows. Some of those
included Barnaby Jones, Star Trek, Rockford Files, Big Valley and
His movie career includes more than 20 films, such as Stagecoach, The
Wild Rovers and Rosie.
Hal also wrote for TV and sold a number of scripts, and he had success
with the plays Three Miles to Poley and Heroes of Opp, for which his
grandfather Bird Jacobs was the inspiration.
He played a role in establishing and was co-owner of Theatre West in
Los Angeles, which provides training for actors.
When he came home to Opp, Hal and his late son, Michael, moved into an
1894 house on Barnes Street, just a few doors from his boyhood home.
During the years that followed, Hal dedicated himself to preserving the
communitys history, penning a weekly historical column for The Opp
News. He also used his storytelling abilities to benefit local
Fellow actor and friend Lee Meriwether said she remembers his generous
"We had lots of fun times together," she said. "He was always very
supportive of me. He did so much for our theater here. He even built
our light fixtures.
"Im sure we will have a memorial here for him. We will share stories
and show pictures and we usually end with a standing ovation. Hals will
be long and loud."
Betty Garrett, who was also in Spoon River Anthology, recalled when she
met him, and talked about reading his Opp News columns
"He was a wonderful colorful character," she said. "He joined us when
we went to New York with Spoon River Anthology.
"He always looked like a folk character
Graveside services for Hal Lynch are set for Friday 2 p.m. at Peaceful
Acres Cemetery in Opp.