Weston theater fixture Sam Lloyd, 91, was a community leader, philanthropist

Sam Lloyd in the 1950s. Click on a photo to launch the gallery. All photos provided

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Sam Lloyd, an actor, businessman, philanthropist and community leader, died peacefully at his home in Weston on Friday, March 24. He was 91.

Mr. Lloyd’s death was announced by the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company with which he had a long association. The cause of death was heart failure.

Mr. Lloyd was born in New York City on Sept. 8, 1925, son of Sam Lloyd and Ruth Lapham Lloyd. He was raised in Stamford and New Canaan, Conn. 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 3rd Division, 21st Marines. He participated in the 1945 invasion of Iwo Jima.

After the war, Mr. Lloyd trained at the Feagin School of Drama and Radio in New York City and played summer stock in Ridgefield, Conn., and Chautauqua, N.Y.  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.

Sam Lloyd, left, performing with his brother Christopher Lloyd in the 1990 WPTC production of ‘Sherlock.’

Mr. Lloyd first came to Weston in the summer of 1951 to perform at the Weston Playhouse, and subsequently appeared in more than 1,000 Playhouse performances, including Sherlock Holmes (1990) with his wife Barbara, brother Christopher and son Sam.

During the late 1950s, 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 (1993), and Bereft (2004).

In 1960, Mr. Lloyd and his family moved to Weston, where he acted and was active in business and community service.  He owned and operated the Weston Bowl Mill for more than three decades, served eight years in the Vermont General Assembly, moderated the Weston Town Meeting for nearly four decades and served as a member of the State Environmental Board, the Weston Select Board and Planning Commission and the Flood Brook School Board. Mr. Lloyd was known as an environmentalist and was among the authors of Vermont’s billboard and Act 250 laws.

Mr. Lloyd was also president of the Weston Community Club, a board member of Vermont Institute of Natural Science and, from 1996 to 2006, a member of the board of directors of the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company.

From left, Steve Stettler, Barbara Lloyd and Sam Lloyd at the dedication of the Lloyd Rehearsal Hall.

As a philanthropist, Mr. Lloyd was honored, along with his wife Barbara, by the Vermont State Legislature in 2003 for seeing the importance of technology in education and donating computers and endowing a computer program at Flood Brook School.

He also made significant contributions to the the Vermont Land Trust, Vermont Community Foundation and the Weston Playhouse Theater Company.  On the Opening Night of his performance in An Ideal Husband in 2001, the Theatre Company commemorated his 50 years on the Playhouse stage by naming its rehearsal hall in his honor.

“Sam Lloyd was synonymous with the Weston Playhouse for 65 years, and his service to Weston, the surrounding communities, and the state of Vermont are legendary,” WPTC Producing Artistic Director Steve Stettler said on Friday evening. “While we mourn his loss, we treasure our memories of this special man, and we hold his full and generous life as an example for all of us”

Mr. Lloyd is survived by Barbara Lloyd, his wife of 35 years, who has also acted on the Weston stage. The Lloyds were known throughout Vermont for their oft repeated performance of A. R. Gurney’s Love Letters, first seen at Weston in 1992, which Stettler called “a wry and moving portrait of a romance that beautifully reflected their life together both on and off the stage.”

Sam Lloyd in ‘On Golden Pond’ in 1991.

Mr. Lloyd is also 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 is also survived by four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, three stepchildren, three step-grandchildren, one step-great grandchild and numerous nieces and nephews.

At the dedication of the rehearsal hall in 2001, the Playhouse acknowledged that “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.

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  1. Becky Nawrath says:

    Mike and I have known Sam for over 40 years. Mike served in the legislature with Sam and always looked forward to Sam’s speeches. I had the honor of serving with Sam on the State Environmental Board in the ’90s and beyond. He was very lovable and an icon. Godspeed.

  2. Robin Lloyd says:

    I want to thank you, Barbara, for the love and devotion you showed my father during your life together, and especially during these last years. I have witnessed you to be a champion for his care and well being. We should all be so lucky as to have someone love and stand by us, as you have for our beloved Poppy!

  3. Robin Lloyd says:

    I want to add that Sam Lloyd is also survived by his former wife of 24 years, Marianna McGuffin, 86, of Weston, mother of Robin, Laurel, Sam Jr. and Jackson Lloyd.

    It was she who came to settle in Vermont with my father and their young family. My mother loved, and will always love my father, though she was glad that he and Barbara were happy in their life together.

    She is a part of his life (and I think it was actually she and not Pop who served on the Flood Brook School Board!) I thank Barbara for the joy and support she brought to my father’s life, making their 35 years together very happy indeed. Nothing could be more precious!

  4. Connie Wilcox says:

    A great man who will be greatly missed. My heartfelt prayers to you, Barbara, and your family. You both were so supportive of the arts in the Ludlow community while I taught music there. Sending prayers.

  5. Brock Putnam says:

    I will be but one of many whose life was affected by Sam’s. I spent four summers at the Weston Playhouse and was fortunate to be on stage with Sam more than once, and yet, I feel as if I have some proprietary claim on knowing him. I doubt this feeling is unusual among those people lucky enough to have known him.

    At the end of the summer seasons, the company in “the Boughton Years” had a satirical awards ceremony at which we presented mock awards to one another. I recall the year Jon Huberth was the M.C. “The next category is ‘Best Performance by the Owner of a BOWL MILL.’ ”

    Jon’s smirk was a mile wide as he opened the envelope. (PAUSE) “No award given” Sam’s reaction played into it perfectly, as the rest of us roared. He brought that out in people.

  6. deborah gordon blackmer says:

    Godspeed. Loved this man, he will be missed.

  7. Mary Coonradt says:

    Sam will be missed. So glad I had the pleasure to know and care for him.
    Prayers to the family.

  8. Marie Wade says:

    My thoughts and prayers to you all. As I grew up in Weston, I knew the family well. Went to school with the kids. As I did not know Barbara – only by sight, I did know Mariane very well did plays in the summer with them all. Sam you will be missed. R.I. P.

  9. Fran Rosenthal says:

    Barbara, Sam was a prince among men. Cherish your memories of him. I send my best to you always.

  10. Betsy Ballard says:

    Sam will truly be missed. His passing is the end of an era of wonderful Weston men and the place will never be the same. It makes me smile to know he is with Jackie, my dad, Jack Straw and so many more who are smiling down on us. May all who loved him think of happier days and smile at the memories.

  11. Sylvan Groth says:

    Sam was indeed a unique dramatic and comic talent. But, I will remember him most for what he gave to the small church community at First Universalist of Chester. His humor, thoughtfulness, and kind heart could give much needed levity to a long annual meeting, or make a friend a smile when their heart was heavy. All my love to Barbara and the rest of his family. Thank you, Sam, for sharing your light with us.

  12. Tad Kinsley says:

    My condolences to Barbara and all of the extended Lloyd family. The ” Admiral ” will be missed.

  13. Jean Hart says:

    My condolences to Sam’s family. I loved watching him perform, and saw the performance of Sherlock with his brother, wife and son. I enjoyed his performances, epecially in the Spitfire Grill, and his yearly reading of Scrooge. It’s a very sad day to realize what we’ll miss. I’m sorry for our loss. Because anyone who came in contact with Sam did indeed meet a unique individual.

  14. Linda O'Rear says:

    How I remember that generous gift he made to Flood Brook Union School! So proud to have been part of those exciting times. He will be missed!

  15. My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time. He was a great man. I was delighted to stand next to him at our Christmas celebration in Ludlow, several years ago.

  16. John b nute says:

    Sad news indeed.

  17. william griggs says:

    What a great man and a great loss to the community. He will be missed and remembered by so many.

  18. David Howald says:

    I am truly saddened to hear of Sam’s passing. My thoughts go out to Barbara and the family.
    I always loved visiting with them, and enjoyed our conversations immensely.
    Rest in peace my friend. You will not, nor could ever be forgotten.