James Firman Daly was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin on October 25, 1918. Daly studied drama and acted in shows before serving in three branches of the armed forces, including six months as an infantryman in the U.S. Army, two months as a cadet in the Army Air Corps, and more than four years in the Navy as an ensign during World War II.
Daly attended the University of Wisconsin, State University of Iowa, and Carroll College before receiving a degree from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. Cornell College later presented him with an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.
James was an accomplished stage actor, starting out in 1946 as Gary Merrill's understudy in “Born Yesterday”. His starring roles on Broadway included Archibald MacLeish's Pulitzer Prize- winning “J.B.” and Tennessee Williams' “Period of Adjustment”.
A hard-working actor intent on diversifying into different media, Daly clearly understood the potential of live television drama. He made his small screen debut in the late 1940s and soon starred in early Playhouse productions. Within a few years he featured in his own weekly syndicated series, ‘Foreign Intrigue’ (1951), about a family of foreign correspondents in Europe. This was one of the first TV shows to be shot on location and it necessitated his and his family's temporary relocation to Paris and Stockholm. Throughout the next twenty years, Daly remained much in demand as a reliable leading television actor with 'gravitas', often playing tragic or despairing figures. He was commanding as the titular star of ‘Give Us Barabbas!’ (1961). Four years later, he picked up an Emmy for his role in the Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951) episode ‘The Eagle and the Cage’. There were countless other guest starring roles and even a few choice movie parts, such as “Planet of the Apes” (1968). Daly enjoyed another recurring role in the long-running (170 episodes) ‘Medical Center’ (1969) as resident 'elder statesman' to young surgeon Chad Everett. He had just completed filming on an episode of "Roots: The Next Generations" and was scheduled to appear in the play "Equus" at the historic Westchester Theatre, Tarrytown Music Hall, when he died of a heart attack at the age of 59.
Daly was married to Hope Newell (Mary Hope Newell) [1921-2009] (1942-1966) and was the father of Pegeen Michael Daly [1943- ], writer, actress, singer Tyne Daly (Ellen Tyne Daly) [1946- ], Glyn Daly [1947- ], producer, director, writer, actor Tim Daly (James Timothy Daly) [1956- ], and grandfather of production assistant Alisabeth Brown (Alisabeth Douglas Brown) [1967- ], actress Kathryne Dora Brown [1971- ], producer, writer, actor Sam Daly [1984- ], actress Emelyn Daly [1989- ].
His only Euro-western role was as Captain Augustus in 1969’s “The 5-Man Army” starring Peter Graves, Bud Spencer, Nino Castelnuovo and Tetsuro Tamba.
DALY, James (James Firman Daly) [10/25/1918, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, U.S.A. – 7/3/1978, Nyack, New York, U.S.A. (heart attack)] – theater, film, TV actor, singer, married to Hope Newell (Mary Hope Newell) [1921-2009] (1942-1966) father of Pegeen Michael Daly [1943- ], writer, actress, singer Tyne Daly (Ellen Tyne Daly) [1946- ], Glyn Daly [1947- ], producer, director, writer, actor Tim Daly (James Timothy Daly) [1956- ], grandfather of production assistant Alisabeth Brown (Alisabeth Douglas Brown) [1967- ], actress Kathryne Dora Brown [1971- ], producer, writer, actor Sam Daly [1984- ], actress Emelyn Daly [1989- ].
The 5-Man Army – 1969 (Captain Augustus)