Iowa History Daily: On August 13, 1920, Neville Brand, an actor known for roles in many westerns, was born in Griswold, Iowa. A decorated World War II veteran, shined on the silver screen in the golden age of American Westerns.
After his birth in Griswold, Brand spent much of his childhood in Kewanee, Illinois. Brand enlisted in the United States Army at the onset of World War II. While serving with 83rd Infantry Division (Thunderbolt Division) in the Ardennes, Rhineland and Central European campaigns. Brand, a sergeant and platoon leader, a shot to the upper right arm almost bled Brand to death along the Weser River on April 7, 1945. The United States awarded him the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.
Brand arrived back stateside and used his GI Bill to attend Geller Drama School in Los Angeles. He also found parts in the Jean-Paul Sarte’s “The Victors” and an Army Signal Corps film starring Charleston Heston. He started to rack up film roles including “Halls of Montezuma” (1951), “Only the Valiant” (1951), “The Mob” (1951), and “Red Mountain” (1951). On continued to break through with “Kansas City Confidential” (1952), “The Turning Point” (1952), and, notably, “Stalag 17” (1953).
Brand grew well known as a villain when he killed the character played by Elvis Presley in his debut film “Love Me Tender” (1956). He also appeared in “The Way to the Gold” (1957), “The Lonely Man” (1957), “The Tin Star” (1957), “Cry Terror!” (1958), and “Badman's Country” (1958). Playing Al Capone on the popular television show “The Untouchables” helped continue Brand’s climb toward a decade with numerous roles across the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar