Simon Oakland was a very recognizable character actor who enjoyed a long career of playing gruff, authority figures and tough guys, much in the mold of Edward G. Robinson. He was a fixture on television and in films and was regarded by his fellow actors as a consummate professional.
Oakland started out as a musician, but began acting in the late 1940s. He had a string of successful performances on Broadway before he moved to Hollywood with a breakout performance in I Want to Live! (1958). Oakland played the tough, compassionate reporter who comes to Susan Hayward's defense. These characteristics would define many of the roles Oakland would play in his career.
Oakland could also be seen in Tony Rome, West Side Story (as Lt. Schrank), and Psycho as the psychiatrist who delivers the memorable epilogue about Norman Bates.
Simon Oakland was a mainstay on television, with starring, guest and recurring roles in several popular programs. One of his best known roles was Tony Vincenzo, the bulldog newspaper editor who clashed with Darren McGavin on Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Oakland was also a co-star of Baa Baa Black Sheep and had a recurring role on The Rockford Files as rival private eye Vern St. Cloud.
After a long career, Oakland died of cancer in 1983, one day after his 68th birthday.