John Davis Lodge

John Davis Lodge (October 20, 1903 – October 29, 1985) was an American lawyer, actor, politician, and diplomat.[1][2] He was the 79th governor of Connecticut from 1951 to 1955, and later served as U.S. ambassador to Spain, Argentina, and Switzerland.[3] As an actor, he often was credited simply as John Lodge. He had roles in four Hollywood films between 1933 and 1935, including playing Marlene Dietrich's lover in The Scarlet Empress and Shirley Temple's father in The Little Colonel. He starred or co-starred in many British and European films between 1935 and 1940.

John Davis Lodge
John Davis Lodge.jpg
Lodge in 1935 during his acting days
United States Ambassador to Switzerland
In office
May 19, 1983 – April 30, 1985
PresidentRonald Reagan
Preceded byFaith Ryan Whittlesey
Succeeded byFaith Ryan Whittlesey
United States Ambassador to Argentina
In office
July 23, 1969 – November 10, 1973
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byCarter Lane Burgess
Succeeded byRobert Charles Hill
United States Ambassador to Spain
In office
March 24, 1955 – April 13, 1961
PresidentDwight Eisenhower
Preceded byJames Clement Dunn
Succeeded byAnthony Joseph Drexel Biddle
79th Governor of Connecticut
In office
January 3, 1951 – January 5, 1955
LieutenantEdward N. Allen
Preceded byChester Bowles
Succeeded byAbraham Ribicoff
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1951
Preceded byClare B. Luce
Succeeded byAlbert P. Morano
Personal details
Born(1903-10-20)October 20, 1903
Washington, D.C., U.S.
DiedOctober 29, 1985(1985-10-29) (aged 82)
New York City, U.S.
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Political partyRepublican
(m. 1929)
Children2, including Lily Lodge
RelativesLodge family
Alma materHarvard University
Harvard Law School
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1942–1946 (Active)
1946–1966 (Reserve)
RankUS Navy O6 infobox.svg Captain
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsLegion of Honor;
Croix de Guerre

Lodge was a member of four prominent political families in the Northeast U.S.: the Cabot, Lodge, Frelinghuysen and Davis families. He was a direct descendant of at least seven U.S. senators, and had many other politicians in his family, including his brother, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr..

Early lifeEdit

Lodge was born in Washington, D.C. His father was George Cabot Lodge, a poet, who was a scion of the prominent Cabot and Lodge families of Boston. Through his father, Lodge was a grandson of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, great-great grandson of Senator Elijah H. Mills, and great-great-great-grandson of Senator George Cabot. His mother, Mathilda Elizabeth Frelinghuysen Davis, was a scion of the Frelinghuysen and Davis families. Through his mother, he was a great-great grandson of Senator John Davis, a great-grandson of Senator Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen, a great-great grandson of Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen, and a great-great-great grandson of Senator Frederick Frelinghuysen. He had two siblings: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., also a politician, and Helena Lodge de Streel, a baroness.[4][5]

Lodge attended the Evans School for Boys in Mesa, Arizona; Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts; Ecole de Droit in Paris, France; and St. Albans School in Washington, D.C. In 1925, he graduated from Harvard College, where he was a member of the Fox Club. In 1929, he graduated from Harvard Law School. In 1932, he was admitted to the New York bar and commenced practice in New York City.

Acting careerEdit

During the 1930s, and after a brief career as a lawyer, Lodge worked as an actor on screen and stage, appearing in starring roles in several notable productions, including some major Hollywood pictures.

Lodge was affiliated with the motion picture industry and the theater from 1933 to 1942, appearing in movies such as Little Women and The Little Colonel in which he played Shirley Temple's father. He was Marlene Dietrich's co-star in The Scarlet Empress. Lodge appeared in several European-made films, in France and the United Kingdom, playing Bulldog Drummond in the 1937 film Bulldog Drummond at Bay. A fluent French speaker, he performed his roles in French in Maurice Tourneur's Koenigsmark (1935) and in Max Ophüls's De Mayerling à Sarajevo, in which he played the part of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (1940). In 1941, after returning to the United States, he appeared in several Broadway stage productions, including Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine.[6]

Military serviceEdit

Lodge served in the United States Navy as a lieutenant and lieutenant commander from August 1942 to January 1946, and was a liaison officer between the French and American fleets. He was decorated with the rank of Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor and with the Croix de Guerre 1939–1945 with palm by General Charles de Gaulle. After the war, he engaged in research work in economics. He retired from the United States Navy Reserve in 1966 with the rank of captain.

Political careerEdit

Lodge was elected as a Republican from Connecticut's 4th congressional district to the 80th and 81st Congresses, serving from January 3, 1947 to January 3, 1951. He did not run for a third term in 1950, choosing instead to run for governor of Connecticut in that year's election. He ran against incumbent governor Chester Bowles and defeated him in what was described as a "bitter" election, in which Lodge sought to portray Bowles as an extreme left-winger.[7] Lodge served as governor from January 1951 to January 1955; he was the first governor of Connecticut to serve after the state's rules were changed to have elections every four years instead of every two years.

He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention from Connecticut in 1952 and 1960.

Lodge ran for re-election in 1954, but lost to Democrat Abraham Ribicoff. Local legend is that the proximate cause of Lodge's defeat was disenchantment on the part of Fairfield County Republicans with the disruption caused by the construction of the Connecticut Turnpike. The highway officially was named the Governor John Davis Lodge Turnpike.[8]

After stepping down as governor, Lodge was appointed United States Ambassador to Spain by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, where he served from January 1955 until the end of Eisenhower's term in office in January 1961. Lodge was the national president of the non-profit organization Junior Achievement, Inc. from 1963 to 1964.

Lodge ran for the U.S. Senate in the 1964 election. He won the Republican nomination, but narrowly lost to incumbent senator Thomas J. Dodd, 35.34% to 64.66%. He served as chairman of the Committee Foreign Policy Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania from 1964 to 1969; delegate and assistant floor leader, Connecticut Constitutional Convention in 1965; United States Ambassador to Argentina, from 1969 to 1974; and United States Ambassador to Switzerland in 1983.

Personal lifeEdit

Grave at Arlington National Cemetery

He was married July 6, 1929 to actress and ballet dancer Francesca Braggiotti; both of them appearing in the 1938 film Tonight at Eleven. They had two daughters, Lily and Beatrice. Lily Lodge is the director of the Actors Conservatory, and Beatrice is the wife of Antonio de Oyarzabal, the former ambassador of Spain to the United States. He was a resident of Westport, Connecticut until his death in New York City. Lodge was interred in Arlington National Cemetery.[9] Two months after his death, the Connecticut Turnpike was renamed the Gov. John Davis Lodge Turnpike in his honor.

Selected filmographyEdit

Published worksEdit

  • Lodge, John Davis (1962). "The Iberian Peninsula and Western Europe". Journal of International Affairs. 16 (N.1): 77–78. JSTOR 24363099.


  1. ^ "John Lodge".
  2. ^ "John Lodge – Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos". AllMovie.
  3. ^ Fowler, Glenn (October 20, 1985). "John Davis is Dead at 82; A Politician, Diplomat and Actor". The New York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  4. ^ "LODGE, John Davis, (1903–1985)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  5. ^ "Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. Photographs II". The Massachusetts Historical Society. MHS. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  6. ^ Watch on the Rhine at the Internet Broadway Database
  7. ^ Krebs, Albin (May 26, 1986). "Chester Bowles is Daead at 85; Served in 4 Administrations". The New York Times.
  8. ^ "Providence Journal: I-95 in Fairfield" (uncredited blog entry). Westportnow Media, Inc. April 23, 2003. Retrieved February 10, 2007.
  9. ^ "Burial Detail: Lodge, John D". ANC Explorer.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Clare B. Luce
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Albert P. Morano
Political offices
Preceded by
Chester Bowles
Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
Abraham A. Ribicoff
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
James Clement Dunn
United States Ambassador to Spain
Succeeded by
Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle
Preceded by
Carter L. Burgess
United States Ambassador to Argentina
July 23, 1969 – November 10, 1973
Succeeded by
Robert C. Hill
Preceded by
Faith Ryan Whittlesey
United States Ambassador to Switzerland
Succeeded by
Faith Ryan Whittlesey
Party political offices
Preceded by
James C. Shannon
Republican nominee for Governor of Connecticut
1950, 1954
Succeeded by
Fred R. Zeller
Preceded by
William A. Purtell
Republican nominee for United States Senator from Connecticut
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
Lowell Weicker