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#78 Don Loker ‘27, Golden Age Hollywood Star

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Fun Facts & Stats

78-donloker-photoDonald P. Loker entered Norwich as a rook in 1923. He served as president of the Class of 1927 for his freshman and sophomore years, then departed the Hill halfway through his junior year and went on to graduate from Harvard University.

Between 1928 and 1943, he acted in over 30 Hollywood films under the stage name Don Terry, appearing alongside stars like Rita Hayworth. His film career was interrupted by his service in the Marine Corps in World War II, an experience for which his time at Norwich surely prepared him. Don Loker died in 1988.

Through the years, Norwich has been well represented in the entertainment industry, including the unequaled Pier Mapes, class of 1959, who got his start with NBC after completing his military service. In the early 1980s, with NBC languishing in last place behind CBS and ABC, Mapes became president of NBC Television. In three short years the network soared to number one. A dedicated and enthusiastic supporter of Norwich University, he galvanized the Class of 1959 to change the face of fundraising for the school. A trustee for many years, Mapes chaired the Norwich Forever campaign, which raised $82 million, $27 million over goal. And, his annual support of the Communications Department transformed that program into a major national competitor. The Norwich television production unit has won over 90 national and regional awards. Pier, who died last year, is dearly missed.

Today, Mike Rizzuto, Class of 1997, is an executive at Technicolor and has made it a point to encourage other alumni to pursue their Hollywood dreams. Rizzuto’s classmate, Jake Head, also made the trek west. Head worked for years behind the scenes and during that time, built a successful acting career. Today, Jacob Head is a full-time working actor. The dynamic duo, still great friends, grace the cover of the upcoming 2017 winter issue of the Norwich Record, and they express their extreme gratitude to Pier Mapes and Professor Bill Estill for giving them the foundation to succeed.

Contact the Norwich University Archives to learn more about Don Loker and life at Norwich in the 1920s.