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Brad Sullivan (November 18, 1931–December 31, 2008) was an Americanmarker actor known for character roles in television and on film and stage.


Early life and career

Born in Chicago, Illinoismarker, Bradford E. Sullivan served in the Korean War and then attended the University of Mainemarker. After touring with a stage company, he moved to New York Citymarker and studied at the American Theatre Wing. He made his Off-Broadway debut in Red Roses for Me in 1961, and went on to appear in the London, Englandmarker company of the musical South Pacific.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, he appeared in two productions of the New York Shakespeare FestivalCoriolanus at Central Parkmarker's Delacorte Theatremarker (1965), and Václav Havel's The Memorandum — and the David Newbburge-Jacques Urbont musical Stag Movie (1971).

In 1972, he made his movie debut in the military drama Parades (1972; re-released as The Line, 1980). This was followed by an appearance in a CBS TV-movie adaptation of David Rabe Sticks and Bones, a black comedy about a Vietnam War veteran. The subject matter proved so controversial that half the network's affiliates refused to broadcast the telefilm..

Success as character actor

Sullivan was then featured prominently in director George Roy Hill's hit The Sting (1973), playing Cole, the hired killer who dogs the Robert Redford and Paul Newman characters.

Following roles in the acclaimed telefilm The Migrants (1974) and other productions, Sullivan reteamed with star Newman and director Hill for Slap Shot, a hit comedy about a down-and-out hockey team. In a departure from the stoic, taciturn parts in which he was often cast, Sullivan played a spectacularly vulgar hockey player, Morris "Mo" Wanchuk.

He followed this with his Broadwaymarker debut, playing three different military officers in a revival of David Rabe's The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel (April-September 1977), starring Al Pacino. The following year, Sullivan earned a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance as steelworker Mike LeFevre in Working (May-June 1978), adapted from the book by Studs Terkel and also starring Patti LuPone and Joe Mantegna.

Sullivan's other feature film credits include The Island (1980); Ghost Story (1981); Barry Levinson's Tin Men (1987); Brian De Palma's The Untouchables (1987); the comedy Funny Farm (1988); James Cameron's The Abyss (1989); True Colors (1991), Barbra Streisand's The Prince of Tides (1991); Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993); Michael Ritchie's The Fantasticks (made 1995, released 2000), based on the Tom Jones-Harvey Schmidt musical; Michael Moore's fiction feature, Canadian Bacon (1995); and the comedy Bushwhacked (1995).

On television, Sullivan portrayed Artemas Ward in the 1984 miniseries George Washington, and Judge Roy Bean in the 1991 television movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw. Additional television credits include Miami Vice, The Equalizer, Against the Law, and Best of the West. He also had recurring roles on I'll Fly Away, as Mr. Zollicofer, the ex-Marine turned wrestling coach, and NYPD Blue, as Patsy Ferrara. As a cast-member of the drama Nothing Sacred (1997-1998), he played Father Leo, the older priest who helps guide his younger colleagues. His final TV role was on a 2000 episode of Law & Order.

His theater work includes Michael Weller's The Ballad of Soapy Smith (1984) and Neal Bell's Cold Sweat (1988) Off-Broadway; and, on Broadway, Beth Henley's The Wake of Jamey Foster (October 1982), with Holly Hunter; a Circle in the Squaremarker revival of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial (May-November 1983); Peter Hall's revival of Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Descending (September-December 1989), as Jabe Torrance opposite Vanessa Redgrave's Lady Torrance (both recreating their roles in the TNT cable network's adaptation); and a stage version of the movie On the Waterfront (May 1995).


Sullivan retired in 2000. He lived on the Upper West Sidemarker of Manhattanmarker. He died December 31, 2008 of liver cancer.


  1. Full name per The New York Times Paid Death Notices, January 11, 2009
  2. / Baseline: "Biography: Brad Sullivan"
  3. AllMovie via "Brad Sullivan"
  4. Lortel Archives Off-Broadway Database: Brad Sullivan
  5. Sticks and Bones at the British Film Institute database
  6. Internet Broadway Database: The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel
  7. Internet Broadway Database: Brad Sullivan - Awards
  8. Internet Broadway Database: Working
  9. Back Stage, January 6, 2009: "NY Actor Brad Sullivan, 77, Dies"

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