11 February, 2009
Barry Sullivan was an American movie actor who appeared in over 100 movies from the 1930s to the 1980s.
Born in New York City, the seventh son of a seventh son, Sullivan fell into acting when in college playing semi-pro football. During the later depression years, Sullivan was told that because of his 6'3" stature and rugged good looks he could "make money" simply standing on a Broadway stage. This began an extremely successful career on Broadway culminating in his 1954 portrayal of Captain Queeg in " The Caine Mutiny Court- Martial."
One of Sullivan's most memorable roles was playing a movie director in The Bad and the Beautiful opposite Kirk Douglas. Sullivan starred in movies with Joan Crawford, Loretta Young, and most of the forties and fifties leading ladies. Sullivan toured the US with Bette Davis in theatrical readings of the poetry of Carl Sandburg and starred opposite her in the 1951 film Payment on Demand.
In 1950, Sullivan appeared in the film A Life of Her Own and replaced Vincent Price in the role of Leslie Charteris' Simon Templar on the NBC Radio show The Saint. Unfortunately, Sullivan only lasted two episodes before the show was cancelled, and then resurrected five weeks later with Vincent Price once again playing the starring role.
In 1960, Sullivan played frontier sheriff Pat Garrett opposite Clu Gulager as outlaw Billy the Kid in the western television series The Tall Man (although the series ran for seventy-five half-hour episodes, the one in which Garrett kills Billy was never filmed). He also cameoed in Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973) as John Chisum, but his scene was excised from the release print (though later restored to the film). He had a featured role in the 1976 miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man Book II. IN additional to The Tall Man, Sullivan starred in two other television series Harbor Master and The Road West.
Sullivan guest starred in many series, including The Reporter, The Love Boat, Little House on the Prairie, and McMillan and Wife. Sullivan also starred in many Hallmark Hall of Fame specials including a highly acclaimed production of "The Price" opposite George C. Scott. Sullivan was consistently in demand for the entirety of his career. His acting career spanned romantic leading man roles to villains and finally to character roles.
In his later years, Sullivan had roles in the films, Oh God with George Burns and Earthquake, where he shared scenes with Ava Gardner.