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Barry Sullivan Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (8) | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 29 August 1912New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 6 June 1994Sherman Oaks, California, USA  (respiratory ailment)
Birth NamePatrick Barry Sullivan
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Barry Sullivan was born Patrick Barry Sullivan on August 29, 1912 in New York City. He was the seventh son of a seventh son, a birth order with mystical significance in Celtic families. While never a major movie star, he established himself as a well-known and highly regarded character lead and second lead in motion pictures and television in a career that lasted 50 years. Sullivan was one of those elite of actors who are always in demand until the day they decide to retire.

Legend has it that Sullivan was counseled to consider a life in the theater due to his height (6'3") and good looks. He was supporting himself as a theater usher and department store employee when made his Broadway debut in "I Want a Policeman" at the Lyceum Theatre in January of 1936. Unfortunately, the show lasted only 47 performances.

He had that certain something that makes casting directors take notice. In 1936, he appeared in three other plays on the Great White Way, the drama "St. Helena" and the comedies "All That Glitters" and "Eye On the Sparrow." All three were flops.

Sullivan finally appeared in a hit play when he transferred into the role of Bert Jefferson in The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman. However the 1941-42 season brought three more flops: "Mr. Big," "Ring Around Elizabeth," and "Johnny 2 X 4."

Wisely, he stayed away from Broadway for a decade, when he again transferred into a hit, "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial," taking over the role of Barney Greenwald from Henry Fonda. Sullivan was nominated for a Best Actor Emmy Award in 1955 when he reprised the role on _"Ford Star Jubilee" (1955) {The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (#1.3)_.

His last appearance on Broadway, in the original "Too Late the Phalarope" in 1956, was, true to his performance record, a flop. Barry Sullivan's talent was meant for the screen.

In the late 1930s, he gained movie acting experience in two-reel comedies produced by the Manhattan-based Educational Studios. After giving up on his Broadway career and moving to Hollywood, Sullivan appeared in an uncredited bit part in "The Green Hornet Strikes Again! (1940) (1941) at Universal before making his official film debut in the Chester Morris B-picture High Explosive (1943) (1943) at Paramount. His next picture was the western The Woman of the Town (1943), which was released by United Artists that same year.

Barry Sullivan never broke through to become a major star -- some cineastes say he was too raffish to connect with a mass audience -- but he established himself firmly as a character lead and second lead. He excelled at roles in which he could play aggressive characters that highlighted his centered masculinity. His most notable roles in the early part of his movie career were as the eponymous The Gangster (1947) (one of his leads), Tom Buchanan in the Alan Ladd version of The Great Gatsby (1949) (second lead), and as the movie director in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) as part of a first rate ensemble.

He had his own TV series Harbormaster (1957) in 1957-58 and The Tall Man (1960) in 1960-62. A decade later, his acting skills were used to fine effect in two prestigious productions of stage plays (when television still provided such entertainment), as George C. Scott's brother in the Emmy Award-winning TV adaptation of Arthur Miller's "The Price" (1971) and the amoral patriarch in Lillian Hellman's Another Part of the Forest (1972) (1972).

He continued acting in movies until 1977, rounding off a near 40-year movie career with an appearance in Oh, God! (1977). He continued to appear periodically on television until retiring in 1980.

Barry Sullvian was married three times and fathered three children, Johnny and Jenny Sullivan by his first wife, and Patsy Sullivan-Webb by his second wife Gita Hall. The Sullivan talent has run into three generations. Jenny Sullivan became an actress and a playwright, writing the drama "J for J" ("Journal for John") based on the correspondence between her father and her brother, who was mentally disabled. She was married to the rock star Jim Messina.

Patsy Sullivan-Webb was a successful model who appeared as the face of Yardley Cosmetics in the Swinging '60s, starting at the age of twelve. She appeared with her father in the episode of That Girl (1966) that opened the series' third season and was a contestant on The Dating Game (1965). She married the great songwriter Jimmy Webb, by whom she had six children. Two of her sons formed the rock group The Webb Brothers.

Barry Sullivan died of a respiratory ailment on June 6, 1994 in Sherman Oaks, California. He was 81 years old.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (3)

Desiree Sumarra (5 August 1962 - 18 January 1965) (divorced)
Gita Hall (25 July 1958 - 10 April 1961) (divorced) (1 child)
Marie Brown (13 August 1937 - 25 June 1957) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (8)

He was the second actor to play Richard Rogue on NBC Radio's Rogue's Gallery (1946-1947).
Had two children from his first marriage: Johnny and Jenny Sullivan. Johnny was mentally challenged and eventually sent to the Devereux School in Santa Barbara, California for help and evaluation.
His daughter, actress/playwright Jenny Sullivan, wrote the play "J for J" ("Journals for John") which was prompted after she found a packet of unsent letters a year after Barry's death that he had written decades earlier to her older brother, Johnny, who was mentally disabled. The play premiered on October 20, 2001. John Ritter, who in real life had a handicapped brother, played Johnny and Jenny played herself. Actor Jeff Kober portrayed Barry. Eventually, Jenny took on caring for her brother.
Ex-father-in-law of Jim Messina.
According to his daughter Patsy Sullivan-Webb, the 6'3" actor had a difficult time playing Tom Buchanan opposite Alan Ladd as Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (1949). Sullivan told his daughter that Ladd, who was nearly a foot shorter, had to stand on a crate while he had to stand in a hole during their shots together.
Two of his grandsons by daughter Patricia Sullvain-Webb and son-in-law Jimmy Webb formed the rock group "The Webb Brothers." They subsequently were joined by their other two brothers.
His daughter by his second wife Gita Hall, Patricia Sullivan-Webb, was a model. Known professionally as "Patsy Sullivan," she was the face of Yardley Cosmetics at the age of 12. She and her husband, songwriter Jimmy Webb, had six children together, four sons and two daughters. She subsequently adopted a child, thus giving her father seven grandchildren.
Had a daughter by second wife Gita Hall, Patricia. Patricia Sullivan, who was a professional fashion model, married song-writer Jimmy Webb, by whom she had seven children.

Salary (1)

A Shield Is for Hiding Behind (1963) $10,000

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