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Susan Sullivan Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (15) | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 18 November 1942New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameSusan Michaela Sullivan
Height 5' 7½" (1.71 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Originally groomed for the theater, Sullivan worked at the National Repertory Theatre in Washington D.C. before landing a role in Broadway opposite Dustin Hoffman in "Jimmy Shine". Sullivan continued appearing in theater while working on Falcon Crest (1981) in the 1980s. In the 1960s, Susan played "Lenore Curtin" on Another World (1964) for four years, a role that gave her much experience in television, and evidently had a lot of fun from what fellow co-stars (especially Nicolas Coster) have testified. Following her role, Sullivan was acting off-Broadway when an agent spotted her and encouraged her to move to Hollywood, signing her to a contract which was conditional upon her doing so. She went on to play a dozen different parts on TV before taking on the role that would win her an Emmy nomination; that of Peter Strauss' lover in the miniseries, Rich Man, Poor Man - Book II (1976). Sullivan then played a gynecologist in two TV movies, Having Babies II (1977) and Having Babies III (1978), which led to a role in the short-run series Having Babies (1978) (aka Julia Farr, M.D.). Sullivan then went on to become a member of the ensemble cast of It's a Living (1980). She attained her greatest success during the '80s when she played the often put-upon "Maggie" on Falcon Crest (1981). Throughout FC's run, Sullivan remained devoted to the theatre appearing in "Fifth of July" at the Mark Taper Forum in L.A. and "Last Summer" at Blue Fish Cove in San Francisco. Sullivan decided to leave FC at the start of its final season after seven seasons because she felt "Maggie was repeating herself". Sullivan looks back on her days at FC with pride, especially at her gutsy work when her character had a brief bout with alcohol, drawing on her memories of being the child of an alcoholic. After leaving FC, Sullivan continued her charity association with the Blue Cross and ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics). She then got the opportunity to play comedy in a guest stint in Doctor Doctor (1989). Sullivan then recorded two pilot comedies, "Ruth Harper" and "Satellite News". She then went on to play the recurring character of George Carlin's love interest on his self-titled show. While working on GC, she played Robert Urich's ex-wife in Danielle Steel's A Perfect Stranger (1994). In 1995, Sullivan returned to drama in ABC's The Monroes (1995) as "Kathryn Monroe", wife of political aspirant William Devane. Sullivan relished the role, and despite the show folding soon after, she received rave reviews, being dubbed the season's best actress. She was also singled out in publications as the show's saving grace. Sullivan continues to stay in touch with several Falcon Crest (1981) stars, including David Selby, and is now dating author Connell Cowan whom she has been seeing since 1989. Sullivan has a sister, Brigid, an executive at WGBH-TV in Boston, and a brother, Brendan, a methadone counselor in N.Y.C. Sullivan had no qualms about working as a bunny girl in the Manhattan Playboy Club ("I had been a waitress before and I felt I would rather show my legs and make sixty dollars a night instead of twenty"), where she recited Shakespeare while serving drinks. When she was twenty-three, Sullivan dated Cary Grant. Behind the scenes, stories of Susan indicate she is big on practical jokes and works hard at cracking the cast up. Her co-star on Falcon Crest (1981), David Selby (Richard) has recalled the time Susan went into the bathroom to slip into something more comfortable for her role, and when the passion of the scene reached fever-pitch, she dropped the robe to reveal a body-stocking crammed with bottles, cans and tubes of toothpaste. David and the rest of the crew fell about laughing hysterically. Sullivan has been a spokeswoman for Tylenol for many years, and is proud to be associated with the product (pointing out the fact that she has been able to buy a beach house with the proceeds). Attractive, intelligent and outspoken, Sullivan is a well-grounded and giving actress who brings much insight into whichever role she chooses to play.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Adrian <gobobbie@alphalink.com.au>

Trivia (15)

Was a Playboy Bunny
She is bicoastal with homes on the East and West coasts, and shares her life with noted psychologist and author Connell Cowan.
Attended Hofstra University.
Best known by the public for her roles as Maggie Gioberti Channing on Falcon Crest (1981), and as Kitty Montgomery on Dharma & Greg (1997).
Has a brother named Brendan Sullivan and a sister named Brigid Sullivan.
She has been married twice and is the mother of 2 sons.
In a relationship with Connell Cowan, a psychologist and author.
Was in a relationship with Cary Grant in the 1960s.
Acting mentor was: Jane Wyman.
Was reunited with ex-Falcon Crest (1981) co-star, William R. Moses, on an episode of Castle (2009).
Long-time friend of David Selby, who played Richard Channing on Falcon Crest (1981).
Co-starring with ex-Falcon Crest (1981) castmate Robert Foxworth, in the play "Honour" at the Matrix Theatre in West Hollywood, California. [August 2005]
Co-starring with ex-Falcon Crest (1981) castmate and longtime friend, David Selby, in the production of A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters" at the Apollo Theatre in Martinsburg, West Virginia. [October 2003]
She's co-starring in Castle (2009)'s first season. [March 2009]

Personal Quotes (9)

My timing in life has been extraordinary. I've ridden the crest of the wave of the women's movement.
[on the fame that comes with a TV hit]: I don't think I ever wanted fame. When I'd go on talk shows, it was so terrifying being with Johnny Carson. You knew you were supposed to be quick-witted, so I'd do this self-deprecating - I'd put myself down before they'd start in on me. That's also about shame, about not feeling entitled to have what you have. It's very complicated, and I think a lot of actors feel this way. It's the ambivalence. It's 'I'm out there and I want to be successful.' It's 'I don't feel worthy and I don't want to be hurt.'
[on actor's insecurities]: This is a very important aspect of what it means to be an actor - maybe younger actors aren't as burdened with this as I've been. I live and share my life with a wonderful man, a psychologist and author, Connell Cowan. He took a continuing-education course on narcissism, desire, and shame. Now, I'd just done this TV pilot in which I played an old kind of diva actress who really thinks she's grand. She sings - and I don't sing - in the pilot. I did it, and yes, it was fun, but I was so embarrassed by it. I said to Connell that I felt depressed after I did this big number and everybody applauded, regardless of whatever they thought of it. I said, 'I don't know what this is; maybe I don't really want to be an actor anymore.' He said, 'You feel shame.' And, you know, he was right: I was feeling shame because I didn't quite feel entitled to be a showoff, which is part of what you are as an actor.
If you're cast right you can actually just let yourself go because all your gestures will be right, all your intonations will be right because you just somewhere understand who this person is.
[When filming the episode of Falcon Crest (1981) where she learned of her husband Chase's death, she shed real tears. When asked whether it was sympathy for the poor suffering widow, she responded with her usual honesty] "It was P.M.S.".
[on why she became an actress]: As a little girl, 5 years old, I was in a Brownie show. It was one of those seminal moments for me. I came from a very chaotic, dysfunctional, alcoholic-father background that a lot of artists come out of, and to construct order I'd do little plays, because there was form and shape to my acting in them. So I wiggled, I winked at the mothers, and recently I remembered a moment I hadn't thought of in 30 years. I mean, I'm a narcissist, as all actors are to varying degrees on the pendulum, and when I did that little Brownie show, I remember this little girl pointing, saying, 'There she is, there's the showoff.' Sometimes these things come up on you and you don't know how they fit together. Here I am doing Buffalo Gal and this memory has come up. As I learn this role, I think I understand the reason for it.
[on how she got the role on Castle (2009)]: Joan Van Ark [best known as "Valene Ewing" on another 80s soap Knots Landing (1979)] made a very funny comment. She said 'Oh, you got that part! Every diva in New York and LA were circling around it!' There aren't many good parts for women who are a little older. When I read it, I liked the script, I thought it was a little retro, which it really is. It's kind of an old fashioned show. I thought it was the perfect part for Elaine Stritch when she said 'Dollface' and 'Kiddo' and talked out of the corner of her mouth. She seemed like an old toughie. I really didn't think I was right for the part but you go in and read for it, put your spin on it. During the audition - and to me this is why I think I got the part - I didn't realize I was doing the audition with Nathan. I thought he was just a reader. At one point, I was seated and I stood up and he stayed seated and, you know, you don't want to look down if you can avoid it since they always tape these auditions. So I said to him, 'Get up! Get up!', and we went off and did the scene. He laughed, I laughed and they laughed and I think it was that quality more than anything else, which is part of the dynamic of their relationship. It's turned out to be a wonderful part and instead of saying 'Kiddo' I say 'Darling' and I'm very comfortable.
[About her on- and off-screen friendship with Jane Wyman, on Falcon Crest (1981), who later died in 2007, who also played Angela Channing]: When I was on that show, I said, 'I'm watching Jane. I'm a diva in training!' because she was both things: She did want to be with the crew and she knew everybody's name, but she was the queen of that show.
[Of Jane Wyman]: Jane was a very strong influence. Jane is the most professional person I have ever worked with. I have seen her battle through illness and fatigue and still keep working. She says 'Let's get this done. We have a job to do,' and everyone gets behind her. She is always willing to help younger actors. She gave instructions nicely and with humour. She once said to me, 'You can tell anybody anything if you do it with humor.' She ruled the set with a kind and intelligent hand.

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