Bradford Dillman

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Bradford Dillman
Bradford Dillman 1966.JPG
Dillman as a guest star in The F.B.I. in 1966.
Born (1930-04-14) April 14, 1930 (age 84)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, author
Years active 1955–1995
Spouse(s) Frieda Harding Dillman (m. 1956; div. 1962)
Suzy Parker (m. 1963; died 2003)
Signature BradfordDillman.png

Bradford Dillman (born April 14, 1930) is an American actor and author.

Early life[edit]

Bradford Dillman was born on April 14, 1930 in San Francisco, California, the son of Josephine (née Moore) and Dean Dillman, a stockbroker.[1] He studied at Town School for Boys and St. Ignatius High School. Later, he attended the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, where he became involved in school theater productions.[2] He attended Yale University, studying theatre and drama. While at Yale, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1948. He graduated from Yale with a BA in English Literature.

After graduation, he entered the United States Marine Corps as an officer candidate, training at Parris Island. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in September 1951. As he was preparing to deploy to Korea, his orders were changed, and he spent the rest of his time in the Marine Corps, 1951 to 1953, teaching communication in the Instructors' Orientation Course. He was discharged in 1953 at the rank of first lieutenant.[2]

Early acting career[edit]

Studying with the Actors Studio,[3] he spent several seasons apprenticing with the Sharon, Connecticut Playhouse before making his professional acting debut in The Scarecrow in 1953. Dillman took his initial Broadway bow in the Eugene O'Neill play Long Day's Journey Into Night in 1956, playing the author's alter ego character Edmund Tyrone and winning a Theatre World Award in the process. This distinct success put him squarely on the map and 20th Century Fox took notice by placing the darkly handsome up-and-comer under contract. Cast in the melodramatic soaper A Certain Smile (1958), he earned a Golden Globe award. In 1957, Actress and Producer Katharine Cornell placed him in her Broadway production of Robert E. Sherwood's Pulitzer Prize winning play, There Shall Be No Night. The play was adapted for television in a Hallmark Hall of Fame production.

Film and TV career[edit]

After his debut in A Certain Smile, he appeared in many films over the years including Compulsion (1959) for which he won a Cannes Film Festival award, A Circle of Deception (1960), Crack in the Mirror (1960), the title role in Francis of Assisi (1961), A Rage to Live (1965), The Bridge at Remagen,(1969), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), The Way We Were (1973), Gold (1974), Bug (1975), The Enforcer (1976), The Swarm (1978), Piranha (1978), Sudden Impact (1983), and Lords of the Deep (1989).

Dillman co-starred with Peter Graves in the British TV series Court Martial (1966) playing Capt. David Young a US Army lawyer, also guest starring in memorable TV episodes of; Ironside, The Big Valley, Shane, The Name of the Game, Columbo, and a two part episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. which was made into the feature film The Helicopter Spies (1968). He also appeared in popular TV movies such as Fear No Evil (1969), Moon of the Wolf (1972), and Deliver Us from Evil (1973). Dillman also had a memorable role in The Incredible Hulk episode "The Snare", an homage to the Richard Connell short story "The Most Dangerous Game", the episode is considered by fans to be one of the best of the series.[4] He portrayed Michael Sutton, a hunter who tries to kill David Banner (played by Bill Bixby) on his mysterious island. That episode was one of the highest rated episodes in the series as it got high ratings on that night 7 December 1979 on CBS.[citation needed]

He appeared on television throughout his career, starting on NBC's Kraft Television Theatre in 1954. He guest starred in 1962 as Arnold Radwin in the episode "Eat Little Fishie Eat" in NBC's medical drama about psychiatry, The Eleventh Hour, starring Wendell Corey and Jack Ging. He guest starred in a 1963 episode of Wagon Train, playing the love interest opposite Diana Hyland. Dillman also appeared in Jack Palance's ABC circus drama, The Greatest Show on Earth and the ABC medical drama Breaking Point starring Paul Richards and Eduard Franz. Dillman was a guest star in the final episode of the second season of the TV series Mission Impossible (March 17, 1968) in the role of Dr. Paul Shipherd, a brilliant U.S. defector attempting to open a captured Fail-Safe mechanism. He appeared in an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (in 1972) playing a youthful-looking architect who dated Mary Richards (who was confused with his character's son). In 1972 he appeared in Columbo: The Greenhouse Jungle.

In 1975, Dillman was among the guests on an episode of CBS's family drama, Three for the Road.

Dillman's last acting appearance to date was on an episode of Murder, She Wrote in 1995.

Dillman wrote the football fan book, Inside the New York Giants (1995), and an autobiography, Are You Anybody?: An Actor's Life (1997).

Personal life[edit]

From 1956 to 1962 Dillman was married to Frieda Harding, and had two children (Jeffrey and Pamela) with her.

He met actress and model Suzy Parker during the filming of A Circle of Deception (1960). They were married on April 20, 1963 and had three children, Dinah, Charles, and Christopher. They almost lost Dinah to a snake bite when she was 22 months old. The story is documented in the June 1978 issue of Reader's Digest. The marriage lasted until her death on May 3, 2003.

He lives quietly[citation needed] in Montecito, California.

"Bradford Dillman" is the actor's real name. In The Guinness Book of Movie Facts and Feats, he said that "Bradford Dillman sounded like a distinguished, phony, theatrical name -- so I kept it."

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Film Reference biography
  2. ^ a b Wise, James E.; Anne Collier Rehill (1999). "Bradford Dillman". Stars in the Corps: Movie actors in the United States Marines (2nd edition ed.). Naval Institute Press. pp. 91–98. ISBN 978-1-55750-949-9. Retrieved 21 March 2009. 
  3. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8. 
  4. ^ Glenn, Greenberg (February 2014). "The Televised Hulk". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (70): 22. 

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