May 18, 1923|
Jacksonville, Morgan County
|Died||April 18, 1998
Los Angeles, California
|Resting place||Diamond Grove Cemetery in Jacksonville, Illinois|
|Occupation||Actor, singer, comedian|
Liam Sullivan (May 18, 1923 – April 18, 1998) was an American actor, singer, and comedian, originally from Jacksonville in west central Illinois. He began acting while a student at Illinois College and continued in theater at Harvard University. In 1951 he began his career on Broadway appearing in "The Constant Nymph".
Over his acting career, Sullivan played many roles in multiple television series. In the mid-1950s, he appeared on the religion anthology series, Crossroads. Sullivan and Angie Dickinson appeared together in the episode "Point of Honor" of the syndicated American Civil War drama series, Gray Ghost. He guest starred as Jason Douglas in the 1960 episode "The Target" of the syndicated western series Tombstone Territory, with fellow guest star Warren Oates. In 1961 & 1962 Sullivan made three guest appearances on Perry Mason, and in each episode played the murder victim: Lloyd Farrell in "The Case of the Fickle Fortune," Tom Gilrain in "The Case of the Crying Comedian," and title character 'Dickie' Durham in "The Case of the Unsuitable Uncle."
Sullivan was cast as Patrick Henry in the Daniel Boone episode "Love and Equity", Nexus in the Lost in Space episode "His Majesty Smith, an Army Lieutenant in the episode "The Winter Soldier" on Rawhide, Mr. Willis in Knots Landing, Dr. Burt Hammond in St. Elsewhere, and Mr. Plenn in Falcon Crest. He played the prosecuting attorney in the Hill 256 Episode of Combat!. In the 1968 Dragnet episode "The Big Prophet" Sullivan gave a tour de force performance as his character, "Brother William" (a thinly disguised portrayal of Timothy Leary) held forth for the entire half hour on the benefits of LSD and marijuana, while Joe Friday argued the opposing view.
Sullivan may be best remembered today for his role as the supremely arrogant and cruel telepathic alien, Parmen, in the Star Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren"; he was also featured in the Twilight Zone episodes The Changing of the Guard and The Silence. Telepathy was also the subject of experiments Sullivan conducted in the documentary film from 1977 called The Amazing World of Psychic Phenomena hosted by Raymond Burr.
Sullivan often portrayed villains throughout his acting career. He once said, "Playing truly evil people is a great way to release tension and anger and disgust with humanity. Show bad people what they really look and act like and maybe they'll recognize themselves and change. Who knows?"
Sulivan died in Los Angeles of a heart attack at the age of 74. He had recently completed a role in Mike Nichols' production of The Little Foxes and was working on a book about his family's Eli Bridge Company, which built one of the first Ferris wheels. He was interred at Diamond Grove Cemetery in his native Jacksonville, Illinois.