Bradford Dillman, Star of Broadway and Hollywood, Dies at 87

Bradford Dillman, Star of Broadway and Hollywood, Dies at 87

“Bradford Dillman emerges as an actor of imposing stature as the bossy, over-ebullient and immature mama’s boy, Artie,” A. H. Weiler wrote in a New York Times review of the film.

Mr. Dillman, Mr. Stockwell and Mr. Welles shared best actor honors at the Cannes Film Festival.

In an interview with The Times shortly after “Compulsion” was released, Mr. Dillman gave some insight into his acting philosophy. He harshly criticized the beatnik actors, who he said made a mockery of the famous Actors Studio and Lee Strasberg’s Method.

“To me this much-touted new ‘technique’ is a reversion to the animalistic, a declaration of spiritual bankruptcy, a shedding of hard-won civilized sentiments like tenderness, honor, self-respect, loyalty, friendship, love,” he said. “All this glaring out at the world from beneath furrowed brows, these shufflings and shamblings and evasivenesses, the self-hate projections, the affected stammerings and word-repetitions and vowel swallowings. To me these are ridiculous, infantile.”


Mr. Dillman with Jean Simmons in a 1966 episode of “Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater.”

David Smit/Associated Press

The Times’s Lawrence J. Quirk quoted him approvingly and wrote: “Dillman is an individualist and a breaker of rules. He dares to dress neatly. He dares to be a gentleman. He scorns white buckskins, clean or dirty. He doesn’t scratch. He doesn’t mumble. He doesn’t spout phrases like ‘gas it, man!’ He doesn’t hate himself. He isn’t lonely.”

Bradford Dillman was born in San Francisco on April 14, 1930, to Dean Dillman, a stockbroker, and the former Josephine Moore. He attended the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut and earned a degree in literature from Yale in 1951. After graduation, he served in the Marines during the Korean War, reaching the rank of first lieutenant before his discharge in 1953.

His acting career was prolific, with at least 140 film and television credits. He rarely turned down a job.

“I had six kids and had to put food on the table,” he told Variety in 1995, calling himself “a Safeway actor.”

Mr. Dillman played prominent roles in “The Enforcer” and “Sudden Impact,” the third and fourth films in the “Dirty Harry” series, and won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1975 for his work on the TV series “The ABC Afternoon Playbreak.” In 1973, he returned to Eugene O’Neill’s work, playing Willie Oban in a film adaptation of “The Iceman Cometh.” He also acted periodically in the TV series “Murder, She Wrote,” starring Angela Lansbury, a friend.

Offscreen, he was a writer of both fiction and nonfiction. His books include “Inside the New York Giants” (1995) and “Dropkick: A Football Fantasy” (1998), as well as the novels “That Air Forever Dark” (2001) and “Kissing Kate” (2005). He also wrote a memoir, “Are You Anybody? An Actor’s Life” (1997).

Mr. Dillman was married twice: to Frieda Harding McIntosh from 1956 to 1962, and to Suzy Parker, a model and actress, from 1963 until her death in 2003. He is survived by a sister, Corinne Dillman Lansill; five children, Jeffrey Dillman, Pamela Dillman Haskell, Charlie Dillman, Christopher Dillman and Dinah Dillman Kaufmann; a stepdaughter, Georgia Thoreau LaSalle; eight grandchildren; and two step-grandchildren.

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