Classic Movie Hub (CMH)


Bradford Dillman, a dashingly handsome star of stage and screen who burst to acclaim as the pensive Edmund Tyrone in the original Broadway run of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and played an arrogant psychopath in the gripping 1959 film "Compulsion," died Jan. 16 in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 87.

The cause was complications from pneumonia, said family spokesman Ted Gekis. Mr. Dillman was long married to fashion model and actress Suzy Parker.

Born into a socially prominent family - his father was a stockbroker and partner in the firm E.F. Hutton & Co. - Mr. Dillman attended an elite boarding school and graduated from Yale University before pursuing a career in the arts. He wryly noted that, unlike actors who inherited less-than-marquee names, he did not need to change his.

"Bradford Dillman sounded like a distinguished phony theatrical name," he once quipped, "so I liked it and kept it."

His parents "hit the roof," he told the American Legends website, when he told them of his acting ambitions. He agreed to acquiesce to their plans for him - a career on Wall Street - if he "did not see any symptoms of success" within five years.

After an off-Broadway apprenticeship, Mr. Dillman had a career breakthrough in 1956 when director José Quintero selected him over 500 other actors to play Edmund in "Long Day's Journey Into Night." (Mr. Dillman also passed muster with O'Neill's widow, Carlotta.)

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