Bradford Dillman

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Bradford Dillman
Bradford Dillman 1966.JPG
Bradford Dillman as a guest star in The F.B.I. in 1966.
Born (1930-04-14) April 14, 1930 (age 87)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, author
Years active 1953–1995
Spouse(s) Frieda Harding Dillman (m. 1956; div. 1962)
Suzy Parker (m. 1963; d. 2003)
Children 5
Bradford Dillman (signature).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] Bradford’s paternal grandparents were Charles Francis Dillman (the son of William P. Dillman and Sarah J. Rhodes) and Stella Borland Dean (the daughter of Elisha B. Dean and Jannette Wilcox).

He studied at Town School for Boys and St. Ignatius High School. He later attended the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, where he became involved in school theatre 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.[citation needed]

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]


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.

Broadway Success[edit]

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. The production also featured Frederic March, Florence Eldridge and Jason Robards Jr., and ran for 390 performances until 1958.

In 1957, 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.[citation needed]

20th Century Fox[edit]

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 melodrama A Certain Smile (1958) for which he earned a Golden Globe award.[citation needed]

Dillman followed this with In Love and War (1958), a wartime melodrama starring many of Fox's young contract players. It was a box office success. So too was Compulsion (1959), starring Dillman, Dean Stockwell and Orson Welles for producer Richard Zanuck and director Richard Fleischer. Dillman won a Cannes Film Festival award.

After making A Circle of Deception (1960) in Lond, Dillman was reunited with Welles, Fleischer and Zanuck for Crack in the Mirror (1960), shot in Paris. It was a flop.

Back in Hollywood, Fox cast Dillman in support of Yves Montand and Lee Remick in Sanctuary (1961). They also put him in the title role in Francis of Assisi (1961).

Neither film was particularly successful and Fox and Dillman went their separate ways.


When he left Fox, Dillman mostly concentrated on television. He co-starred with Barbara Barrie on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in the episode "Isabel" (1964) and with Peter Graves in Court Martial (1966).

He also guest-starred on series such as Ironside, Shane, The Name of the Game, Columbo, Wild Wild West, The Eleventh Hour, Wagon Train, The Greatest Show on Earth, Breaking Point, Mission Impossible, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Barnaby Jones and Three for the Road, 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).

Dillman appeared twice on the Western television series, The Big Valley (1965–1969), once on Season 2, episode 15 entitled Day of the Comet and it aired on December 26, 1966 and the second time was on Season 3, episode 9 appearing in the episode entitled A Noose is Waiting which aired on November 13, 1967.

Dillman appeared in the occasional film such as A Rage to Live (1965), Sergeant Ryker (1968), and The Bridge at Remagen (1969).

Later Career[edit]

He appeared in made-for-TV movies such as Fear No Evil (1969), Moon of the Wolf (1972), and Deliver Us from Evil (1973).[citation needed]

Dillman's film work included 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 had a memorable role in The Incredible Hulk episode "The Snare", a 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] His last known acting appearance to date was in an episode of Murder, She Wrote in 1995, a series in which he made eight guest appearances in total.[citation needed]

Writing career[edit]

Dillman released the football fan book, Inside the New York Giants, in 1995[5] and an autobiography, Are You Anybody?: An Actor's Life, in 1997.[6]

Personal life[edit]

From 1956-62, 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 marriage lasted until Parker's death on May 3, 2003.

Dillman stated in an interview he had a difficult working relationship with Dean Stockwell while filming Compulsion, as Stockwell had wanted Roddy McDowall to be cast in Dillman's role. While making the film, he also had a conflicted relationship with Orson Welles, who he remembered as "helpful, but not overly friendly" and always being wary of stepping on Welles' lines.[citation needed]

Today, Dillman lives in Southern California in Montecito, California and helps raise money for medical research.[7]

"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."[citation needed]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Biography,; accessed April 11, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Wise, James E.; Anne Collier Rehill (1999). "Bradford Dillman". Stars in the Corps: Movie actors in the United States Marines (2nd 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. 
  5. ^ Dillman, Bradford; Giddings, Mike (22 June 1994). "Inside the New York Giants". Third Story Books; Distributed to the trade by Andrews and McMeel – via Open WorldCat. 
  6. ^ Dillman, Bradford (22 June 1997). "Are you anybody?: an actor's life". Fithian Press – via Open WorldCat. 
  7. ^ "American Legends Interviews..... Bradford Dillman: Orson Welles: The View from Mount Olympus". Retrieved January 12, 2018. 

External links[edit]