Bradford Dillman Dies @ 87: The Way He Was

Handsome actor Bradford Dillman, best known as J.J. in The Way We Were (1973) has died, THR reports. He passed away January 16 in Santa Barbara after suffering from pneumonia.

He was 87.

Born April 14, 1930, Dillman was active in local theater before a stint in the Marines, in which he served during the Korean War.

Dillman circa the late 1940s

Discharged, he worked at the Actors Studio with luminaries James  Dean (1931-1955) and Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) ahead of his TV debut in a Ponds Theater production of The Kingdom of Andrew Jones (1955) and his auspicious Broadway debut in Long Day's Journey into Night (1956). He originated the role of Edmund Tyrone in the latter.

With second wife Suzy Parker on the set of Circle of Deception (1960)

High-kicking in Sanctuary (1961)

Signed by 20th Century Fox, Dillman worked steadily on TV and in the movies, including in A Certain Smile (1958), In Love and War (1958) and the acclaimed crime drama Compulsion (1959), based on the Leopold (1904-1971) & Loeb (1905-1936) murder case. His co-star was Dean Stockwell (b. 1936).

As a gay thrill killer in Compulsion

Film highlights include Francis of Assisi (1961), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), The Iceman Cometh (1973), The Enforcer (1976), Piranha (1978), The Swarm (1978) and Sudden Impact (1983).

With Heather Menzies (who just died December 24) in Piranha

Dillman had recurring roles on TV's Dr. Kildare (1964-1966) and Falcon Crest (1982-1983), and was a series regular on Court Martial (1965-1966) and King's Crossing (1982). He had a prolific career guesting on a slew of TV series, frequently as a baddie, many of them among the most familiar in history — Wagon Train (1963); Ben Casey (1964); The Big Valley (1966 & 1967); The Wild Wild West (1967); Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969); Ironside (1970); Mission: Impossible (1968 & 1972); Mary Tyler Moore (1972); Columbo (1972); Wonder Woman (1976); six episodes of Barnaby Jones (1973-1978); Charlie's Angels (1980); The Love Boat (1983); Dynasty (1984); and more.

Considering how ubiquitous he was in the '60s and '70s, it is shocking to realize his final TV performance was almost 23 years ago, on an episode of — what else? — Murder, She Wrote.

Regarding what he wrote, Dillman was the author of a book on the New York Giants as well as a 1997 memoir entitled Are You Anybody?: An Actor's Life.

A stunning Dillman candid taken by Suzy Parker Dillman

Dillman is survived by five children and one stepchild. He was married twice, including for 40 years to his second wife model Suzy Parker (1932-2003), who preceded him in death.

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