Friday, April 15, 2011

81 Years of Evil Brilliance: Happy Birthday, Bradford Dillman!

This was SUPPOSED to be posted yesterday....but, well, I actually was responsible and studied for a test instead (it ended up being ridiculously easy-- which I am afraid will make me revert back to non-studying forever).

Bradford Dillman. The evil smile is 81. (Seriously. I bet he was smiling evilly even as a small infant.)

{The age of the evil mustache is unknown, however.}

I have written before about the awesomeness of Mr. Dillman, but for this post I want to share a hilarious story about his first meeting with Eugene O'Neill's wife. This is from his book, Are You Anybody?: An Actor's Life.

In 1955 I was cast in an off-Broadway play starring Louise Albritton that garnered critical approval. It was called Third Person. My performance caught the attention of Circle in the Square director Jose Quintero, who included me among the legion of actors he was interviewing and auditioning to play the autobiographical role of Edmund in the premiere of Eugene O'Neill's masterpiece, Long Day's Journey Into Night. In the end he decided to cast me, thereby creating the break that launched my career.

The day Jose told me the good news, he included a proviso. "You're going to have to meet O'Neill's widow," he said. "She has final say. If for any reason she doesn't care for you, I'm sorry, but that's it. We'll have to go with someone else."

"I understand."

"He telephoned her requesting a meeting later that day, and Mrs. O'Neill set a time, six o'clock. Jose asked me to meet him at a bar near her apartment a half hour earlier so we could map strategy.

In the bar I was so nervous I knocked back two doubles without coming up for a pretzel. It wasn't until I stood to leave that I realized I was snockered.

Standing outside her door I was consumed with self-loathing. You stupid idiot. The opportunity of a lifetime and you blow it. You don't belong to the human race. Whatever you do, do not insult this woman by opening your drunken trap. Just take the punishment you deserve and go home.

In the doorway stood the former actress Carlotta Monterey O'Neill. She was short but had a majestic carriage, her chiseled profile evidence she'd once been a great beauty. Jose performed directly to the deep armchair she indicated. It was in a corner of the room, where I slumped, sullen and glaring, mumbling brief responses only when spoken to.

Unexpectedly she laughed. "You know, Jose, I think this young man is an awfully good choice to play my Gene."

"I agree," Jose replied. "May I ask why you think so?"

"Because," she said, "like Gene, he doesn't say very much. And when he does, you can't understand him."

That's coolness-personified RIGHT THERE.

^Random photo of Bradford Dillman wearing a raincoat.

^This photo is just genuinely awesome. It's Bradford Dillman as a hipster.
Here's a tribute video I made for a him a few months ago, but never posted here. I never posted it here because this video is slightly pathetic. There's only clips from like 5 or 6 TV shows/films. It was just stuff I had sitting around the house and on DVD. SO, THERE IS A LOT OF ACTUAL BRILLIANCE MISSING.

Also: random clips decided to glitch and pause for no reason. -_- Pay no attention.

Now, if you STILL want to see it-- BE MY GUEST! ;-D

I just love him. He's brilliant and hilarious. Happy 81st Birthday, Mr. Dillman. :-D

By my reckoning, in over four decades I've been personally responsible for the demise of well over a thousand people. Heck, at Jonestown alone my Kool-Aid took out over nine hundred, and I've blown up the Queen Mary twice.

 -Millie (also known as "Obsessively Creepy Fan-Girl of Mr. Dillman's Evil Smile")


Audrey said...

You are too modest, Millie. I thought the video was great! In fact, it makes me want to go and watch all those films/TV episodes. :)

I also didn't know he made a film with Suzy. What is that one called?

Anonymous said...

Isn't the Suzy movie called Circle of Deception or something like that? Anyway, I want to see it rather badly!

Oh, and I already had to watch the tribute a couple of times tonight. That hypnotic music and it's appropriateness are extremely alarmingly cool AND very addictive.

Millie said...

Audrey: Thanks! :-)

Emm's right. It is called Circle of Deception. It is positively brilliant AND it's where he met Suzy! AWWWWWWWWWW!

Emm: YUP! YUP!

I only got to see it because Kate found it through some collector somewhere. IDK? Basically, I wouldn't get to see any cool films without Kate doing all the work! ;-D

I wonder if I can find a way to post it online so you can see it! I'll try and work on that this weekend! :-D

Awww! Thanks so much!

I LOVE THAT SONG. I already used it on the tribute to Ingy in The Visit (so perfectly suited) and don't like to reuse songs-- but it fit Bradford SO WELL. I had to.

The singer is Lenka. You should check her out! I ADORE all her music (and her new CD is coming out soon! :-DDD).

Niamhy said...

Bradford with a moustache, Bradford in a cool raincoat, Bradford wearing geek glasses...seriously, I think the guy was made for us to fangirl over. ;-P

Millie said...

Irish Leprechaun: Oh, yes. ;-D

Anonymous said...

The prospect of actually, possibly getting to see it are overwhelming. Millie, you ANGEL! I've honestly tried to find some Bradford Dillman stuff at my library, but it's been pretty much impossible. (Pardon me while I weep tears of bitter anguish.)


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