Date of Birth: November 10 1934 Conroe, Texas

Date of Death : March 22nd 2016 Los Angeles
Birth Place: Tyler, Texas
Birth Name: Richard Edwin Bradford

A long time admirer of Marlon Brando and James Dean, Richard Bradford followed in their footsteps and studied at The Actors Studio, New York in 1962. Two years later was ready to utilise his craft as a trained professional actor and was involved in various Broadway productions, including Mother Courage, Marathon 33, Short and Happy Life (in which he understudied Rod Steiger) and Blues for Mr Charlie. Richard made his cinematic debut in the Arthur Penn movie The Chase (1966). Shortly after, this good-looking and intensely masculine actor, was noticed by theatrical impresario Lord Lew Grade, who invited him over to England to have the major role of McGill in the TV series Man in a Suitcase (1967). On returning to the States he played Dr Joseph Gannon (sadly, his only leading role after 'Man in a Suitcase') in the 1969 MGM movie Operation Heartbeat - aka U.M.C. His career went quiet for a while when he seemed content to contribute his remarkable talent to guest spots on various TV shows, until his big screen comeback in The Missouri Breaks (1976), again with Arthur Penn, the director he had so impressed during their earlier collaboration. Richard now has over 50 film appearances under his belt as well as a wealth of cameo roles in a catalogue of popular TV series.



Richard Bradford quote - "Life is simple, but it ain't easy!"



Obituary: Richard Bradford, American television and film actor

Richard Bradford, actor was best known for his role as McGill in Man in a Suitcase. Picture: Getty Images

Richard Bradford, actor was best known for his role as McGill in Man in a Suitcase. Picture: Getty Images

Born: 10 November, 1934, in Tyler, Texas. Died: 22 March 2016, in Los Angeles, aged 81.

Rugged and grey-haired, with a cigarette stuck firmly in the corner of his mouth, American actor Richard Bradford was strangely enigmatic as the moody, intense CIA agent-turned-private investigator McGill in Man in a Suitcase.

The 1960s adventure series from ITV boss Lew Grade’s stable of dramas with appeal to viewers on both sides of the Atlantic portrayed McGill as a modern-day bounty hunter. Kicked out of the US intelligence agency after being wrongly accused of a treasonable offence – failing to stop an eminent scientist defecting to Russia – the laconic loner moves to London and travels across Europe searching for clues to clear his name and taking on any job that will pay $500 (£ 351 ) a day plus expenses. His travelling companion is a battered leather suitcase packed with a change of clothes and a gun.

“I just wanted to do the most real, honest portrayal of a guy and to do things that hadn’t been seen before on television,” he said in a 2004 interview. “I really wanted to do that with all my heart and soul.”

Despite attracting audiences of up to 15 million in Britain, the 1967-8 series was less successful in the United States, so it was cancelled after just one run of 30 episodes – and gun-for-hire McGill remained Bradford’s only starring role on screen.

Nevertheless, it gave him cult status that led to his image being used on the sleeve of The Smiths’ 1986 single Panic. He only bemoaned that the band forgot to include the vinyl in the copy they sent him. There was also reference to Bradford and the programme in a 2007 episode of the BBC time-travel police procedural drama Life on Mars and Ron Grainer’s driving theme tune was revived by Chris Evans for his TFI Friday chat-show.

Richard Bradford was born in Tyler, Texas, the son of Richard and Rose (née Flaxman), during the Great Depression. By the time he was five, his parents had divorced and he and his mother were living in Conroe with her Russian-born parents, Will and Sarah, who ran a grocery store.

Bradford’s hair started going grey when he was 16 and, after being educated at a San Antonio high school, he attended the city’s Peacock Military Academy. He then won a football scholarship to Texas A&M University but, when an injury ended his career, switched to baseball and Texas University, only to find that he did not have enough semester hours to make him eligible for the baseball team.

An admirer of method actors Marlon Brando and James Dean, Bradford decided on acting as a career and headed for New York in 1957. After training at the Herbert Berghof Studio, he understudied Rod Steiger in a 1961 touring production of a Short Happy Life, AE Hotchner’s play drawn from the writings of his friend Ernest Hemingway.

To fund his lessons at drama school and earn money between jobs, Bradford worked as a waiter in restaurants and displayed his performance skills as maître d’ 41 storeys up at the legendary Top of the Six’s Restaurant.

Then, Bradford joined the Actors Studio (1962-4), where he was taught by Lee Strasberg, the godfather of method acting. He made his Broadway début in the drama school’s production of June Havoc’s Depression-era play Marathon ’33 (ANTA Playhouse, 1963-4) as both Beefy Bancroft, a vaudeville acrobat, and Joe, a racketeer’s henchman. He followed it by acting the state prosecutor in the Actors Studio’s staging of James Baldwin’s Southern racial drama Blues for Mister Charlie (ANTA Playhouse, 1964).

Director Arthur Penn cast Bradford in his first screen role, in the film The Chase (1966), as a ruthless young banker who gives Marlon Brando’s sheriff a brutal beating. This brought the actor to the attention of Lew Grade and Man in a Suitcase followed, with Bradford taking many beatings himself, but he was then consigned to guest roles in American television series such as The Waltons (1973), Kojak (1975) and Hart to Hart (1985).

However, Bradford was reunited with Penn and Brando in the film Western The Missouri Breaks (1976), in which he acted the foreman paying the price for his landowner boss’s hanging of a horse rustler.

Later, there was kudos in appearing as a naval officer in Missing (1982), director Costa-Gavras’s searing indictment of American involvement in the 1973 military coup in Chile, and Bradford was memorable as an Irish police chief arguing in an alley with Sean Connery in the 1987 big-screen remake of the hit TV series The Untouchables. Ten years later, he had a good role as a corrupt police captain in Hoodlum.

He was back on television in Cagney & Lacey, intermittently playing Martin Zzbiske (1986-8), the estranged father tracking down his daughter, Mary Beth Lacey (Tyne Daly), years after abandoning his family when she was a child. He reprised the role for a 1995 TV movie, Cagney & Lacey: The View Through the Glass Ceiling.

Bradford’s 1965 marriage to ballet dancer Eileen Elliott ended in divorce. He is survived by their son, Richard, and Bradford’s long-time partner, actress Millie Perkins.

The above obituary came from The Scotsman newspaper April 2016




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Cast and credits


Richard Bradford - Dr. Joseph Gannon
Edward G. Robinson - Dr. Forestman
James Daly - Dr. Paul Lochner
Kim Stanley - Joanna Hanson
Maurice Evans - Dr. George Barger
Kevin McCarthy - Clifford Coswell
J.D. Cannon - Thomes Jarvis
William Windom - Raymond Hanson
Don Quine - Tim Martin
Shelley Faberes - Michele Carter

Producer - Frank Glicksman
Director - Boris Sagal
Teleplay - A.C. Ward
Photography - Joseph Lashelle
Music - George W. Davis
Editor - Henry Batista

Filmed in 1969. It was the pilot movie for a long running TV series entitled 'Medical Center'. Chad Everett assumed the part originally played by Richard Bradfor 






Story synopsis

A distinguished cast was assembled for MGM's 'Operation Heartbeat', headed by Richard Bradford in the role of Dr. Joseph Gannon, Associate Professor of Surgery. Dr. Gannon is a man dedicated to his profession but not to the exclusion of the human side of medicine.

When Dr. Gannon was a needy student of promise, he became the protege of Dr. Lee Forestman (Edward G. Robinson), Chairman of the Department of Surgery, and highly regarded by the Medical Centre's Chief of Staff, Dr. Paul G. Lochner (James Daly).

A problem for Dr. Gannon is medical student Tim Martin (Don Quinn), who has a flair for surgery but is at the bottom of the class in acedemic work.

Another problem for Dr. Gannon is wealthy playboy Raymond Hanson (William Windom), who is brought to the Medical Centre suffering from internal injuries due to a fall. Gannon advises Hanson's wife (Kim Stanley) that her husband's condition is quite serious and that he might even die.

To take his mind off his problems, Dr. Gannon has Michele Carter (Shelley Faberes), but even she can't help him when his patient dies (Hanson) and he's brought to trial on Mrs Hanson's accusation that Gannon saved his friend Dr. Forestman's life by letting Hanson die and using his heart for the vital, life-saving transplant for Forestman.

In the action packed climax to the film, the principals appear in court to fight for their lives and reputations, assisted by lawyers Coswell (Kevin McCarthy) and Jarvis (J.D. Cannon).