Julian Bailey, an actor whose career ranged from coast to coast, died Friday at his Minneapolis home. He was 60 years old.
Bailey and his then-wife Susanne Egli came to Minneapolis in 1982 after he had worked for many years with the National Shakespeare Company in New York. Egli worked primarily at the Old Log Theater and Bailey was cast in many shows at the Guthrie Theater, including a run as Charles Dickens in several mid-80’s productions of “A Christmas Carol.
In the past few years, he acted in “Shadowlands” and “Pride and Prejudice” at the Guthrie. He was seen at Actors Theater of Minnesota, Park Square, Childrens’ Theatre company and the Old Log. He also spent a couple of years acting in Los Angeles. Bailey also did quite a bit of work at History Theatre in St. Paul, including a portrayal of Hubert Humphrey in a 1997 biography. He repeated his performance as Humphrey in a 2002 play about Coya Knutson, Minnesota’s first woman representative to Congress.
“He was always so smart and passionate about what he did,” said History Theatre artistic director Ron Peluso.
Playwright Jeffrey Hatcher said he appreciated having Bailey act in his work, such as “A Piece of the Rope” at History Theatre.
“He was one of the few actors I can think of when he opened his mouth the words came out just as you had heard them in your head,” Hatcher said. “You could see he had done a lot of Shakespeare when he was young.”
Playwright Gram Slaton, an early fellow at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis called Bailey “One of the best, most intuitively true actors I’ve ever seen.”
Bailey and Egli had one son, Nicholas, but then divorced. She later married Jim Cada, another actor. The three of them were very good friends, Cada and Bailey working at Old Log in several productions. Egli recalled that Cada and Bailey were co-coaches for Nicholas’s Little League team.
“Other parents thought it was so bizarre that these two men cared for each other,” Egli recalled. “I think the kids learned more about love than baseball.”
Bailey was born in San Remo, Italy and graduated from the Academy of Dramatic Art at Oakland University in Michigan. He is survived by Nicholas, a Chicago actor and step-daughter Olivia Cada, a student at Mississippi State University. There will be a memorial service on May 23, at 4 p.m. at the Old Log Theater, 5185 Meadville St., Greenwood.