Terry O'Sullivan, an announcer and stage and screen actor who also worked in radio and TV, died Thursday in St. Paul. He was 91 and suffered from pancreatic cancer.
O'Sullivan performed in 20 plays at the Old Log Theater near Lake Minnetonka. He also played President Franklin Roosevelt in "Annie" at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre and had roles at the Cricket Theater, Theatre 65 and the Como Park Pavilion.
A Kansas City native, O'Sullivan was expected to join his father in the grain trade. But the acting bug bit in college, when he auditioned for a play as a way to spend time with a young woman. That led to acting tours in tent shows, which were popular in small towns in the days before movie theaters.
After hitchhiking to New York City, he studied acting and performed in radio plays with a young drama student named Don Stolz.
An early soap opera star, O'Sullivan played Arthur Tate on "Search for Tomorrow" from 1952 to 1962, and was selected as best daytime drama actor in 1953, 1954 and 1955.
He used to tell stories about the vagaries of live TV in the 1950s, said his daughter, Elizabeth O'Sullivan of Minneapolis.
"He had a scene on a porch, with flowers, and cricket sounds in the background -- and he was thinking what a beautiful setting it was -- and completely forgot his lines. He and the actress who played his wife sat and sat, until finally she asked: 'What are you thinking about?' He said: 'I was just thinking how quiet it is.'
"And once when he had to say a prayer during a dinner scene he wrote the prayer on a plate, because he knew he'd have to say it while bowing his head," she said.
After he moved to Minnesota in 1973, he began to perform regularly at the Old Log Theater, which by then was owned and operated by Stolz.
Even in recent years, O'Sullivan continued to model and do commercial voice-overs. Shortly before he died, his daughter said, he was turned down for a modeling job "because he looked too young and distinguished."
O'Sullivan was married six times, the last time for 30 years to ex-wife Anita O'Sullivan of Edina.
In addition to his daughter Elizabeth, O'Sullivan is survived by daughters Colleen, of San Clemente, Calif.; Kathleen, of Henderson, Nev.; and Molly, of Los Angeles; sisters Barbara Arnold, of Los Angeles and Kathleen Kelly, of Kansas City; nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Washburn-McReavy Chapel, W. 50th Street at Hwy. 100, Edina.
Joe Kimball 651-298-1553 firstname.lastname@example.org