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Adolphus Jean Sweet (July 18, 1920 – May 8, 1985) was an American actor, credited with nearly 60 television and film roles as well as several roles in stage productions before his death from stomach cancer in 1985.

Dolph Sweet
Dolph Sweet.jpg
Adolphus Jean Sweet

(1920-07-18)July 18, 1920
DiedMay 8, 1985(1985-05-08) (aged 64)
Years active1961–1985
Spouse(s)Iris Braun


Life and careerEdit

Sweet was born in New York City, New York. His father was an auto mechanic and his first ambition was playing football. In 1939, he attended the University of Alabama; however, he was called away from his education for a tour of duty in World War II with the US Army Air Force, serving as a navigator on B-24 Liberator bomber aircraft. During his service, he was shot down over Romania while flying on Operation Tidal Wave, and subsequently spent two years as a POW.

After the war, he played semi-pro football and boxed as he worked on a master's degree from Columbia University. He went on to head up the drama department at Barnard College. Shortly after, he made his Broadway debut in Rhinoceros which starred Zero Mostel.

His first major film role was in the motion picture The Young Doctors in 1961. He went on to make numerous appearances in films such as You're a Big Boy Now (1966), A Lovely Way to Die (1968), The Swimmer (1968) and Finian's Rainbow (1968) as the Sheriff, and on television through the 1960s and 1970s, including roles on The Defenders, The Edge of Night, Another World as Police Chief Gil McGowan, and Dark Shadows. In his personal life he married and had a son. This marriage ended in divorce before the mid-1970s; Sweet later remarried.

Through the 1970s he was much in demand, with roles in films such as Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970), The Out-of-Towners (1970), The New Centurions (1972), Fear Is the Key (1972), Sisters (1972), Cops and Robbers (1973), The Lords of Flatbush (1974), Amazing Grace (1974), The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training (1977), Which Way Is Up? (1977), Go Tell the Spartans (1978), Heaven Can Wait (1978) and The Wanderers (1979). In addition to film roles, he also had guest starring roles on Little House on the Prairie and Mrs. Columbo. He had a notable role as FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in the 1978 television miniseries King, based on the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

He was well known for his role as policeman Gil McGowan, third husband of Ada Davis (later Hobson), on the soap opera Another World (1972–1977). He also voiced the character of Manhattan Subway Transit Police Captain Costello in the 1974 version of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.

As the 1980s began, Sweet worked steadily in such films as Below the Belt (1980) and Reds (1981), and television series like Hill Street Blues and Hart to Hart.

Sweet played as police chief and father Carl Kanisky, who was constantly at odds with housekeeper Nell Carter on the sitcom Gimme a Break!, a role he played from 1981 until his death.


Sweet died of stomach cancer at Tarzana Hospital in Tarzana, California on May 8, 1985. His widow, Iris Braun, survived him.[1] His remains were cremated.[2]


Year Title Role Notes
1961 The Young Doctors Police Car Driver
1966 You're a Big Boy Now Patrolman Francis Graf
1968 A Lovely Way to Die Captain Haver
1968 The Swimmer Henry Biswanger
1968 Finian's Rainbow Sheriff
1969 The Lost Man Police Captain
1970 Colossus: The Forbin Project Missile Commander
1970 The Out-of-Towners Police Sergeant
1971 The Telephone Book Obscene-Caller
1972 The New Centurions Sgt. Runyon
1972 Sisters Detective Kelly
1972 Fear Is the Key Jablonsky
1973 Cops and Robbers George
1974 The Lords of Flatbush Mr. Rosiello
1974 Amazing Grace Mayor Scott
1974 The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Police Capt. Costello Voice, Uncredited
1977 The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training Mr. Manning
1977 Which Way Is Up? The Boss
1978 Go Tell the Spartans Gen. Harnitz
1978 Heaven Can Wait Head Coach
1979 The Wanderers Chubby Galasso
1980 Below the Belt LeRoi
1981 Reds Big Bill Haywood


  1. ^ "'Gimme A Break' Star Dolph Sweet Dies at 64". San Bernardino County Sun. May 10, 1985. p. 6.
  2. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company. p. 729. ISBN 9780786479924.

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