Francis L. Sullivan

Francis Loftus Sullivan (6 January 1903 – 19 November 1956) was an English film and stage actor.

Francis L. Sullivan
Francis L. Sullivan in Behave Yourself!.jpg
Francis Loftus Sullivan

(1903-01-06)6 January 1903
Died19 November 1956(1956-11-19) (aged 53)
New York City, U.S.
Years active1932–1955
Spouse(s)Frances Joan Perkins (1935–his death)
AwardsBest Featured Actor in a Play
1955 Witness for the Prosecution

Early lifeEdit

Francis Loftus Sullivan[1] attended Stonyhurst, the Jesuit public school in Lancashire, England, whose alumni include Charles Laughton and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


A heavily built man with a striking double-chin and a deep voice, Sullivan made his acting debut at the Old Vic at age 18 in Shakespeare's Richard III. He had considerable theatrical experience before he appeared in his first film in 1932, The Missing Rembrandt, as a German villain opposite Arthur Wontner as Sherlock Holmes.[2]

Among his film roles are Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist (1948) and Phil Nosseross in the film noir Night and the City (1950). Sullivan also played the part of the lawyer Jaggers in two versions of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations - in 1934 and 1946. He appeared in a fourth Dickens film, the 1935 Universal Pictures version of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, in which he played Crisparkle.

He was featured in The Citadel (1938), starring Robert Donat, and a decade later he played the role of Pierre Cauchon in the technicolor version of Joan of Arc (1948), starring Ingrid Bergman. In 1938 he starred in a revival of the Stokes brothers' play Oscar Wilde at London's Arts Theatre. He played the Attorney-General prosecuting the case defended by Robert Donat as barrister Sir Robert Morton, in the first film version of The Winslow Boy (1948).

Sullivan also acted in light comedies, including My Favorite Spy (1951), starring Bob Hope and Hedy Lamarr, in which he played an enemy agent, and the comedy Fiddlers Three (1944), portraying Nero. He also played the role of Pothinus in the film version of George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra (1945). The film was directed by Gabriel Pascal, and was the last film personally supervised by Shaw himself. Sullivan reprised the role in a stage revival of the play.

On television, Sullivan starred in "The Man Who Would Be King", the 17 October 1950, episode of Suspense.[3]

Sullivan, who eventually became a naturalised US citizen, won a Tony Award in 1955 for the Agatha Christie play Witness for the Prosecution. Earlier, he had played Hercule Poirot at London's Embassy Theatre in the Christie play Black Coffee (1930).[citation needed]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1935, Sullivan married stage designer Frances Joan Perkins in Westminster in London.[4] In 1939 they were living at 'Hatch Hill' on Kingsley Green at Fernhurst in West Sussex.[5] They remained married until his death.


He died of a heart attack on 19 November 1956, aged 53 (some sources claim he died from an unspecified "lung ailment").[citation needed]



  1. ^ GRO Register of Births: MAR 1903 1d 727 WANDSWORTH - Francis Loftus Sullivan
  2. ^ Tony Earnshaw (2005). Beating the Devil: The Making of the Night of the Demon. National Museum of Photography, Film & Television. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-9531926-1-8.
  3. ^ "Television Highlights". The Central New Jersey Home News. New Jersey, New Brunswick. 17 October 1950. p. 17. Retrieved 30 April 2021 – via
  4. ^ Francis L Sullivan in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 - (subscription required)
  5. ^ 1939 England and Wales Register for Francis L Sullivan: Sussex, Horsham RD - (subscription required)

External linksEdit