Bryan Hull, who set a U.S. record played the Old Actor for 21 years in “The Fantasticks,” died Sunday May 11 in New York from heart failure after a brief illness. He was 65.
His accomplishment was believed to be the longest stint of an actor playing the same role in a single U.S. stage production — 8,262 perfs at Gotham’s Sullivan Street Playhouse. “The Fantasticks” itself became the longest-running musical in America (and arguably the world): 17,162 perfs from May 3, 1960, to Jan. 13, 2002.
Born Owen Bryan Hull in Amarillo, Texas, thesp grew up in Albuquerque, was a drama major at the U. of New Mexico and Wayne State U., served four years in the Air Force and became coordinator for professional entertainment programs of the armed forced in Hawaii and other Pacific islands.
Afterward, he appeared on Broadway at the Lyceum and in the musical “Something’s Afoot.” Off Broadway credits include “The White Devil,” “Two Gentlemen of Verona” and “Here Be Dragons.” He also taught the workshop “How to Audition.”
Besides his “Fantasticks” work, he appeared in repertory theaters around the country in plays by Shakespeare, Pinter, Moliere, Albee, Genet, Miller and more. He also played Ernst Ludwig in a national company of Cabaret and toured as Prospero in “The Tempest” and Van Helsing in “Dracula.”
His one-man show “Boz: Charles Dickens in America” also toured; other one-man shows included Robert Browning’s “Hypocrites, Frauds & Cheats” and Tennyson’s “Enoch Arden.”
He is survived by domestic partner Jack Benders and two sister, among others.