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1975 Tony winners.jpg (15331 bytes)   
1975 Tony Winners
John, Ellen Burstyn, John Kani,
Angela Lansbury and Winston Nishona

1978 Tony Winners.jpg (15226 bytes)
1978 Tony Winners
John, Jessica Tandy,
Liza Minelli and Barnard Hughes

 

Born:

Birthday - March 2.  Born and raised in Knoxville, TN.  Youngest of the five children of Mr. and Mrs. E. V. Cullum, Jr.

Personal:

Married to modern dancer, choreographer, novelist and playwright, Emily Frankel.  They reside in Manhattan. 
Their son, JD Cullum (birthday - March 1), is an actor and writer based in Los Angeles.  JD is married to fashion designer Shareen Mitchell of SHAREEN

Education:

BA, Speech, University of Tennessee (UT).
Graduate Studies in Finance, University of Tennessee.

Sports:

Member of UT's first Southeast Conference Championship tennis team.  Later toured Europe with doubles partner Bill Davis.

Military Service:

Colonel (top student officer) of the 1000-man Army Rerserve Officers Training Corps at the University of Tennessee.
Captain of a transportation company, U.S. Army, 1953-55, Korea.

Early Work:

Approximately 40 major and starring roles in plays produced by the UT Drama Department and Knoxville's Carousel Theatre.  The summer after making his NY debut, John returned to Tennessee to star as frontier hero John Sevier (first Governor of Tennessee) in Kermit Hunter's outdoor drama Chucky Jack .  Also studied with Paul Baker at the Dallas Theatre Center.

New York Debut:

1956, as a Soldier in the acclaimed Phoenix Theatre production of Shaw's St. Joan, starring Siobhan McKenna.

Broadway Debut:

1960, Camelot.  John originated the role of Sir Dinadan and was standby for Richard Burton and Roddy McDowell.  He went on four times for Burton as Arthur,  and succeeded McDowell as Mordred.

Film Debut:

1962, All the Way Home, starring Robert Preston and Jean Simmons.  John played Ms. Simmons' younger brother (James Agee's uncle) in the drama based on Tad Mosel's Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name.  The play was adapted from James Agee's Pulitzer Prize-winning, autobiographical book, A Death in the Family.  Agee was a Knoxville native, and a fellow alumnus of Knoxville High School. The movie was filmed on location in Knoxville.

U.K. Debut:

July 2000, in Arthur Miller's play, Mr. Peter's Connections, at London's Almeida Theatre, followed by a short tour.  Production directed by Michael Blakemore. 

Other Milestones:

In 1983, John Cullum portrayed farmer Jim Dahlberg in ABC's controversial drama, The Day After, which depicted the possible aftermath of a nuclear attack on the United States.  The program made headlines around the world, put Mr. Cullum on the cover of TV Guide, and was seen by an estimated 100 million viewers (a record at the time for a tv-movie).  It was later released as an international feature film.

Major Awards:

1965 Tony nomination (Best Actor in a Musical) and Theatre World Award for On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.  The show's original cast album received the 1965  Grammy Award (presented to the composer Burton Lane and lyricist Alan Jay Lerner).  John portrayed psychiatrist Mark Bruckner, opposite Barbara Harris. 
 
1975 Tony Award (Best Actor in a Musical), Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Shenandoah.  Also honored with a portrait in Sardi's.  John portrayed Virginia farmer Charlie Anderson, who tries to protect his family from the tragedy and turmoil of the Civil War. 
 
1978 Tony Award (Best Actor in a Musical) for On the Twentieth Century.  John portrayed maniacal impresario, Oscar Jaffee opposite Madeline Kahn's Lily Garland.   Ms. Kahn was succeeded by Judy Kaye.  Imogene Coca co-starred, and Kevin Kline played Lily's new lover.
 
1978, directed actress Carol Mayo Jenkins to a Drama Desk nomination (Outstanding Actress in a Play) for Zinnia, a two-character play written by and co-starring Emily Frankel.  Zinnia was presented off-Broadway.

1981-82 special  Drama Desk Award for "Unique Theatrical Experience" for Whistler, an Off-Broadway, one-man show based on the life of painter James McNeill Whistler.

1988, inducted into the East Tennessee Hall of Fame for the performing arts, along with  Dolly Parton and the late Archie Campbell.  Other members of the Hall, to date, include: 
t Roy Acuff, James Agee, Chet Atkins, Polly Bergen, Clarence Brown, Mary Costa, "Tennessee" Ernie Ford, David Keith, Grace Moore and Patricia Neal.  Paintings of honorees are displayed in Knoxville's historic Bijou Theatre (where young John Cullum often performed in student and community plays).
   
1993 Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama and 1992 Viewers for Quality Television "Q" Award for Northern Exposure (1990-95) in which he portrayed bar owner and naturalist, Holling Vincoeur.

    
1998 Film Fest-New Haven, First Place Jury Award for The Secret Life of Algernon.  John wrote the screenplay for this black comedy (adapted from Russell Greenan's novel) and starred in the title role.  Charles Durning and Carrie Anne Moss (later of the Matrix films) co-starred.
    
1998, Founder's Day Medal, University of Tennessee.
<>

2002 Tony nomination for Best Performance by Leading Actor in a Musical, and 2002 Outer Critics Circle nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for Urinetown: The Musical

2004, Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Clarence Brown Theatre, University of Tennessee Theatre Department.   First presentation of this award.

2005, Drama Desk nomination as Outstanding  Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Cardinal Law in Sin (A Cardinal Deposed)

2007, Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for 110 in the Shade. 

2007 Inductee, Theater Hall of Fame. 

2008 Drama Desk nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play for The Conscientious Objector.

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