Review Fix Exclusive: Larry Sullivan Interview

Larry Sullivan has been entertaining the masses for years, playing roles on such shows as ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and Showtime’s “Dexter.”

Lawrence Edward “Larry” Sullivan Jr. is the eldest of his parents’ two children, and was born on September 10, 1970 in New Haven, Connecticut. Though he was born there, he and his family did not stay there for long.

“My family moved to Florida when I was about 11, so I don’t remember much about growing up in Connecticut,” Sullivan said. “I know I had a good childhood. All of the photos and home movies looked really fun.” Since he and his family moved when Sullivan was so young, he stated that, “it was a pretty smooth transition” from one state to another.

Sullivan is a member of a close-knit family and he thinks highly of his parents. “My mom and dad are my heroes and my best friends,” said Sullivan. “I feel so lucky to have the parents [that] I have. They’ve loved me unconditionally all [of] my life. There wasn’t a lot of money growing up, but I never knew it. They gave my sister and I everything they could and more. They’ve supported me 110 percent, no matter what it was I chose to attempt. [They have] never asked for anything in return. They believe in me even when I don’t believe in myself. They’re my biggest fans. They’re still married today, over 40 years together.”

After watching his younger sister’s performance in a recital as a child, Sullivan knew that he was stage bound.

“Acting is all I’ve ever wanted to do,” said Sullivan. “I remember putting on the shows in the garage and making the neighbors come over and watch. I jumped in and never really looked back.”

Sullivan was a performer at Disney World in Orlando and Tokyo Disneyland, and did the national tour of Miss Saigon.

However, his most memorable appearance in television was when he played the ballet-dancing boyfriend of Will on “Will & Grace” during the series’ fourth season in 2001. “‘Will & Grace’ was a pretty special one for me,” said Sullivan. “For me to be welcomed so warmly by the cast for that episode and to have such a memorable role was so much fun. It combined the live-audience aspect of theater that I love so much along with the dancing and comedy, so there was just a little bit of everything in there.”

His portrayal of a dancer was rather convincing to viewers of the show, but it was not something that was unusual to him. “Dance isn’t something I’ve really kept up over the recent years, but it’ll always hold a special place in my heart,” Sullivan said. “I’d say I’m more of a mover now than a dancer.”

Sullivan is now preparing to venture back into his love of the theater. “I’m about to get back into voice lessons again, as I’d really like to get back into musicals – that’s definitely a true love of mine,” Sullivan said. Now living in Los Angeles, Sullivan has found it important to put his focus toward film and television more so than theater.

Sullivan recalls his first breakout role as a rather small appearance on the big screen. “I had a small role [as a police officer in a diner] in the first ‘Rush Hour’ film,” Sullivan said. “That was a pretty big deal to me. Always exciting to book fun roles and that movie ended up being a huge hit so that was really exciting to be a part of.”

“As for being famous, I always joke that no one knows who I am except my mom and dad. It always surprises me when people recognize me from something or I receive a letter or an e-mail in response to something someone saw me in,” he said. “[It is] incredibly flattering and always surprising.”

The buddy-buddy flick starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker blended the best of two worlds, and went on to gross over $140 million. The film eventually spawned two sequels, and one more is now in development.

Sullivan was moving up the ladder of Hollywood. In 2002, he landed the starring role of Alan Oakley, a closeted aspiring writer in the movie “The Trip.” “The Trip” is literally a trip throughout history on the rise of the gay liberation movement in 1973 and the lives of the movie’s two main characters, Alan and Tommy Ballenger, played by Steve Braun. The movie was directed and written by Miles Swain. Being that this was not his first time portraying a gay man, Sullivan had little to be opposed to.

“I didn’t really feel any particular way about portraying a gay man in the movie, said Sullivan. “I really just wanted it to be about two regular guys who happen to be in love. ‘The Trip’ was a very special experience for me. I feel so fortunate to have been given that opportunity. I learned a lot on that movie, not just the technical aspects of filmmaking and how the business side of things works. It was one of my biggest roles at the time, but also about the history of the gay-rights movement.”

He has made a name for himself by playing the recurring character of officer Andy Akers on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” a patient in need of a face transplant on “Grey’s Anatomy” and even a heartless womanizer on “Dexter.”

Sullivan’s latest role is in a movie called “Gay Baby.” “It’s a comedy, a short film,” said Sullivan. “It’s about a couple who are expecting a baby, and they find out the baby is going to be gay. And then it’s about how the dad, played by me, comes to accept that. It’s got a positive message, which was what made me want to be involved with the project.”

The movie just won the Audience Award at FilmOut San Diego. Sullivan has also made an appearance in another movie, “Miss Nobody,” which is now in postproduction.

Sullivan is not only a seasoned entertainer – he is currently volunteering his time at the non-profit organization Project Angel Food. He also became an activist for animal rights and has adopted a few stray animals, and has taken a stand against animal cruelty by becoming a vegetarian.

“In December of 2005, I saw a billboard which led me to a Web site with images and videos, which led me to more Web sites with images and videos,” Sullivan said. “After seeing the way animals are treated, the horrible abuse they go through and how we treat them like nothing more than machines, I decided right then and there that I couldn’t be a part of that suffering anymore. I thought, what better New Year’s resolution than to make the world a kinder place? So I became vegetarian on New Year’s Day of 2006 and nearly vegan not long after that. My one thing that I couldn’t stop eating was a chocolate-chip cookie every once in a while. There’s trace amounts of dairy in it, so I didn’t feel comfortable calling myself vegan at that time. I’ve never felt better and [even] more sure about a decision. It’s the only New Year’s resolution I’ve ever kept.”

Sullivan’s diet is now plant-based for the most part. His new way of life has opened him up to so many things he didn’t even know were out there. He stated that “it’s so easy to eat a more compassionate diet, and it’s so healthy.” Recently, he was able to try the new vegan burrito that’s being tested in the Chipotle restaurant chain with a new product called Gardein. “It was awesome,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan’s pledge to the vegetarian lifestyle his opened him up to being more analytical about his surrounds.

“Well, full equality for all people is at the top of the list,” Sulivan said. “I’d wish for more people to treat animals with kindness, and that means not eating them. I don’t think people really think about what happens to these animals. If people knew, they wouldn’t be a part of it. I think if we were to be more kind to animals, we’d be more kind to each other, too. This might sound strange, but as my awareness of the suffering of animals increased, my awareness of the suffering of people did, too. It somehow showed me how connected we all are. Going [vegetarian has] truly changed my life and made me a more compassionate person.”

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