A character player capable of projecting priggish attitudes or a sinister aura even when not specifically a villain, Anthony Heald did not begin to be noticed in film until middle-age and after more than 20 years in the theater. The compact, light-haired actor had intended to be a stage actor, and spent 15 years working in repertory companies in Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Kentucky before venturing to New York at age 35. Heald quickly established himself, playing Tom in a 1980 Off-Broadway production of "The Glass Menagerie" and two years later made his Broadway debut alongside Holly Hunter in Beth Henley's short-lived "The Wake of Jamey Foster." He continued to work in the theatre throughout the 80s, notably in support of Remark Ramsey in "Quartermaine's Terms" (1983), as the Welsh Fluellen to Kevin Kline's "Henry V" (1984 in NYC's Central Park) and in the title roles in "The Foreigner," in the Broadway revival of "The Marriage of Figaro" (1985, co-starring with Christopher Reeve and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and the off-Broadway comedy "Digby" (also 1985, with John Glover). He won critical praise for originating the role of Stephen, the lover who had thwarted his opera-loving beau in Terrence McNally's "The Lisbon Traviata" (1989-90).
Television and film work began to beckon in the 80s as well. Heald played a recurring role on the ABC daytime drama "All My Children" and guest starred on "Miami Vice" and "Spenser For Hire," but his first big TV appearance was as Kevin Kensington, one of the family of raisin barons in the 1986 CBS spoof miniseries "Fresno," co-starring Carol Burnett. Other small screen credits include a turn as an incestuous doctor in a 1991 "CBS Schoolbreak Special" entitled "Abby, My Love" and the final episode of the hit sitcom "Cheers." By the early 80s, Heald had begun to gain small roles in features (as a doctor in Mike Nichols' "Silkwood" 1983, as a cop in "Teachers" 1984). His first prominent role was Weldon, the government agent posing as an acting student, in "Outrageous Fortune" (1987). While Nichols cast him in a more prominent role in "Postcards From the Edge" (1990), Heald hit pay dirt in 1991 when director Jonathan Demme cast him as Dr. Chilton, the arrogant psychiatrist brought down by his own hubris--and Hannibal Lechter--in the Oscar-winning "Silence of the Lambs."
Despite the notice, however, Heald never fully graduated to major roles. Throughout the 90s, he has continued to alternate between features and the stage. On screen, Heald was Annabella Sciorra's former boyfriend in the undistinguished thriller "Whispers in the Dark" and had a small role in the superior "Searching for Bobby Fischer" (both 1993). Heald has appeared in three adaptations of John Grisham best-sellers: Alan J Pakula's "The Pelican Brief" (1993) and "The Client" (1994) and "A Time to Kill" (1996), both directed by Joel Schumacher. In Barbet Schroeder's 1995 remake of "Kiss of Death," he was cited for his depiction of a sleazy lawyer.
On stage, Heald has excelled in two plays by Terrence McNally: in "Lips Together, Teeth Apart" (1991), he was Christine Baranski's slightly stuffy husband, while in the Tony-winning "Love! Valour! Compassion!," he was half of a successful gay couple. Heald demonstrated his versatility in multiple roles in A.R. Gurney's off-Broadway hit "Later Life" (1993) and more than held his own against heavyweights George C Scott and Charles Durning in the 1996 revival of "Inherit the Wind."
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Began career as a company member of the Asola State Theatre in Sarasota, Florida
Off-Broadway debut, as Tom in "The Glass Menagerie"
Broadway debut in Beth Henley's "The Wake of Jamey Foster", co-starring Holly Hunter
Film debut, in bit part as a doctor in "Silkwood", directed by Mike Nichols
TV miniseries debut, "Fresno" (CBS)
Played Stephen in New York production of "The Lisbon Traviata"; first stage collaboration with Terrence McNally
Played featured role in Mike Nichols' "Postcards From the Edge"
Co-starred off-Broadway in Terrence McNally's "Lips Together, Teeth Apart", as Christine Baranski's husband
Breakthrough film role, Dr. Chilton, "The Silence of the Lambs"
Played supporting role in "The Pelican Brief", based on a John Grisham novel
Cast by Joel Schumacher in the film adapation of John Grisham's "The Client"
Replaced Stephen Spinella when Terrence McNally's play "Love! Valour! Compassion!" transferred to Broadway
Played the reporter in Broadway revival of "Inherit the Wind"
Featured in "A Time to Kill", directed by Schumacher and adapted from a Grisham best-seller
Had recurring role as a judge on the ABC drama "The Practice" in episodes written by David E Kelley
Co-starred as the vice-principal in the Fox fall drama series "Boston Public", written and produced by Kelley