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Final Years of 'Family' Star James Broderick – Glimpse inside the Late Actor's Personal Life

Pedro Marrero
Aug 19, 2021
04:23 A.M.
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James Broderick has over 60 acting credits despite his early death. However, his career was beginning to peak during the last decade of his life.

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American stage, film, and television actor James Broderick passed away in 1982 at 55 after a two-year battle with cancer. He was best known for his role as Doug Lawrence in the ABC series “Family.”

Broderick played a leading role as the dad in the series, alongside Sada Thompson, who played his wife, Kate. Sadly, following the success of the series, Broderick didn’t get the chance to take his career further, as he died two years after it came to an end.

Actor James Broderick in 1959. I Source: Wikimedia Commons

Actor James Broderick in 1959. I Source: Wikimedia Commons

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REMEMBERING JAMES BRODERICK

In an interview with the Television Academy, Michael J. Fox recounts that working with James Broderick on "Family" was something he was pleased about. He remembered Broderick as a great actor and director, noting that he directed the episode he was part of.

In the 1980 TV film "Tha Shadow Box," which was also Broderick's final project, he portrayed a man dying from an incurable disease. This was seen by many as a nod to his real-life struggles with cancer.

James Broderick (right) on "Dog Day's Afternoon." I Image: YouTube/ Movie Clips Classic Trailers.

James Broderick (right) on "Dog Day's Afternoon." I Image: YouTube/ Movie Clips Classic Trailers.

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SHARING THE BIG SCREEN WITH AL PACINO

Despite his early death, he was remembered by many for his stellar acting. Apart from "Family," he shared the big screen with Al Pacino in the 1975 Academy Award-winning film “Dog Day Afternoon.”

He played Agent Sheldon, the FBI agent that negotiates with Pacino’s character Sonny in the film. He was also an acclaimed stage actor in the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center, where he made his debut in the show "Maggie" in 1953.

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HIS EARLY YEARS

Born in Charleston, New Hampshire, in 1927, Broderick studied to become an actor in New York City’s Neighborhood Playhouse, graduating in 1949. He also attended the University of New Hampshire and served in the Navy.

James married playwright and painter Patricia Broderick in 1949, and they went on to have three children, including actor Matthew Broderick, who is currently married to "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker.

Although he wasn't known in the industry when his father died, Matthew had landed his first TV role in the series “Lou Grant” in 1981.

However, in 1986, he got his breakthrough role when he played Ferris Bueller on “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” To date, it continues to be his most famous role.

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