Graham Jarvis was born in Toronto in 1930 and, after his family moved to New York, he started at Ridley in 1942. Graham was the first winner of the Julian Street ‘1896 Prize for Prose in 1947 for a story called The Conqueror. The prize, established by Julian Street’s wife, was $25 to be divided between the authors of the best prose and poetry.
After Ridley, Graham attended Williams College in Williamstown, Mass and was a graduate of the American Theatre Wing acting school and the Barter Theatre and an original member of the Lincoln Center Repertory Theater. A cousin of legendary actor Hume Cronyn ’31, Hume helped him land his first role on Broadway where he went on to become a veteran of many Broadway and off-Broadway productions.
His first film, Bye Bye Braverman in 1968, saw him move to California where his role in The Rocky Horror Show, on Sunset Boulevard in 1974, caught the attention of television producer Norman Lear who recommended him for a role in the television satirical soap opera Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. His career flourished. He appeared in over 100 character roles in film and television, including Gunsmoke, All in the Family, Murder She Wrote, M.A.S.H, Star Trek The Next Generation, 7th Heaven and Six Feet Under.
On top of life as an actor, Graham went back to college to get his teaching certificate and taught literacy skills to young offenders. Active in civic politics, he pushed for handgun controls and helped voters get to the polls on election day. He also sang in his church choir and taught Sunday school.
Graham died in Los Angeles, California on April 16, 2003 at age 72.