After beefing up his bank account as a sales clerk (handling everything from men's clothing to farm machinery), Canadian actor Len Cariou began his formal theatrical training at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre. Cariou's first professional appearance was in the chorus of the Canadian company of Damn Yankees. On Broadway from 1968, Cariou was prominently featured in such long-running musicals as Applause and A Little Night Music. In 1972, he was appointed artistic director of his old stomping grounds, the Tyrone Guthrie; and in 1979 he won a Tony award for his portrayal of the title character in the Stephen Sondheim musical drama Sweeney Todd. His film roles include Frederick in A Little Night Music (1978) and Nick Callan in The Four Seasons (1981). On television, Len Cariou was perhaps never busier than during the 1993-1994 season, when he appeared in five made-for-TV movies, including Charles Bronson's remake of The Sea Wolf. Over the coming years, Cariou would remain active on screen, appearing in movies like The Greatest Game Ever Played and on TV shows like Brotherhood, Damages, and Blue Bloods.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Sang in a church choir and at weddings as a boy soprano.
- Made his stage debut in the chorus of a Canadian production of Damn Yankees in 1959.
- Starred alongside Angela Lansbury in the original 1979 Broadway production of Sweeney Todd; the pair teamed up again when Cariou landed a recurring role as a spy on Lansbury's series Murder, She Wrote.
- Narrated the Oscar-winning 1989 documentary short film The Johnstown Flood.
- Elected into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2004.
- Featured as corrupt billionaire Louis Tobin in season three of Damages.