Actor Hopes Bequest From Stranger's Estate Will Revive Career
A struggling actor who received half of the estate of a man he never met is hoping the latest media attention will boost his career.
Kevin Brophy's most famous role was that of a boy raised by wolves in the 1970s ABC television drama, "Lucan."
Last week, Brophy was thrust into the limelight again, but not for a new starring role. The State-Journal Register reported that an Illinois man, Ray Fulk, left his estate to be split between Brophy and another obscure actor, Peter Barton, neither of whom Fulk had never met.
Like many actors, Brophy went back and fourth between acting gigs and jobs that paid the bills.
"I thought it would be six months,"Brophy told ABC News about his former job as a doorman at the now-closed Bel-Air Hotel in Los Angeles. "An actor always has a second job."
But he ended up staying for over a quarter of a century, making friends with The Beatles' George Harrison. Harrison's wife even invited Brophy to Harrison's funeral.
"I asked if I could bring my wife," Brophy said. "She said, 'No, George didn't know her'."
Brophy is still stunned by the bequest from Fulk, who was a hermit, of what will be six figures after the sale of Fulk's 160-acre property in Illinois.
He said that a scrapbook that Fulk had made of Brophy's work led him to believe that Fulk felt a connection with his characters.
The scrapbook, mailed to him by Fulk's attorney, contained two letters that Brophy had written in response to Fulk's many letters to him, a page from a TV Guide featuring Brophy, as well as other memorabilia of Brophy's career.
"It's still crazy and random, but seeing the scrapbook brought it all home," he said.
Brophy said some letters had been returned to Fulk due to a changed or mistaken address.
"Some were 15 or 20 pages long. That's weird and creepy in this day and age, but back then, the show resonated with him," Brophy said of "Lucan."
Brophy said Fulk's attorney informed him that Fulk "was into wolves and his dogs," including having framed photos of wolves.
"One of his requests was to be buried on his farm in the pet cemetery but they couldn't get the permit," Brophy said.
Now with four grown children, ages 24 to 39, Brophy said he is a struggling actor who is grateful for the funds.
"It's not enough to change your life and go and buy a Ferrari or give to starving children in Africa," Brophy said.
Brophy called it a "wonderful safety net for myself and my family, not really having a steady job."
When asked if he hopes if this will jump start his acting career, Brophy said, "Sure, why not?"
"I have a new agent who's sending me out," he said, explaining that he is auditioning for commercials and feature films.