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Jim J. Bullock is an American actor best known for his starring role in the 1980's sitcom Too Close for Comfort. He struggled to come out as gay and HIV positive.
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Jim J. Bullock is an American actor best known for his starring role on the 1980's sitcom Too Close for Comfort. Raised in Texas by conservative Baptist parents, he attended Oklahoma Baptist University on a music scholarship, but soon abandoned college to move west to Los Angeles. He worked part time as a waiter while he struggled to land roles, but finally got his big break when he landed the role of goofy Monroe Ficus on Too Close for Comfort. In 1987,
he was a regular celebrity on the popular show Hollywood Squares. The witty and charming actor was a favorite of viewers. For many years he struggled to come out as both gay and HIV positive.
Actor. Born James Jackson Bullock in 1955. Witty and charming, Jim J. Bullock started out as just another struggling actor-waiter in Los Angeles and became a television star in the 1980s. Raised in Texas, he was brought up Baptist by his deeply religious and conservative parents. Bullock even attended Oklahoma Baptist University where he studied music on a scholarship. But he abandoned college to go west to Los Angeles.
Initially, Bullock waited tables and auditioned for parts. He got his big break when he landed the role of goofy Monroe Ficus on the popular sitcom Too Close for Comfort in 1980. On the series, television veteran Ted Knight starred as Henry Rush, a cartoonist who lived with his wife Muriel (Nancy Dussault) in San Francisco. Their two college-aged daughters Jackie (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) and Sara (Lydia Cornell) lived in the apartment downstairs. Bullock’s character was a friend of Sara’s and was often hanging around the Rushes, much to Henry’s dismay.
While ABC canceled the show in 1983, it lived on in syndication for two more seasons. In its last season, the sitcom was called The Ted Knight Show. The show took a new direction at the same time, making Henry Rush the majority share owner of a weekly newspaper. While his two daughters were dropped from the cast, Bullock, a fan favorite, remained with the show and now worked for Henry. A second season of The Ted Knight Show was about to going to production when its star passed away in August 1986.
During the run of the show, some questions about Bullock’s sexual orientation cropped up. While Monroe had been written as a straight character, many fans wrote in asking if he was gay. In real life, Bullock had been keeping his homosexuality a secret, believing that it was be detrimental to his acting career. He later told the Miami Herald that he even dated women to protect his public image. “My publicist would put me in The National Enquirer with different girls of the week,” Bullock explained. Also fearing the stigma associated with AIDS, Bullock also kept the fact that he was HIV positive status to himself after learning his status in 1985.
In 1987, Bullock wowed audiences with his humor and wit on The Hollywood Squares, a popular game show.
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