‘Blue Bloods’: One Star Had Impressive Broadway Career Before Joining the Hit Drama

by Keeli Parkey

There are many factors that have made the CBS drama “Blue Bloods” the success it is. One of those factors are the actors and actresses who bring the members of the Reagan family and company to life on the small screen.

The cast is filled with talented performers. But, there is one of them who has brought an impressive decades-long career on the Broadway stage with him to “Blue Bloods.”

That actor is Len Cariou. He plays Henry “Pop” Reagan, the father of Tom Selleck’s character Frank Reagan. “Pop” was also once the commissioner of the New York City Police Department. Cariou is now 81 years old and hails from Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, according to IMDb.

Len Cariou made his Broadway debut in “The House of Atreus.” He then went on to star in “Henry V” in 1969, according to Playbill.

A big break for the future “Blue Bloods” star came the following year when he was cast in the show “Applause.” It was a musical version of the iconic film, “All About Eve.” The show also starred Lauren Bacall. Cariou also received critical acclaim for his work in this musical. He was nominated for a Tony Award. And, he also won a Theatre World Award for his work.

‘Blue Bloods’ Star Len Carious Was an Original Cast Member in Two Stephen Sondheim Shows During the 1970s

Most theatre fans recognize Stephen Sondheim as one of the most important lyricists and composers in the history of American theatre. Decades before “Blue Bloods” aired its first episode, Len Cariou was part of the original cast of not one – but two of Sondheim’s musicals during the 1970s.

The first was “A Little Night Music” in 1973. Cariou was again nominated for his work in the musical. And, he starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the film version.

The next Stephen Sondheim show was the popular “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” in 1979. The show was a hit and it brought Cariou awards for his performance as the title character. He won both the Tony and Drama Desk awards for his work as Sweeney Todd. Angela Lansbury, a very famous actress of the stage, film, and television, starred alongside Cariou as Mrs. Lovette.

His other Broadway acting credits include: “Dance a Little Closer” in 1983; “Teddy & Alice” in 1987; “The Speed of Darkness” in 1991; “The Dinner Party” in 2000; “Proof” in 2002.

In addition to his acting roles, Carious also directed the 1975 Broadway show “Don’t Call Back.”

You can watch “Blue Bloods” star Len Cariou talk about “Sweeney Todd” below.