Richard G. Stilwell, Jr. – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army

From a contemporary report:

Richard G. Stilwell Jr., 59, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and former Washington area resident who was also a stage, screen and television actor, died in an auto accident November 23, 2002 in West Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles police said he was killed when his car crossed over into oncoming traffic and collided with another vehicle. The driver of the other car was hospitalized with serious injuries, police said.

Colonel Stilwell, who lived in the Washington area off and on over 40 years, was the son of General Richard G. Stilwell, a former Undersecretary of Defense who was commander of U.N. forces in Korea during the war there. Colonel Stilwell was born in Buffalo, New York. He was a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and received a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University.

He served two tours in Vietnam as a rifle company commander. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry and received a Purple Heart after he was shot in the face by a sniper. He was later a tactical officer at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and commanded a battalion in South Korea.

After he retired in 1985, he studied acting at the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory and with Karen Bralove, former director of drama at Sidwell Friends School, whom he later married.

Colonel Stilwell, appearing under the name Dick Stilwell, performed with Czech actor Jiri Fisher in plays that included those of Vaclav Havel, then a political prisoner in Czechoslovakia and later president of the Czech Republic. The actors presented Havel’s “Audience” at theaters in Washington, New York and St. Paul, Minnesota, and later toured with the play in Czechoslovakia.

In 1996, Colonel Stilwell moved to Los Angeles to work in film and television. He played a police officer at a war rally on the Mall in “Forrest Gump” and a detective in “L.A. Confidential.” He also had parts in “The Pelican Brief,” “Major League II,” “The Chamber” and “Random Hearts” and in the television series “Homicide” and “The Wire.”

His first marriage, to Tabitha Ogden, ended in divorce.

In addition to his wife, Karen Bralove of Los Angeles, survivors include two children from his first marriage, Richard Stilwell of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Catherine Lavin of Berkeley, California; two stepdaughters, Mara Bralove and Brooke Ugel, both of Washington; his mother, Alice Simpson Stilwell of McLean; and three sisters, Barbara Snook of Denver, Ann Strong of Springfield and Dian Shackelford of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Lt. Col., USA (Ret.)

Died November 23, 2002 in an auto accident in Los Angeles. Survived by his wife, Karen Bralove; children, Richard Stilwell and Catherine Lavin; stepdaughters, Mara Bralove and Brooke Ugel; mother, Alice Stilwell and sisters, Barbara Snook, Ann Strong and Dian Shackleford. Memorial Service will be held on Wednesday, December 4, 2002, 10 a.m. at Friends Meeting of Washington, 2111 Florida Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC. Burial January 7, 2003, 11 a.m., Old Post Chapel, Arlington National Cemetery.


  • VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 10/01/1962 – 11/01/1984
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 07/27/1943
  • DATE OF DEATH: 11/23/2002
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 01/07/2003

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