Dean Sullivan dies aged 68: Brookside legend beloved for his role as reckless Jimmy Corkhill passes away five years after being diagnosed with prostate cancer
Former Brookside star Dean Sullivan has died aged 68 following a battle with prostate cancer.
The actor, known to millions as drug dealer Jimmy Corkhill in Channel 4 soap opera Brookside, confirmed he was living with the illness in May – five years after his original diagnosis.
A statement from Dean’s family confirmed the sad news of his death on Thursday. ‘It is with deep sadness we must tell you that actor Dean Sullivan passed away on 29th November 2023 peacefully following a short illness.
‘To millions he was and very much still is remembered as ‘Jimmy’, to family and friends he was ‘Dino’. Dean’s family wants to thank Arrowe Park Hospital for their unwavering and consistent support.’
‘We ask that you respect their privacy in their time of grief,’ read the message from Hamilton Management and his family.
His cause of death has not been confirmed.
Former Brookside star Dean Sullivan has died aged 68 following a battle with prostate cancer
Dean is pictured with his Brookside onscreen wife Sue Jenkins in Liverpool in September
Sullivan was scheduled to appear in a Southport production of Jack And The Beanstalk from December 7, but pulled out on November 17 due to ‘unforeseen circumstances.’
The Atkinson Theatre, where he was expected to tread the boards for a three week run, confirmed his departure in a tweet shortly after his withdrawal.
They wrote: ‘There has been a change to the line-up for this year’s Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime.
‘Dean Sullivan will no longer be performing in the role of Fleshcreep, as previously advertised and the role will now be played by Mark Paterson.’
The former Brookside actor was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 and was finally discharged by his consultant last year after undergoing radiotherapy treatment.
Looking back on his battle with the disease in August, Sullivan told how he put himself ‘in the hands of fate’ during his ill health and tried to continue living his life.
He told the Liverpool Echo: ‘The way I dealt with it was that I just sort of put myself in the hands of fate. If this was my time, then this was my time so I was quite philosophical about it really.
‘I know that people would worry themselves into an early grave as it were but I’m not that sort of person, I try to keep positive about things and I just got on with my life.’
Liverpool born Sullivan told how he wasn’t displaying most of the symptoms of prostate cancer other than a reduced flow.
However, he felt like something wasn’t right and went to the doctor, who just told him to keep an eye on it, but he returned to another doctor a few weeks later.
He said: ‘If I’d have listened to the first doctor, it might have been a different story so always trust your gut, 11 times out of 10, you’re right, we’ve still got that fight or flight instinct.’
The actor, known to millions as drug dealer Jimmy Corkhill in Channel 4 soap opera Brookside, confirmed he was living with the illness in May – five years after his original diagnosis (pictured with his co-stars Claire Sweeney, Sue Jenkins, and George Christopher)
The former Brookside actor was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 and was finally discharged by his consultant last year after undergoing radiotherapy treatment
The soap star is pictured at the Miss Swindon Beauty Contest with Jodie Oram in 1997
The actor admitted early detection was key to his successful radiotherapy treatment and urged other people to get checked if they are concerned.
In 2019, Sullivan opened up about his ‘shell shock’ cancer diagnosis, admitting he never thought he had an issue with his prostate as he wasn’t displaying many of the typical symptoms.
He told The Mirror at the time: ‘I remember being a bit shell shocked really, because even though we know these days that one in three of us will be diagnosed with cancer of some sort, you never think it will be you.’
Sullivan admitted he didn’t immediately share the news with his loved ones or friends because he isn’t the type of person to ‘elicit’ support from their pals.
He kept the news to a few close friends and family members, explaining: ‘You’re the one living with it and dealing with it and my way of dealing with it was not to let it be a major part of my life.’
In 2019, Sullivan opened up about his ‘shell shock’ cancer diagnosis, admitting he never thought he had an issue with his prostate as he wasn’t displaying many of the typical symptoms (pictured in 2016)
He added: ‘Also, there’s the situation when you think “I don’t want to tell this story again”, so only my closest family and friends knew. It was one of those when I thought “just get on with it and what will be will be”.’
Sullivan, from Liverpool, joined Brookside in 1986, four years after its launch and remained on the soap until it was axed in 2003.
He was at the centre of many of the soap’s most memorable storylines- including the moment Jimmy discovered the body of villain Trevor Jordache under a patio two years after his murder.
Dean won two British Soap Awards during his time on the show – including a special recognition award and held the record of filming more episodes than any other actor on the show.
In June Dean reunited with his Brookside daughter Claire Sweeney and wife Sue Jenkins for an appearance at the British Soap Awards
Sullivan, from Liverpool, joined Brookside in 1986, four years after its launch and remained on the soap until it was axed in 2003
He was at the centre of many of the soap’s most memorable storylines (pictured with Paul Usher in 1997)
He also appeared in BBC’s Doctors, ITV’s The Royal and ITV’s Crime Stories. Among his most recent roles was an appearance in 2022 Netflix short film Wings.
The actor also performed on stage, playing Scullery in the North West premiere of Jim Cartwright’s Road in Bolton, and starring in a one-man monologue tour of Chip In The Sugar by Alan Bennett.
Back in June Dean reunited with his Brookside daughter Claire Sweeney, who played Lindsey Corkhill, and wife Sue Jenkins, who played Jackie, for an appearance at the British Soap Awards.
Posing for the family reunion, Claire, who played Lindsey on and off for 12 years, admitted it felt very ’emotional’.
Taking to her Instagram alongside the pair, she penned: ‘Now this felt emotional. So happy to see @deansul @susie.jenks #brookside #family.’
Claire led the tributes to her Dean on Thursday, posting on Instagram: ‘I will miss you Dean,Love you. It was wonderful to be reunited together as a family this year for the Soap Awards. RIP Dean Sullivan.’
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