A character player capable of projecting priggish attitudes or a sinister aura even when not specifically a villain, Anthony Heald did not begin to be noticed in film until middle-age and after more than 20 years in the theater. The compact, light-haired actor had intended to be a stage actor, and spent 15 years working in repertory companies in Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Kentucky before venturing to New York at age 35. Heald quickly established himself, playing Tom in a 1980 Off-Broadway production of "The Glass Menagerie" and two years later made his Broadway debut alongside Holly Hunter in Beth Henley's short-lived "The Wake of Jamey Foster". He continued to work in the theatre throughout the 80s, notably in support of Remark Ramsey in "Quartermaine's Terms" (1983), as the Welsh Fluellen to Kevin Kline's "Henry V" (1984 in NYC's Central Park) and in the title roles in "The Foreigner", in the Broadway revival of "The Marriage of Figaro" (1985, co-starring with Christopher Reeve and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and the off-Broadway comedy "Digby" (also 1985, with John Glover). He won critical praise for originating the role of Stephen, the lover who had thwarted his opera-loving beau in Terrence McNally's "The Lisbon Traviata" (1989-90).