Sheffey Character and Actor Bios

AndersonCUpYoung Sheffey (Dwight Anderson)

Although young Robert Sheffey issomething of a troublemaker, he hasa longing for something, and he doesn’t know what it is—until he goes with some friends to make trouble at a revival meeting. Hearing the Word of God and salvation preached clearly and simply, Robert realizes this is what he’s been missing and is saved. Unable to get a preaching license because of his lack of seminary training, Sheffey works as a school teacher during the winter and travels as a preacher during the summer. Eventually, he becomes a full-time circuit-riding preacher in the Appalachian wilderness.

Originally screen tested for his resemblance to a college picture of his counterpart Harold Kilpatrick, Dwight Anderson portrayed Young Sheffey in a clear and moving way that belied his lack of previous acting experience. Following his graduation from Bob Jones University in 1977, Dwight has worked for many years in the field of Public Relations.

shefOldCupSheffey the Man (Harold Kilpatrick)

People all through the Appalachian wilderness know Brother Sheffey, the humble, straight-talking, compassionate preacher who rides from place to place encouraging and exhorting, and often solving problems in his own unique way. When tragedy takes the two things closest to him–his wife Eliza and the revival campground he built–he wavers briefly, then regains his extraordinary faith in God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Starting with one of the few surviving photographs of Robert Sayers Sheffey, Unusual Films began a search that ended in Harold Kilpatrick, a BJU graduate and pastor in Atlanta, Georgia. He overcame his lack of experience and made the character of Sheffey come alive in what is Unusual Films’ most popular production. Dr. Kilpatrick went to be with the Lord in 1980.

ElizaCupEliza (Beneth Jones)

The Stafford house is one of those homes where circuit-riding preacher Robert Sheffey often stops on his travels. Eliza Stafford has a heart for reaching people for Christ and loves the campground revival meetings they attend every year. After several years of knowing the family, Robert Sheffey proposes to Eliza. She accepts and helps him faithfully in his ministry for many years.

Wife of Dr. Bob Jones III, Mrs. Jones is also an accomplished actress and has held key roles for both Unusual Films and the BJU Classic Players. Her film roles include la Contessa de Nuera in Flame in the Wind, and Eliza Sheffey in Sheffey, and Mrs. Brewster in Milltown Pride. On stage, she has appeared as Rosalind (As You Like It), Gertrude (Hamlet) and Lady Macbeth (Macbeth). She frequently travels with Dr. Jones on his speaking tours, and is herself a noted women’s speaker and author of several books including Sunshine on the Soap-Suds and Mount Up With Wounded Wings.

BerthaCupBertha Kincannon (Elizabeth Edwards)

A kind, motherly woman who rents a room to a young teacher named Robert Sheffey, Mrs. Kincannon encourages the young man in his decision to start preaching and helps him prepare for the rigorous weeks of circuit-riding.

Long-time member of the Speech faculty at Bob Jones University, Mrs. Edwards played many roles for both stage and film. She appeared in Unusual Film’s first production, Light of the World, as Mary Gaston Jones. She portrayed the faithful Delores in Flame in the Wind, and the motherly Mrs. Kincannon in Sheffey. Her many stage roles include Portia from The Merchant of Venice, Gertrude from Hamlet, and Lady Macbeth. Mrs. Edwards continued to be active in the lives of Speech students until her death in 2004.

AuntCupAunt Elizabeth (Laura Pratt)

A stern and particular woman, she has done her best to raise her nephew Robert as properly as her own children. It’s bad enough that Robert is a troublemaker, but when he proudly announces he’s been saved at a revival meeting, Aunt Elizabeth has had enough. After all, what is wrong with their church that he has to go  and associate with low-class penitents? Robert needs to behave properly or leave!

Starting in the Bob Jones University’s vespers programs, Mrs. Pratt was first featured in the Unusual Films production Heavenly Harmonies. She went on to act in the productions Red Runs the River (Lizinka Brown Ewell) and Sheffey (Aunt Elizabeth).  An accomplished stage actress, she played many parts in vespers and BJU Classic Players, including Amelia from Othello, and Katherine from Taming of the Shrew. Widow of former BJU faculty member and Unusual Films actor Robert Pratt, Laura is retired from teaching at Bob Jones University and still lives on the campus.

PrattCupTyler Frazier (Robert Pratt)

After their first meeting at the still of an irate moonshiner that Frazier was attempting to witness to, Tyler Frazier and Robert Sheffey become lifelong friends. Both circuit-riding preachers, they often travel together, speak at the same meetings, and help establish the revival meeting campground.

A teacher in the Speech Department and Radio & Television program at Bob Jones University, Mr. Pratt went on to become Chairman of the Division of Speech. From the film roles of Jonathan (Wine of Morning), the Penitent (Flame in the Wind), and Tyler Frazier (Sheffey) to the stage roles Julius Caesar, Iago, and Polonius, Mr. Pratt had a dynamic and varied acting career. He went to be with the Lord in 1998.

RuppCupJames Stafford (Richard Rupp)

The first time he meets Robert Sheffey, this hospitable man waits for an hour for Sheffey to finish praying so he can invite him to dinner. The Stafford house becomes a frequent stopping place of the preacher’s, where he can rest in the warm fellowship and good cooking after weeks of riding through the Appalachian wilderness.

First seen in Dr. Bob Jones Sr.’s dramatic vignette film Calvary, Dr. Rupp appeared in a variety of film roles: Inquisitor Mendez in Flame in the Wind, James Stafford in Sheffey, and the Russian pastor Aleksandr in The Printing. Dr. Rupp served as Director of Ministerial Training at BJU, a post he held from 1977 to 1991, and later served as Missions Counselor for Gospel Fellowship Association. Dr. Rupp went to be with the Lord in 2012.