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Chuck Wagner (born June 20, 1958) is an American actor, director, musical theater historian, and teacher. He has had an extensive and award-winning career in theater, and is perhaps best-known to the general public for co-starring in the short-lived science fiction TV series Automan (1983–84).
Education and early career
Wagner was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and raised in Hartsville, Tennessee. He attended public school in Gallatin. While at Gallatin High School, he performed the leads in "My Fair Lady", "Carousel", and "Inherit the Wind" under GHS' drama teacher Juliet Doyle Guthrie. As a BFA student, he attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa under Edmond Williams and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles under John Houseman. His collegiate summers were spent in Manteo, North Carolina where he played John Borden in The Lost Colony, America's longest running outdoor drama.
He is best known internationally for his role in the short-lived science fiction 1983 TV series Automan as the title character. He also starred on the soap opera General Hospital as Randall Thompson in 1981 and 1982. Chuck has made guest appearances on numerous TV shows, including The Dukes of Hazzard, Dynasty, Matlock, As the World Turns, and the Late Show with David Letterman. In 1981, Wagner was a contestant on the television game show "Password Plus". Most recently, he was also a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
Chuck Wagner is enjoying a long and notable career in musical theater with starring roles in several Broadway productions. His first role on Broadway was in The Three Musketeers with Brent Spiner. He went on to originate the role of Rapunzel's Prince in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods (1987). The recording of that show, on which Wagner appears, won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. Wagner has also appeared on Broadway and in the U.S. national tour of Les Misérables as Inspector Javert. In 1994, he began a four-year stint as "The Beast", in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, in both the Broadway and Toronto Productions. Wagner originated the title roles in Frank Wildhorn's Jekyll & Hyde in 1990 and Svengali in 1991 at The Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas. He reprised his dual roles in Jekyll & Hyde in the post Broadway national tour in 1999. He then toured the U.S. in the Cole Porter classic Kiss Me, Kate as the MacArthuresque General Harrison Howell and understudy to Rex Smith's Fred Graham. He most recently appeared on Broadway in 2004, in Wildhorn's Dracula, The Musical, standing by for Dracula, Van Helsing, and Quincey Morris.
Wagner also sang the role of Sir Percival Blakeney, aka The Scarlet Pimpernel, in the original concept recording of The Scarlet Pimpernel (1992). In 1999, he released a self-titled solo CD, on which he sang songs from the various musicals in which he has appeared. He has appeared in commercials for Zyban, and toured as the Ringmaster in both the 136th edition of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Circus of Dreams (2006 through 2007), and the 138th edition Over The Top (2008 through 2009).
In 2010, while at home in Pensacola Beach, Florida, he joined the response to the BP oil spill helping to coordinate a large scale mechanical beach operation while safeguarding the local sea turtles.
An avid Musical Theatre Historian, Wagner served as Visiting Artist in Residence at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. He performs concerts and teaches Masterclass in High Schools and Colleges throughout the United States.
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- Into the Woods (1991) (TV)
- The Sisterhood (1988)
- General Hospital (1981–82)
- America 3000 (1986)
- Automan (1983)
- Handler, David (January 19, 1984). "Your eyes just won't believe 'Automan'". The Madison Courier. p. B8. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
- "Erich Bergen, Joyce Chittick, Alex Finke Join Cast of ANYTHING GOES Tour" broadwayworld.com, August 7, 2012. Accessed August 7, 2012.
- Chuck Wagner website
- Chuck Wagner at the Internet Movie Database
- Chuck Wagner at the Internet Broadway Database