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Colbert as Maverick
June 26, 1931 |
Long Beach, California, USA
|Spouse(s)||Dottie Harmony (1961-1976) (divorced)|
Robert Colbert (born July 26, 1931 in Long Beach, California) is an American actor most noted for his leading role portraying Dr. Doug Phillips on the ABC television series, The Time Tunnel, and his two appearances as Brent Maverick, a third Maverick brother in the ABC/Warner Brothers western, Maverick.
Colbert began acting when he was a soldier based on the Pacific island of Okinawa. He was a clerk typist with a Military Police unit and also worked as a disc jockey for Radio Free Asia in the evenings. A woman in Air Force Special Services heard his voice and recruited him to act in a performance of The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial. Hooked on acting, Colbert returned to the United States and performed on stage, where he was noticed by Mickey Shaughnessy who recommended him to a talent agency.
Colbert appeared in a number of minor films, including Have Rocket, Will Travel starring the Three Stooges and was signed to a contract with Warner Brothers and subsequently cast in the feature film A Fever in the Blood (1961) along with many guest appearances on television series.
In 1960, he appeared in three episodes of the ABC/WB western, Colt .45, including the episode "Showdown at Goldtown", with Donald May in the lead series role as Sam Colt, Jr. Colbert plays Johnny Moore, a young ex-convict whose parole officer is Sam Colt. Moore drives a stagecoach in a mining town. The outlaw Clay Hooper, portrayed by Harry Shannon, pressures Moore, his old partner in crime, to help him rob a gold shipment. Ruta Lee is cast in this episode as Molly Perkins, and Dan Sheridan plays the part of Driscoll. Colbert also appeared as Bill Mannix with Vaughn Taylor as Dr. Bryan Craig in another 1960 Colt .45 episode, entitled "Strange Encounter."
On October 28, 1960, Colbert was cast as Army Corporal Howie Burch in the episode "Two Trails to Santa Fe" of the ABC/WB western series Cheyenne, with Clint Walker in the title role. In the story line, Burch tries to steal gold from miners working a claim near the fort where he is stationed. He is also trying to win back the affection of his former wife (Randy Stuart), whose unsuspecting husband (Richard Webb) is one of the miners. Then the Army decides to abandon the fort. Cheyenne Bodie, meanwhile, comes to the defense of an Apache woman, Aleeah (Sonya Wilde), left for dead after the masaacre of her white husband.
In 1961, Colbert was forced by Warner Brothers to dress exactly as lookalike James Garner had done in Garner's earlier role of Bret Maverick to play a character called "Brent Maverick." Thinking of the inevitable comparisons to Garner that were bound to ensue, Colbert famously said to his bosses, "Put me in a dress and call me Brenda, but don't do this to me!" Colbert played the part in two episodes and was not called back for the following season since the studio decided to alternate new episodes featuring only Bret and Brent's brother "Bart Maverick" (Jack Kelly) with reruns starring the popular Garner during the series' fifth and final season.
In 1962, Colbert played Lonzo Green in the episode "Footlights" of the ABC/WB crime drama, The Roaring 20s. Moreover, he guest starred on most of the ABC/WB series, including 77 Sunset Strip and Hawaiian Eye (seven times each), Bronco (six times), Bourbon Street Beat (three times), Sugarfoot, The Alaskans, and Surfside 6 (twice each), and Cheyenne and Lawman, once each.
In 1965 Colbert made two guest appearances on Perry Mason as Deputy District Attorney Snell; first in "The Case of the Grinning Gorilla," then in "The Case of the Hasty Honeymooner."
Colbert also appeared as the character Stuart Brooks, (original cast member), on the television soap opera, The Young and the Restless, from 1973 to 1983. His character Stuart Brooks died off-screen sometime before his wife Liz Foster returned to town in 1984. Stuart's young son-in-law, Snapper Foster, was played by a then unknown David Hasselhoff.
In 1981, Colbert and Robert Culp were suggested by CBS as possible replacements for Larry Hagman on Dallas after Hagman decided to hold out for more money (as his friend Carroll O'Connor had successfully done in 1974) but Hagman returned to the series.
Colbert was married to dancer/songwriter Dotty Harmony in 1961 for 15 years. Harmony wrote for Metric Music with Sharon Sheeley and had songs recorded by Rick Nelson. They have two children, Cami and Clay. Cami is married to filmmaker Jon Freeman (Flesh Wound Films) who produces the highly successful "Crusty Demon" series of DVDs.
Today Robert Colbert is 'retired' though he still makes occasional cameo appearances, takes part in science fiction conventions all across America, and enjoys celebrity golf tournaments for fundraising events.