Robert Z'Dar

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Robert Z'Dar
Born (1950-06-03)June 3, 1950
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died March 30, 2015(2015-03-30) (aged 64)
Pensacola, Florida, U.S.
Cause of death
Cardiac Arrest
Other names Robert Darcy, Robert West, Bobby Z'Dar, Bobby Z'dar, Robert Zdar
Occupation Actor, film producer
Years active 1976–2015

Robert J. Zdarsky (June 3, 1950 – March 30, 2015), better known as Robert Z'Dar, was an American actor and film producer, perhaps best known for his role as Matt Cordell in the cult horror film Maniac Cop and its two sequels.

Z'Dar worked mainly in low-budget B-movies and direct-to-video features, but occasionally in mainstream Hollywood films and television. Due to his cherubism, a medical condition resulting in an enlarged jawline, Z'dar had a unique and easily recognizable look with a slightly sinister appearance, which aided his career as he usually portrayed villains.

Early life[edit]

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Z'Dar was of Lithuanian descent. He first started acting while attending Proviso West High School in Hillside, Illinois. After high school, Z'Dar attended Arizona State University where he received a BFA. After graduation, Z'Dar returned to Chicago, for a time, where he was employed as a police officer.

Acting career[edit]

Eventually Z'Dar made his move to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting. In 1984, Z'Dar appeared in his first feature film, Joe Tornatore's Code Name Zebra, a film about a band of ex-soldiers forming an international anti-crime unit.

Z'Dar has appeared in at least one film a year, including: The Night Stalker (1987), The Killing Game (1988), and Dead End City (1988) and Marching out of Time (1993) directed by Anton Vassil. Z'Dar's name became recognizable when he played Matt Cordell in 1988's Maniac Cop, a film about a maniac in an NYPD cop uniform who brutally murders people.[1] Z'Dar reprised his role in the sequel and Badge of Silence.[2]

It was perhaps Z'Dar's performance in Maniac Cop that landed him the role of "Face" in 1989's Tango & Cash alongside action stars Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell.[3] In 1991, he shared the screen with F. Murray Abraham, Christian Slater, and Lara Flynn Boyle in Mobsters.

As of 2012, Robert Z'Dar has appeared in more than 60 films, with at least one appearance per year in 27 of the last 29 years (missing only 1986 and 2001). He continued making at least one film every year despite a serious back injury he suffered in 2002 on a movie set. As of January 2006 he has acted in seventy-six films, produced three films, and also appeared on television. Two of Z'Dar's films, Soultaker and Future War appeared in season 10 of Mystery Science Theater 3000.


  1. ^ Hardy, Phil; Institute, British Film (1997). The BFI companion to crime. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-304-33215-1. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ Newman, Kim (May 10, 2011). Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 385. ISBN 978-1-4088-0503-9. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ Lindenmuth, Kevin J. (January 2002). The independent film experience: interviews with directors and producers. McFarland. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-7864-1075-0. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 

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