Andrew Robinson (actor)

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Andrew Robinson
Andrew Robinson Photo Op GalaxyCon Raleigh 2022.jpg
Robinson at GalaxyCon Raleigh in 2022
Andrew Jordt Robinson

(1942-02-14) February 14, 1942 (age 80)
Other namesAndy Robinson
Years active1969–present
Irene Robinson
(m. 1970)

Andrew Jordt Robinson (born February 14, 1942) is an American character actor and the former director of the Master of Fine Arts acting program at the University of Southern California.[1] Originally a stage actor, he works predominantly in supporting roles on television and in low-budget films. He is known for his portrayals of the serial killer Scorpio in the crime film Dirty Harry (1971), Larry Cotton in the horror film Hellraiser (1987), and Elim Garak in the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999). He and his wife Irene have a daughter, actress Rachel Robinson, who appeared in Deep Space Nine episode "The Visitor".

Early life[edit]

Robinson was born in New York City.[2] His middle name, Jordt, was given to him to honor his grandfather, though he did not begin using it in his professional credits until the 1996 Deep Space Nine episode, "Body Parts".[3] His father was a soldier in World War II and was killed when Robinson was three years old. After his father's death, he and his mother moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where he was raised with her family. In his later childhood, Robinson became a juvenile delinquent and was eventually sent to St. Andrew's School, a boarding school in Rhode Island.[2]

After graduating from high school, Robinson attended the University of New Hampshire. After he picketed the school's ROTC program his degree was withheld by the university, so he transferred to The New School for Social Research in New York City and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He originally intended to become a journalist but went into acting after earning a Fulbright Scholarship. After graduating, he went to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art on the scholarship.[4]

Robinson began acting in high school and college theatre. While attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), he studied Shakespeare and voice training.[citation needed]


Robinson's first professional roles were as a stage actor and playwright in New York. His first role in New York was in the play MacBird!. He went on to appear in productions in North America and Europe, including Woyzeck, Futz, Werner Liepolt's "The Young Master Dante" and The Cannibals.[2] In 1969, he had his first television role with a guest part on N.Y.P.D. at the age of 26.[citation needed] In 1971, he began acting in feature films.

Dirty Harry[edit]

Robinson's first feature film role was in 1971's Dirty Harry. Don Siegel, the film's director, and Clint Eastwood picked Robinson for the role after seeing him in a production of Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Idiot.[5] Robinson was cast as the Scorpio Killer, the antagonist of the film. The Scorpio Killer was largely based on the contemporary real life Zodiac Killer, and Robinson integrated many known aspects of that serial killer's personality into his acting, such as a disturbed sense of humour and a sadistic inclination to taunt his pursuers. In the film, his character murders a young woman, a 10-year old boy, a teenage girl and a police officer and takes a school bus full of young children hostage. His portrayal was so convincing that he received death threats after the film's release. Director Don Siegel noted that he cast Robinson because he had the face of "a choir boy."[5]

Critical reactions to Robinson were generally positive. Box Office Magazine wrote: "Andy Robinson is the maniacal Scorpio ... a good blending of cunning and savagery."[6] His role as Scorpio gave him widespread exposure, but Robinson also found himself typecast as "psycho" characters. He claimed the role severely limited his casting options, as film producers were reluctant to cast him in any "good guy" roles.[7] Some of his notable "psycho" roles include a demented and ill-fated military barber in Child's Play 3 (1991) and the character Frank Cotton (in the skin of Larry Cotton, Robinson's actual character) in the horror film Hellraiser (1987), in which Robinson had his first lead role in a feature film.

Film and television, 1971–1992[edit]

Robinson starred in Charley Varrick, a 1973 film that starred Walter Matthau and was directed by Don Siegel. Robinson played Frank Ryan on the soap opera Ryan's Hope from 1976–78, for which he received a Daytime Emmy nomination. Robinson has had many one-time and recurring roles on a wide variety of television shows, in including the miniseries Once an Eagle. His filmography includes guest roles on Bonanza, Marcus Welby, M.D., Kung Fu, Ironside, The Rookies, S.W.A.T., The Streets of San Francisco, Kojak, The Incredible Hulk, CHiPs, Mrs. Columbo, Barnaby Jones, Vega$, Falcon Crest, The Greatest American Hero, The Dukes of Hazzard, Hart to Hart, The A-Team, Matt Houston, Moonlighting, L.A. Law, Matlock, Law & Order, Walker, Texas Ranger, Murder, She Wrote, The X-Files, The Practice, and Without a Trace.

He met his wife Irene after wrapping a production of Springvoices and the two married in 1970. He has two stepsons from his wife's previous marriage and one daughter named Rachel, who became an actress as well.[8]

In 1975 he co-starred as the sleazy, ill-fated chauffeur in the detective drama The Drowning Pool, starring Paul Newman.

In 1978 Robinson left acting professionally for five years and concentrated on raising his family in the small mountain community of Idyllwild, California, located about 150 miles (240 km) from Los Angeles. During that time he taught community theatre for middle and high school students and also worked as a carpenter to bring in a regular salary. He returned to acting professionally in the mid-1980s.[2]

In 1986, he played President John F. Kennedy in an episode of the 1980s revival of The Twilight Zone, "Profile in Silver". In 1988 he portrayed Liberace in a television biopic. Robinson had described it as one of his favorite roles and that "The most fun was wearing his furs and jewelry and singing 'I'll be Seeing You.'"[9] The New York Times reviewer noted that "Robinson does rather well in the leading role."[10] He returned to the stage in 1993 with a Broadway production of Frank Gilroy's Any Given Day, but the play closed after only six weeks.[citation needed]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine[edit]

In 1993, Robinson was cast in his first regular television role since Ryan's Hope in 1978. He played Elim Garak on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a Cardassian tailor, and a former operative of the Obsidian Order. The character was intended to be an enigmatic darkly comedic foil for the character of Julian Bashir (played by Alexander Siddig), and the two were often paired together onscreen. Prior to being cast in the role, Robinson knew little of the Star Trek franchise and had never seen an episode of any of the television series.[11]

Robinson was offered the role of Garak after he originally auditioned for the role of Odo, which eventually went to René Auberjonois. He almost did not accept the role but was pressured into accepting for financial reasons.[12]

Other works[edit]

After working on Deep Space Nine for several years, Robinson began a career in television directing after directing the 1996 episode "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places." He went on to direct two episodes of Star Trek: Voyager and seven episodes of the courtroom drama Judging Amy, in which his real-life daughter, Rachel Robinson, was appearing.

In 2000, he wrote the novel A Stitch in Time, based on his character on Deep Space Nine. Robinson has stated that one of the reasons he wrote the novel was to get "total closure" of the character.[12] He starred opposite DS9 costar Michael Dorn on an episode of Martial Law.

In 1993, Robinson was a founding member of The Matrix Theatre Company in Los Angeles, California.[13][14]



Year Film Role Notes
1971 Dirty Harry The Scorpio Killer (as Andy Robinson)
1973 Charley Varrick Harman Sullivan
1975 The Drowning Pool Pat Reavis
A Woman for All Men Steve McCoy
Mackintosh and T.J. Coley
1985 Mask Dr. Vinton
1986 Cobra Detective Monte
1987 Hellraiser Larry Cotton / Frank Cotton
The Verne Miller Story Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd
1988 Shoot to Kill Harvey
1990 Fatal Charm Sheriff Harry Childs
1991 Child's Play 3 Sergeant Botnick
Prime Target Commissioner
1992 Trancers III Colonel Daddy Muthuh
1994 Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings Sheriff Sean Braddock
There Goes My Baby Frank
The Puppet Masters Hawthorne
1998 Running Woman Captain Don Gibbs
Archibald the Rainbow Painter The Super Super
2003 The Making of Daniel Boone Timothy Flint
2004 Homeland Security Senator
2005 A Question of Loyalty Dr. Albert Krentz Shorty


Year Show Role Notes
1972 Bonanza John Harper Season 14 Episode 1: "Forever" (as Andy Robinson)
1972 The Rookies Lee Borden Season 1 Episode 10: "To Taste of Terror" (as Andy Robinson)
1974 Marcus Welby, M.D. Chris Bakewell Season 5 Episode 17: "Each Day a Miracle"
1974 Ironside David Cutter Season 7 Episode 21: "Come Eleven, Come Twelve"
1974 Kung Fu Johnny Walker Season 2 Episode 18: "Crossties"
1974 The Family Kovack Butch Kovack TV movie
1975 Kojak Leon Season 2 Episode 24: "I Want To Report A Dream"
1975 The Streets of San Francisco Archie Kimbro Season 4 Episode 13: "Spooks For Sale"
1976 S.W.A.T. Edward Stillman Season 2 Episode 22: "Any Second Now"
1976 Once an Eagle Reb Rayburne TV miniseries
1976–1978 Ryan's Hope Frank Ryan #2 Daytime Emmy nomination
1976–1980 Barnaby Jones Various Characters Recurring
1977 The Streets of San Francisco Ron Maguire Season 5 Episode 13: "The Cannibals"
1978 The Incredible Hulk Dr. Stan Rhodes Season 1 Episode 10: "Life and Death"
1978 The Eddie Capra Mysteries Greg Chandler Season 1 Episode 4: "Murder on the Flip Side"
1979 From Here to Eternity Sergeant Maylon Stark TV miniseries
1979 Chips Bill Clayton Season 3 Episode 8: "Hot Wheels"
1980 Vega$ Derek Razzio Recurring
1980 The Dukes of Hazzard Billy Joe Billings
1980-1983 Hart to Hart Mike Season 2 Episode 3 & Season 4 Episode 12
1983 The A-Team Jackson Season 1 Episode 13: "The Beast from the Belly of a Boeing"
1983 The A-Team Deputy Rance Season 2 Episode 12: "The White Ballot"
1985 Not My Kid Dr. Royce TV movie
1985 The Atlanta Child Murders Jack Mallard Television miniseries
1986 The New Twilight Zone John F. Kennedy Episode #20-1 "Profile in Silver"
1987 The New Twilight Zone Mr. Williams Episode #33-3 "Private Channel"
1988 Liberace Liberace Made-for-television film
1989 Moonlighting (TV series) Leslie Hunziger Season 5 Episode 4 "Plastic Fantastic Lovers"
1990 Matlock Stanley Hayden "The Broker"
1991 Rock Hudson Henry Willson Made-for-television film
1991 Matlock Frank Hayes Season 6 Episode 9 "The Defense"
1992 Law & Order Phillip Mariietta Season 3 Episode 10 "Consultation"
1993 Murder, She Wrote Ambrosse Season 10 Episode 205 "A Killing in Cork"
1993 Walker, Texas Ranger Congressman Leo Cabe Season 1 Episode 3 "A Shadow in the Night"
1993–1999 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Garak 37 episodes
1994 M.A.N.T.I.S. Solomon Box Recurring
1994 Wings Michael Foster Season 7, Episode 4 "The Person Formerly Known as Lowell Mather"
1994 Murder, She Wrote James Harris Season 11 Episode 230 "An Egg to Die For"
1999, 2004 JAG Admiral Thomas Kly Recurring
1997–1998 Star Trek: Voyager - Directed two episodes
1999 The X-Files Dr. Ian Detweiler Season 6, Episode 16 "Alpha"
1999–2005 Judging Amy Daniel McGill Directed seven episodes
2002 Presidio Med Jesse Recurring
2004 Without a Trace Carl Monroe Season 3, Episode 4 "Upstairs Downstairs"
2004 The Practice Edmond Solomon Season 8, Episode 19 "The Firm"
2016 The Metropolitan Opera HD Live Three Masks Episode: "Puccini: Turandot "
2021 Dota: Dragon's Blood Indrak Season 1 Episode 5 "The Fire Sermon"


  1. ^ Andrew J. Robinson, USC School of Theater, accessed February 18, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Reeves, Vicki (April 1999). "Biography of Andy Robinson". Archived from the original on 2004-02-14. Retrieved from Wayback Machine, July 29, 2008.
  3. ^ Erdmann, Terry J. and Block, Paula M. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. Pocket Books. 2000; p. 352
  4. ^ "Andrew J. Robinson biography". Archived from the original on 2006-05-28. Retrieved 2006-02-09.. University of Southern California faculty page. Retrieved February 8, 2006.
  5. ^ a b Dirty Harry DVD bonus featurette.
  6. ^ "Dirty Harry review". Archived from the original on 2000-06-03. Retrieved 2010-08-04.. Box Office Magazine. December 20, 1971. Retrieved February 8, 2006.
  7. ^ "First Person: Andrew Robinson". Archived from the original on 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2013-04-06..; retrieved February 8, 2006.
  8. ^ Andrew J. Robinson: Portrays Garak.; retrieved February 8, 2006.
  9. ^ "Andrew Robinson chat transcript". Archived from the original on 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2006-02-09.. May 30, 2002; retrieved February 8, 2006.
  10. ^ Review of Andy Robinson as Liberace, The New York Times; retrieved February 28, 2006.
  11. ^ "Andrew Robinson Interview". Archived from the original on 2006-04-04. Retrieved 2006-02-09.. SciFi Online; retrieved February 8, 2006.
  12. ^ a b Sastrowardoyo, Hartriono B. (2002-03-20). "Andrew J. Robinson (Garak, DS9)". closed). Archived from the original on 2004-09-19.
  13. ^ Arkatov, Janice (January 21, 1996). "THEATER : He Knows How to Handle Evil : Andrew J. Robinson has gone from 'Dirty Harry' villain to directing a revival of Pinter's mean-spirited 'The Homecoming.'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-10-28.
  14. ^ Buckley, Michael (July 8, 1996). "Double Casting Coups". TheaterWeek reprint at The Matrix Theatre Company. Retrieved 2015-10-28.

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