Charles Rocket

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Charles Rocket
Charles Adams Claverie

(1949-08-28)August 28, 1949
DiedOctober 7, 2005(2005-10-07) (aged 56)
Other namesCharlie Hamburger
Charlie Kennedy
Alma materRhode Island School of Design
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • musician
  • reporter
Years active1980–2005
Beth Crellin
(m. 1972)

Charles Adams Claverie (August 28, 1949 – October 7, 2005), known by stage names Charlie Hamburger, Charlie Kennedy and Charles Rocket, was an American actor, comedian, musician, and television news reporter. He was a cast member on Saturday Night Live, played the villain Nicholas Andre in the film Dumb and Dumber, and played Dave Dennison in Disney's Hocus Pocus.

Early life[edit]

Rocket was born in Bangor, Maine, the son of Mary Aurelia (née Fogler) and Sumner Abbott "Ham" Claverie.[1][2] He attended Winnacunnet High School[3] and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the late 1960s and was part of the Rhode Island underground culture scene in the 1970s that also included Talking Heads frontman David Byrne and film director Gus Van Sant.[4]


Rocket made several short films and fronted his band, the Fabulous Motels, on accordion (which he later used in an SNL sketch about a crazed criminal who uses an accordion to kill his dates and is killed himself by a bagpipe band). He was then a news anchor at WPRI-TV in Providence, Rhode Island and KOAA-TV in Pueblo, Colorado under his own name, and WTVF Nashville under the name Charles Kennedy. He made his network debut on Saturday Night Live in 1980 as Charles Rocket.[citation needed]

Saturday Night Live[edit]

Rocket was cast for the 1980–81 season, which followed the departure of the remaining members of the show's original cast and executive producer Lorne Michaels.[5] Singled out by new executive producer Jean Doumanian, he was promoted as a cross between Bill Murray and Chevy Chase.[6] Rocket was tapped to anchor Weekend Update, and was featured in more sketches than any other male cast member that season, with the exception of Joe Piscopo.

Rocket portrayed recurring character Phil Lively, a game show host who took his larger-than-life persona home and treated life as if it were a game show. His celebrity impersonations on SNL included Ronald Reagan, David Rockefeller, Prince Charles, and Marlin Perkins. He also hosted "The Rocket Report", a series of filmed segments where he posed as a roving reporter around New York; in later years, reviewers considered them one of the few consistently strong parts of Doumanian's shows.[7]


The Saturday Night Live episode of February 21, 1981, hosted by Dallas star Charlene Tilton, featured a parody of the famed "Who shot J.R.?" story arc from the popular nighttime soap. During the show a plot line had Rocket and Tilton flirting while other cast members expressed jealousy, leading to Rocket being shot in the chest by a sniper in the middle of a sketch. In the show's closing moments, as cast members gathered with the host to say good night, Tilton asked Rocket how he felt about being shot. In character, Rocket replied "Oh man, it's the first time I've ever been shot in my life. I'd like to know who fuckin' did it."[8]

Due partially to the violation of broadcast standards (though FCC rules weren't violated as it was uttered past safe harbor), along with negative press regarding the new cast and declining ratings for both the series and the network in general, NBC replaced Doumanian with Dick Ebersol after one further episode. Ebersol, who placed the show on hiatus for a month to retool, dismissed Rocket, along with several of the writers and fellow cast members Gilbert Gottfried and Ann Risley, before the next episode. A writers' strike led to the suspension of the rest of the season, and when the show returned in October 1981, Joe Piscopo and Eddie Murphy were the only cast members who were held over from Doumanian's era. Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live revealed that Rocket was particularly hostile toward Murphy and Piscopo, as he believed the two isolated themselves from the rest of the cast.[9]

Post-SNL career[edit]

Rocket recovered from this early-career setback and worked steadily in film, with roles in such films as Hocus Pocus, Earth Girls Are Easy, It's Pat, Steal Big Steal Little, How I Got into College, Dances with Wolves and Dumb and Dumber, often playing comic foils.

On television, in addition to guest spots on several 1980s sitcoms, he played antagonist network president Ned Grossberg on the cyberpunk series Max Headroom, Richard Addison (brother to Bruce Willis's David Addison) on the comedy-drama Moonlighting, and Adam, an angel of death, on Touched by an Angel.[10] He later guest starred in other series including Wings as Danny, a long time friend to Brian Hackett (Steven Weber), 3rd Rock From The Sun as Grant, a physics professor, and The King of Queens as Steve Moscow, a Russian contractor who is hired to remove mold from Doug and Carrie Heffernan's house.

In addition to his acting work, Rocket played accordion on the David Byrne-produced B-52's album Mesopotamia on the track "Loveland",[11] and the album Amarcord Nino Rota on the track "La Dolce Vita Suite", produced by Saturday Night Live music coordinator Hal Willner.[12]

He also provided the voice of Leo Lionheart Jr. in the "MGM Sing-Alongs" videos in 1996.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Rocket married his college girlfriend, Beth Crellin, on board the battleship USS Massachusetts anchored in Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1972.[14] Their son, Zane, was born in 1976.[15][16]


Rocket was found dead in a field on his Connecticut property on October 7, 2005, with his throat slit. He was 56 years old. Ten days later, the state medical examiner ruled the death as suicide. The police investigation determined that there was no criminal aspect to the case.[17]



Year Title Role Notes
1984 The Outlaws Stanley Flynn
1985 Fraternity Vacation 'Madman' Mac
1986 Miracles Michael
1987 Down Twisted Reno
1988 Earth Girls Are Easy Ted Gallagher
1989 How I Got into College Leo Whitman
1989 Honeymoon Academy DeBains
1990 Dances with Wolves Lieutenant Elgin
1991 Delirious Ty Hedison
1993 Brainsmasher... A Love Story Detective Jones
1993 Hocus Pocus Dave
1993 Short Cuts Wally Littleton
1994 It's Pat Kyle Jacobsen
1994 Wagons East General Larchmont
1994 Dumb and Dumber Nicholas Andre
1995 Steal Big Steal Little Sheriff Otis
1995 Charlie's Ghost Story Van Leer
1995 Tom and Huck Judge Thatcher
1997 Murder at 1600 Jeffrey
1997 Fathers' Day Russ Trainor
1997 The Killing Grounds Mel Desordo
1998 Dry Martini Sam
1999 Carlo's Wake Derek Donovan
2000 Titan A.E. Firrikash / Slave Trader Guard (voice) [18]
2000 Tex, the Passive-Aggressive Gunslinger Bart
2002 New Suit Del Strontium
2002 Bleach Reverend Jim Short film
2003 Shade Tony D
2004 Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light Narrator (voice)
2008 Fly Me to the Moon Mission Control 1961 (voice) Posthumous release[18]


Year Title Role Notes
1980–1981 Saturday Night Live Various characters
1984 Hawaiian Heat Donald Episode: "Picture Imperfect"
1985 Steel Collar Man D5B Television film
1985 Remington Steele Peter Gillespie Episode: "Have I Got a Steele For You"
1985 California Girls Barry Television film
1985 Hardcastle and McCormick Bill Bauer Episode: "The Yankee Clipper"
1985–1989 Moonlighting Richard Addison 6 episodes
1986 Miami Vice Marty Worhington Episode: "Florence Italy"
1987–1988 Max Headroom Grossberg 4 episodes
1988–1989 Murphy's Law Victor Beaudine 5 episodes
1990 Thirtysomething Ron DeLisle Episode: "Going Limp"
1990 Doctor Doctor Charles Episode: "The Terminator"
1990 Murder, She Wrote Lieutenant Stuyvesant Episode: "The Family Jewels"
1990–1992 Quantum Leap Dirk Riker, Michael Blake 2 episodes
1991 Parker Lewis Can't Lose Sergeant Jake Melman Episode: "Randall Without a Cause"
1992 Tequila and Bonetti Captain Midian Knight 11 episodes
1993 Flying Blind Dennis Lake 5 episodes
1993 Wild Palms Stitch Miniseries, 3 episodes
1994 Wings Danny Episode: "Call of the Wild"
1994 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Ryan Wiley Episode: "Operation Blackout"
1994–2003 Touched by an Angel Adam 10 episodes
1995–1996 The Home Court Judge Gil Fitzpatrick 20 episodes
1996 The Adventures of Hyperman Oil Monster (voice) Episode: "Oceans a Leavin'"[18]
1996 Picket Fences Chuck Dante Episode: "Dante's Inferno"
1996 The Pretender Carl Bishop Episode: "To Serve and Protect"
1997 Grace Under Fire Davis Episode: "Riverboat Queen"
1997–1998 The New Batman Adventures Guru, Frederick Fournier, Security Guard (voice) 3 episodes[18]
1998 Jenny Grant Episode: "A Girl's Gotta Protect Her Assets"
1998 Cybill Charlie Addison 2 episodes
1999 Tracey Takes On... Chopper Tim Episode: "Road Rage"
1999 Superman: The Animated Series Used Car Salesman (voice) Episode: "Superman's Pal"[18]
1999 Star Trek: Voyager Jippeq Episode: "The Disease"
1999 The X-Files Grant Ellis Episode: "Three of a Kind"
1999 Batman Beyond Don Grasso (voice) Episode: "Hooked Up"[18]
2000 Normal, Ohio Danny 7 episodes
2001 3rd Rock from the Sun Gary Hennings Episode: "A Dick Replacement"
2001 The Zeta Project Edwards (voice) Episode: "Change of Heart"[18]
2002 Greg the Bunny Don Dinkins Episode: "Father and Son Reunion"
2003 Static Shock Crewcut (voice) Episode: "Shebang"[18]
2003 The King of Queens Steve Episode: "Steve Moscow"
2004 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Donny DePalma Episode: "Pas de Deux"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2001 Star Wars: Starfighter Nym
2002 Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter Nym [18]
2002 Age of Mythology Ajax

Music videos[edit]


  1. ^ Morse, Susan (February 1, 2011). "Charlie (Claverie) Rocket was a local boy, WHS grad". Hampton Union. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  2. ^ "Mary Aurelia Fogler". Archived from the original on February 17, 2015. Retrieved 2015-02-17.
  3. ^ Sargent, Colin W. (Summer 2012). "The Long Weekend Update" (PDF). Portland Monthly Magazine. Retrieved May 8, 2023.
  4. ^ "RIP, Charles Rocket Remembering a giant of the Providence underground". The Providence Phoenix. October 14, 2005. Archived from the original on September 22, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  5. ^ Gus Wezerek (December 14, 2019). "The 'S.N.L.' Stars Who Lasted, and the Ones Who Flamed Out". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 14, 2019. Retrieved December 16, 2019. Some of the names here will be familiar only to die-hard fans; others, like Murphy, defined what was funny for generations of viewers.
  6. ^ Hill & Weingrad 2011, p. 390.
  7. ^ Hill, Doug; Weingrad, Jeff (December 15, 2011). Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live. Untreed Books. p. 423. ISBN 9781611872187.
  8. ^ Hill & Weingrad 2011, p. 215.
  9. ^ Hill & Weingrad 2011, p. 214.
  10. ^ "Charles Rocket: Filmography". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved April 22, 2007.
  11. ^ Mesopotamia (Media notes). The B-52s. Reprise/WEA. 1990. B000002LN6.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  12. ^ "Amarcord Nino Rota". Discogs. September 5, 1981.
  13. ^ "Results for 'se:"MGM sing-alongs"' []".
  14. ^ Rein, Richard K. (March 23, 1981). "Charlie Rocket Blasts Off Amid the Turmoil of the 'Saturday Night Live' Massacres". People. Vol. 15, no. 11.
  15. ^ Starr, Michael (October 20, 2005). "Charles Rocket, 56, TV and Movie Actor, Dies". The New York Times. Reuters. Retrieved July 21, 2007.
  16. ^ Starr, Michael (October 18, 2005). "R.I.P Charles Rocket - Tragic End For SNL Comic 25 Years After F-Bomb". New York Post.
  17. ^ "Charles Rocket's death ruled a suicide". North County Times. October 18, 2005. Archived from the original on October 22, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Charles Rocket (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved January 5, 2024. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.


  • Hill, Doug and Weingrad, Jeff (1986). Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live. New York, Beech Tree Books/William Morrow. ISBN 0-688-05099-9.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by Weekend Update anchor
with Gail Matthius 1981

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