Dakin Matthews

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Dakin Matthews
Melvin Richard Matthews[1]

(1940-11-07) November 7, 1940 (age 81)
OccupationActor, director, scholar
Years active1965–present

Melvin Richard "Dakin" Matthews (born November 7, 1940) is an American actor, playwright, theatre director, and theatrical scholar. Best known as Herb Kelcher in My Two Dads (1987–1989), Hanlin Charleston in Gilmore Girls (2000–2007), and as Reverend Sikes in Desperate Housewives (2004–2012).

Early life[edit]

Melvin Richard Matthews was born in Oakland, California. He initially aspired to become a Roman Catholic priest,[2] studying in San Francisco and then at Gregorian University in Rome in the 1960s. However, his growing interest in drama led him to the Juilliard School, where he taught, among others, Kevin Kline and Patti LuPone.

He acted and taught at the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco where Annette Bening was one of his students.[citation needed] He also attended graduate school at New York University. He is an Emeritus Professor of English at California State University, East Bay in Hayward, California.


He began his stage career in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area, appearing in both the Marin and California Shakespeare Festivals, eventually becoming a member of the acting ensemble of the American Conservatory Theater. In the late 1980s, settling permanently in Los Angeles, Matthews began guest-starring in television series and appearing in films. He starred in series such as Down Home, Soul Man and, most successfully, The Jeff Foxworthy Show.

In 1989 he starred in the preshow for EPCOT Center's Body Wars attraction in The Wonders Of Life Pavilion. He also has made many guest appearances on television, including Remington Steele, Dallas, Murder She Wrote, L.A. Law, The Nanny, True Blood, Just Shoot Me!, Star Trek: Voyager, The West Wing, Gilmore Girls (as Headmaster Charleston), Ally McBeal, Coach, The Practice, Who's the Boss?, Charmed, Diagnosis Murder, The King of Queens (as Doug Heffernan's father Joe), NYPD Blue, Desperate Housewives (appearing in every Season except 5 as Reverend Sykes), House M.D. (appearing in 2004 in "Damned If You Do" the 5th episode of the 1st season playing the role of Marvin/Santa Claus), The Big Bang Theory as Santa (season 6 episode 11), Blue Bloods (as of 2016 appearing in "Help Me Help You" the 16th episode of the 6th season playing the role of Judge Wilson), Two and a Half Men, and Carnivàle.

Matthews has appeared in more than 25 feature films, including Nuts, Like Father Like Son, Clean and Sober, Thirteen Days, Funny Farm, True Grit (as Colonel Stonehill), Steven Spielberg's' Lincoln, Flubber, and Zero Charisma. He played the role of Col. Cochrane in Child's Play 3, where he was killed off via heart attack. He also appeared in a number of television movies, including And the Band Played On, Baby M, and White Mile.

As a stage actor, he is known for his many Shakespearean roles, especially King Lear, Bottom, and Falstaff, and most recently for his portrayals of C. S. Lewis in South Coast Repertory's Shadowlands, as "Warwick" in Shakespeare's Henry IV at the Lincoln Center Theater, as "Undershaft" in Major Barbara and "Tarleton" in Misalliance for South Coast Repertory, as "The Fixer" in Water and Power for the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, as "Leonato" in Shakespeare Center L.A.'s production of Much Ado About Nothing with Helen Hunt, as "Cardinal Wolsey" in A Man For All Seasons with Frank Langella at the Roundabout, and as "Senator Carlin" in Gore Vidal's The Best Man on Broadway.

In 2010, Matthews joined the cast of the ABC soap opera General Hospital as Judge Peter Carroll, the judge in Sonny Corinthos' trial.

He is also a playwright, director, and theater scholar who has published books and articles on Shakespeare and translations of 17th-century Spanish theater. He has been a dramaturg on numerous theatrical productions, including the 2005 Broadway revival of Julius Caesar starring Denzel Washington[3] and the 2003 revival of Henry IV,[4] winning a Drama Desk Award Special Award for his adaptation of the latter.

Matthews was also Artistic Director of the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival, the California Actors Theatre, The Antaeus Theatre Company[5] (which he co-founded in 1991),[2] and the Andak Stage Company; he is an Associate Artist of the Old Globe Theatre; and a founding member of the John Houseman's The Acting Company and Sam Mendes' Bridge Project.

Matthews appeared in the 2009 world tour of The Bridge Project as "Pishchick" in The Cherry Orchard and "Antigonus" in The Winter's Tale. In the 2011 summer season of The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park, he performed as "the Provost" in Measure for Measure[6] and "Lafew" in All's Well That Ends Well.[7] and as "Sir Humphrey" in the American premiere of Yes Prime Minister at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. He was nominated for an Ovation Award for Book and Lyrics of an original musical entitled Liberty Inn, which he co-wrote with B. T. Ryback.

In 2011, his verse translation of The Capulets & The Montagues played at the Andak Stage Company and the International Siglo de Oro Festival, winning the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Adaptation. Matthews appeared twice as Santa Claus in The Big Bang Theory season 6 episode, "The Santa Simulation" and season 8 episode "The Clean Room Infiltration".

He was the dramaturg for the Lincoln Center production of Macbeth (2013), directed by Jack O'Brien and starring Ethan Hawke.[8] He appeared as "Richard Russell" in Robert Schenkkan's award-winning L.B.J. play All The Way, starring Bryan Cranston, at A.R.T. in Cambridge in September 2013.[9]

He appeared as "Mickey Goldmill" in the Broadway musical Rocky the Musical in 2014,[10] then in 2015, he went on to play Winston Churchill opposite Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan's The Audience on Broadway. Matthews portrayed Judge Byers in the 2015 film Bridge of Spies. He originated the role "Joe" in the musical Waitress that opened on Broadway in April 2016.[11]


Year Title Role Notes
1985 Remington Steele Michael Fleming
1986 St. Elsewhere
Fresno Prosecutor
1987 Easy Street Tim Weathergate
Matlock Prosecutor Episode: "The People vs. Matlock"
Like Father Like Son Old Man Morrison
Nuts 1st Judge
1987–1989 My Two Dads Herb Kelcher
1988 Hostile Witness Catlett
Newhart Jim
Aaron's Way Wyler
Permanent Record Mr. McBain
Sunset William Singer
Funny Farm Marion Corey Jr
Clean and Sober Bob
Something Is Out There Agent Simon
Dallas Detective Kane
TV 101 Tanner
Dear John USA David Hennessey
1989 Naked Lie Adam Berger
American Playhouse Sam Mitgang
Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North Edwin Meese TV movie
Out on the Edge Dr. Cutler
Wired Washington Post Editor
The Fabulous Baker Boys Charlie
Body Wars Mission Commander
Cross of Fire Hiram Evans
Christine Cromwell Carter Dickinson III
My Brother's Wife Charles Rusher TV movie
1989–1991 Doctor Doctor Dr. Harold Stratford
1990 Blind Faith Uncle Gene
Ghost Dad Mr. Seymour
Fine Things Judge Aaron S. Mitofsky
1990–1991 Down Home Walt McCrorey
1991 The Whereabouts of Jenny Cox TV movie
Eve of Destruction Singleton
Who's the Boss? Judge
The Perfect Tribute Dr. Thomas
White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd D. A. Buron Fitts TV movie
Jailbirds Sheriff TV movie
Child's Play 3 Colonel Cohcrane
...And Then She Was Gone Francis Haynes TV movie
The Company Director Waugh TV movie
1991–1992 Drexell's Class Roscoe Davis TV movie
1992 Murder without Motive: The Edmund Parry Story Howards TV movie
For Richer, for Poorer Larry TV movie
Grave Secrets: The Legacy of Hilltop Drive Attorney TV movie
Revolver Tom McCall TV movie
Criminal Behavior Albee Ferguson TV movie
1993 The Temp Dr. Feldman
Undercover Blues Police Captain
1994 The Swan Princess King William (voice)
1997 Bean Tucker, Passenger
Flubber Minister
1998 The Siege Senator Wright
1999 Star Trek: Voyager Admiral Patterson Episode: "Relativity"
2000 The West Wing Simon Blye Episode: Take Out The Trash Day
2000 Thirteen Days Arthur C. Lundahl
2000-2007 Gilmore Girls Headmaster Hanlin Charleston
2002 Charmed Angel of Destiny
2003 The Fighting Temptations Mr. Fairchild
2004-2012 Desperate Housewives Reverend Sikes 9 episodes
2010 Parks and Recreation David Moser Episode: “Summer Catalog
2010 True Grit Colonel Stonehill
2011 Two and a Half Men Father Shaunassey Episode: “That Darn Priest
2012 Lincoln Secretary John Palmer Usher
2012 The Big Bang Theory Santa
2013 Mr. Box Office Ernie TV Series
2015 Bridge of Spies Judge Byers
2016 Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Headmaster Charleston


  1. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. At Ancestry.com
  2. ^ a b Miller, Daryl H. "A Commanding Stage Presence" Los Angeles Times, July 5, 1998
  3. ^ '"Julius Caesar' Broadway" ibdb.com, accessed February 17, 2016
  4. ^ "'Henry IV' Broadway" ibdb.com, accessed February 17, 2016
  5. ^ BWW News Desk (2 March 2017). "Antaeus Theatre Company Unveils Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center". Broadway World. Wisdom Digital Media. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Tickets". shakespeareinthepark.org.
  7. ^ "Tickets". shakespeareinthepark.org.
  8. ^ "'Macbeth' Broadway" ibdb.com, accessed February 17, 2016
  9. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Bryan Cranston Is Lyndon B. Johnson in 'All The Way', Premiering Sept. 13 at the American Repertory Theater" playbill.com, September 13, 2013
  10. ^ "'Rocky' Broadway" playbillvault.com, accessed February 17, 2016
  11. ^ "'Waitress' Broadway" playbillvault.com, accessed February 17, 2016

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