Jason Robards, Sr.

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Jason Robards, Sr.
Jason Robards Sr. 1927.jpg
in 1927
Born (1892-12-31)December 31, 1892
Hillsdale, Michigan, U.S.
Died April 4, 1963(1963-04-04) (aged 70)
Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart Attack
Alma mater American Academy of Dramatic Arts
Occupation Actor
Spouse(s) Hope Maxine Glanville (m. 1914–27)
Children Jason Robards, Jr.

Jason Nelson Robards, Sr. (December 31, 1892 – April 4, 1963) was an American stage and screen actor, and the father of Oscar-winning actor Jason Robards, Jr. Robards appeared in many films, initially as a leading man, then in character roles and occasional bits.

Life and career[edit]

Robards was born Jason Nelson Robards on a farm in Hillsdale, Michigan, the son of Elizabeth (née Loomis), a schoolteacher, and Frank P. Robards, Sr., a farmer and post office inspector who managed Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 Presidential campaign in Michigan. He was raised in Chicago, Illinois.[1][2] He trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He was consistently billed as "Jason Robards", as his more famous son, also named Jason Robards, did not come into prominence until the end of the elder Robards' career. He is only referred to as Jason Robards, Sr. in retrospect. He died in 1963, having lived to see his namesake son and grandson (Jason Robards III) carry on the family acting tradition.

Acting career[edit]

Robards, Sr. in the D. W. Griffith film Abraham Lincoln (1930)

Robards' film career lasted from 1921 through 1961. His Broadway credits include the musical Turn To The Right (1917). After 1951, Robards' career consisted entirely of television performances, but prior to that, the Internet Movie Database lists appearances in 208 movies over a 30-year span before he spent another decade acting in various television shows and series.

Robards' best known stage role was John Marvin in the long-running hit Lightnin'. Robards' connection to the part caused his son to equate him to the character of James Tyrone in Long Day's Journey Into Night, which Jason, Jr. played on Broadway in 1956 and on screen in 1962. In the play, Tyrone is an actor whose career is limited by his identification with a single part, The Count of Monte Cristo. Jason, Jr. would later say "One of the most damaging things for me, I realize now, was playing a drunk in the play Long Day's Journey Into Night. In the play, the drunk's father is a failed artist and his mother was a drug addict. It was only after years of analysis I realized I was acting out events in my own life on stage."[3]

In one of his television appearances, Robards played Judge Hesby in the 1958 episode "Dead Reckoning" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. Others in the guest cast were Richard Webb and Lee Van Cleef as Rocky Norton and Devery, respectively.[4]

The Robardses, father and son, acted on stage together only once, in Budd Schulberg's The Disenchanted, a play inspired by the story of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Jason, Jr., won his only Tony Award for his performance.


Robards, Sr. died, aged 70, in Sherman Oaks, California, of a heart attack.

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Jason Nelson ROBARDS, Sr., & Hope Maxine GLANVILLE & Agnes E. __?
  2. ^ https://archive.org/stream/playeraprofileof002609mbp/playeraprofileof002609mbp_djvu.txt
  3. ^ Sheridan Morely, The Great Stage Stars. Facts On File (1986)
  4. ^ "Colt .45". ctva.biz. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 

External links[edit]