Jon Cypher

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Jon Cypher
Born (1932-01-13) January 13, 1932 (age 91)
EducationErasmus Hall High School
Alma materBrooklyn College
Occupation(s)Actor, singer
Years active1957–present
Spouse(s)Ruth Wagner
(m. 1965; div. 1975)
Carol Rosin

Jon Cypher (born January 13, 1932) is an American actor and singer. He is best known as playing Chief of Police Fletcher Daniels in Hill Street Blues throughout the series' run. He is also known for his work in Cinderella, As the World Turns, Major Dad, Probe, Law & Order, and Santa Barbara. He has also performed several times on Broadway, particularly in musical theatre.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in New York City, Cypher graduated from Erasmus Hall High School (1949) and Brooklyn College (1953).

Cypher later received a master's degree in marriage and family counseling from the University of Vermont.[1]


Cypher made his television debut as the Prince in the original 1957 production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella opposite Julie Andrews in the title role. He is particularly remembered as Chief of Police Fletcher Daniels in Hill Street Blues, a role he played throughout the run of the series (1981–87). He played Commanding General Marcus Craig on Major Dad, alongside Gerald McRaney and Beverly Archer, and appeared as Howard Millhouse in the short-lived television series Probe. He played Dr. Alex Keith on As the World Turns (1977–79) and Dr. Arthur Donnelly on Santa Barbara (1988–89).

Other television credits include the recurring roles of Belson in The F.B.I., Dirk Maurier in Dynasty, Eric Brandon in Marcus Welby, M.D., and Jeff Munson in Knots Landing. He also provided the voice of comic villain Spellbinder in the animated television series Batman Beyond.[2]

Cypher made his first film appearance as the villain Frank Tanner in the 1971 Western Valdez Is Coming opposite Burt Lancaster and Susan Clark. He took on the role of the heroic Man-At-Arms in the 1987 film Masters of the Universe. He also starred in an episode of Barnaby Jones entitled "Dangerous Gambit" which originally aired on February 26, 1976. Cypher has since appeared periodically in films up through the late 1990s in mostly featured character parts.

Cypher had an active career on the stage in both musicals and plays. In 1956 he appeared at Denver's Elitch Theatre, as the leading man for the summer stock cast, where productions included The Rainmaker, Noël Coward's Tonight at 8.30, and The Chalk Garden.

He made his Broadway debut as Wister LaSalle in the original 1959 production of Harvey Breit's The Disenchanted. He returned to Broadway in 1962 to replace Patrick O'Neal as the Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon in the original production of Tennessee Williams's The Night of the Iguana. He portrayed the role of Dr. Carrasco in the original 1965 cast of Man of La Mancha, later taking over the role of Don Quixote.

In 1967, he performed the role of Bert Jefferson in the original musical Sherry! by James Lipton and Laurence Rosenthal. His other Broadway credits include The Great White Hope, 1776, Coco, and Big: The Musical.

Between 1990 and 1993 he appeared in 69 episodes in the CBS hit comedy TV show Major Dad, where he played Brigadier General Marcus C. Craig [3]

On July 20, 1992 Cypher suffered an injury during a dress rehearsal at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh. He was preparing for an appearance as Fagin in the Civic Light Opera production of Oliver! when he fell down a darkened stairway at the theater, breaking his leg in two places and damaging cartilage and ligaments. The incident left Cypher playing the character while seated in a wheelchair. He sued the theater and a performance company in Pittsburgh for $20,000.[4] In a 2013 interview, Cypher revealed he still walked with a cane.[5]

In a 2014 interview, he stated that poverty was the secret to his 47-year-long career.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Cypher was married to Ruth Wagner from 1965 to 1975. After they divorced, he married scientist Carol Rosin.



Year Title Role Notes
1971 Valdez Is Coming Frank Tanner
Believe in Me Alan
1973 Lady Ice Eddie Stell
Blade Petersen
1974 The Memory of Us Brad
The Kid and the Killers Roper
1975 The Kingfisher Caper Johnny Lance
1976 The Food of the Gods Brian
1987 Masters of the Universe Duncan/Man-At-Arms
Off the Mark John C. Roosevelt
1989 Accidents James Hughs
1990 Spontaneous Combustion Dr. Marsh
The Sandgrass People Walter Carter
1991 Strictly Business Drake
1998 Walking to the Waterline Fred Blumquist


Year Title Role Notes
1957 Roger's and Hammerstein's Cinderella Prince Christopher Television film
The United States Steel Hour Episode: "Upbeat"
Armstrong Circle Theatre Richie Braman/Miklos 2 episodes
1962 Our Five Daughters Driscoll
1964 NBC Children's Theatre King Richard Episode: "Robin Hood"
Flipper Jim Lorman Episode: "Countdown for Flipper"
1967 Coronet Blue Ewan McBurney Episode: "A Time to be Born"
1970 Nanny and the Professor Professor Englund Episode: "E.S. Putt"
1971-73 The Doris Day Show Sir Robert Kingsley 2 episodes
1972 McMillan & Wife John Thomas Clark Episode: "The Face of Murder"
Mission: Impossible Art Stafford Episode: "Trapped"
Bonanza Col. Cody Ransom Episode: "A Place to Hide"
Mannix Wallace Hunter/Phillip Lomax 2 episodes
1973 Circle of Fear Keith Episode: "Legion of Demons"
1974 Cannon Lt. Lou Hayes Episode: "Bobby Loved Me"
Night Games Dale Hannigan Television film
The F.B.I. Belson Episode: "Survival"
The Rookies Dr. Stafford Episode: "Key Witness"
1975 Marcus Welby, M.D. Eric Brandon 4 episodes
1976 Barnaby Jones Frank Dunlap Episode: "Dangerous Gambit"
Bronk Lundeen Episode: "The Vigilante"
1977 Police Woman Skip Arnold Episode: "The Disco Killer"
The Feather and Father Gang Cal Cooper Episode: "Sun, Sand, and Death"
The Rockford Files Michael Kelly 2 episodes
1978-79 As the World Turns Dr. Alexander Keith 2 episodes
1979 The Love Boat Russell Evans Episode: "Not Now, I'm Dying/Too Young to Love/Eleanor's Return"
1980 Freebie and the Bean Dwight Rollins Episode: "Flying Aces"
1981 Evita Peron Col. Imbert Television film
General Hospital Max Van Stadt Episode #1.4687
1981-83 Trapper John, M.D. Marshall Randolph/Andrew Forsyte 2 episodes
1981-87 Hill Street Blues Chief Fletcher Daniels Main Role; 71 episodes
1982 Today's F.B.I. Le Duc Episode: "Spy"
House Calls Episode: "Man for All Surgeons"
The Greatest American Hero Richard Beller Episode: "Now You See it"
The Devlin Connection Episode: "The Lady on the Billboard"
Dallas Episode: "Post Nuptial"
1982-83 Knots Landing Jeff Munson 12 episodes
1983 Knight Rider George Atherton Episode: "Soul Survivor"
1983-87 Dynasty Dirk E. Maurier 10 episodes
1984 Lottery! Episode: "Chicago: Another Chance"
1985 Half Nelson Episode: "Nose Job"
Malice in Wonderland Dr. Harry 'Docky' Martin Television film
Lime Street Kyle Stoddard Episode: "Odd Pilots Never Die"
1986 Hotel Richard Copeland Episode: "Triangles"
Perry Mason: The Case of the Notorious Nun Dr. Peter Lattimore Television film
True Confessions Episode: "The Decision"
1986-93 Murder, She Wrote Capt. Rory O'Neil/Nathan Swarthmore/Defense Atty. Max Flynn 3 episodes
1987 The Law & Harry McGraw Sam Wallace Episode: "Angela's Secret"
Hunter Alan Shadwell Episode: "Turning Point"
1988 Elvis and Me Captain Joseph Paul Beaulieu Television film
Probe Howard Millhouse 2 episodes
Lady Mobster Alfred Mallory Television film
Favorite Son Bartholomew Scott Episode: "Part One"
1988-89 Santa Barbara Dr. Arthur Donnelly Recurring role; 57 episodes
1988-89 Tour of Duty Major General Goldman 2 episodes
1989 Duet John Episode: "The Birth of a Saleswoman"
Open House John Green 2 episodes
1990 B.L. Stryker Felix Renza Episode: "High Rise"
Valerie Mr. Edwards Episode: "A Matter of Principal"
Snow Kill Reid Television film
1990-93 Major Dad General Marcus C. Craig Main Role; 69 episodes
1994 Love & War Anthony Episode: "I've Got a Crush on You"
The Commish Bill Kelton Episode: "Dead Drunk"
RoboCop General Eugene Omar Episode: "Ghosts of War"
1995 Burke's Law Ben Fletcher Episode: "Who Killed the Motor Car Maverick?"
The Invaders Sen. Alex Feinman 2 episodes
1995-2000 Law & Order Jerome Kamen/Harlan Graham 2 episodes
1996 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Preston A. Lodge II Episode: "The Tempest"
1997 Pinky and the Brain Administrator Voice, episode: "The Tailor and the Mice/Bah, Wilderness"
Profiler Judge Neil MacGruder Episode: "Power Corrupts"
1998 JAG Frank Burnett Episode: "To Russia with Love"
1999 Rescue 77 Charles Bell 2 episodes
Walker, Texas Ranger Waylon Cox Episode: "Full Recovery"
1999-2000 Batman Beyond Ira Billings/Spellbinder Voice, 3 episodes
2000 Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show Colonel Coleman Episode: "Honey, It's an Interplanetary, Extraordinary Life"
2001 The Lot 2 episodes
2004 Great Performances Prince Christopher/Self Episode: "Roger's and Hammerstein's Cinderella


Year Title Role Venue Type Notes
1958 The Disenchanted Wister LaSalle Coronet Theatre Broadway
1961 The Night of the Iguana The Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon Royale Theatre U/s
1963 Jennie Randolph of the Royal Mounted/Others Majestic Theatre Standby
1964 As You Like It Lucille Lortel Theatre Off-Broadway
1965 Man of La Mancha Dr. Carrasco Martin Beck Theatre Broadway
The Wives Herakles Stage 73 Off-Broadway
The Great Western Union Robert Bouwerie Lane Theatre
1967 Sherry! Bert Jefferson Alvin Theatre Broadway
1968 The Great White Hope Mr. Cameron/Others
1969 1776 Thomas Jefferson 46th Street Theatre Replacement
Coco Papa Mark Hellinger Theatre
1970-72 1776 Thomas Jefferson Touring production
1971 Coco Julian Lesage
1973 Oliver! Bill Sikes
1980-82 Evita Perón
1984 42nd Street Julian Marsh
1996 Big MacMillan Shubert Theatre Broadway


  1. ^ "Soap Star of the Week", Charleston News and Courier, August 26, 1988.[dead link]
  2. ^ Biography of Jon Cypher,; accessed March 5, 2017.
  3. ^ "Major Dad (TV Series 1989–1993) - IMDb". IMDb.
  4. ^ "Jon Cypher of "Major Dad' Sues Theater, Troupe". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  5. ^ Sawyer, James (2013-10-13). "Masters Of The Universe (The 1987 Film): Q & A With Actor Jon Cypher (Man-At-Arms)!". Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  6. ^ Hansen, Evalyn. "Backstage: An interview with Jon Cypher". Archived from the original on 2017-09-02. Retrieved 2017-03-06.

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