Robbie Rist, circa 1973
|Born||Robert Anthony Rist
April 4, 1964
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
|Occupation||Voice actor, actor, musician, singer|
Robert Anthony "Robbie" Rist (born April 4, 1964) is an American actor and musician. He is known for playing Cousin Oliver in The Brady Bunch, and for voicing characters in television shows and movies, like Stuffy the overly proud stuffed dragon in Doc McStuffins, and Michelangelo in the 1990 film of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He and director Anthony C. Ferrante provided music for the Sharknado film and the theme song for the Sharknado franchise.
As a child, Rist played Cousin Oliver in the final six episodes of The Brady Bunch. With the regular children all getting older, his inclusion was intended to reintroduce cute younger children to the series. With his Dutch Boy haircut and wire-rimmed glasses, his resemblance to pop singer John Denver and juvenile appeal, he seemed ideal; however, the plan became moot as the network had opted to not renew the series before his debut. This gave rise to the term "Cousin Oliver Syndrome", also known as "add-a-kid". Several subsequent television series in the 1970s and 1980s used "add-a-kid" hoping to revitalize ratings. Rist's character, Oliver, was the first, and only character on the series to say the word "sex," which was in a line from the final episode. Oliver also uttered the final line of the final episode: "Me! Cousin Oliver!"; but the character was subsequently omitted from all future original-cast revivals of the series. Interestingly, Cousin Oliver was not the first child character added to a television cast specifically to boost ratings. Earlier in the 1973–1974 season, The Partridge Family added child actor Ricky Segall to its cast before Rist made his debut on The Brady Bunch.
After The Brady Bunch he co-starred in a Saturday morning show called Big John, Little John, was Glendon Farrell on the David Hartman vehicle Lucas Tanner, and in 1976 and 1977 played Ted Baxter's son David on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In 1980, Rist played "Dr. Zee" on Galactica 1980. He made four guest appearances on CHiPs and the short-lived CBS series Whiz Kids, and also played Booger in a failed Revenge of the Nerds TV pilot. In 1986, Rist had a notable supporting role as Milo in the action film, Iron Eagle which was a box-office hit despite being critically panned.
As of 2006, Rist was acting, working with music and also working in film production. Rist produced a horror/comedy film, Stump The Band, directed by William Holmes and JoJo Hendrickson.
In 2013, he portrayed Robbie the Bus Driver in the camp horror film Sharknado. Rist said in an interview that his friend Anthony C. Ferrante came upon the film's poster at the American Film Market and became enthusiastic about the concept. When Ferrante said that he had been approached to direct the film, Rist insisted that Ferrante take the job, and that if he did, that he should have a part in it. He also mentioned that Sharknado was his very first red carpet premiere.
As an adult, Rist has worked as a voice actor, such as in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film series (as the voice of Michaelangelo); from 1984 to 1986, he starred in the Saturday morning cartoon Kidd Video, playing the character Whiz both in live-action music videos and animated sequences. He was the voice of Star, a Siberian husky, in the 1995 Universal Studios film Balto. He was also the voice of Aaron in the PC game Star Warped. An episode of Batman: The Animated Series titled "Baby Doll" contained a character called Cousin Spunky that was intended to boost sagging ratings of the fictional Baby Doll sitcom, a clear reference to Cousin Oliver (Rist lent his voice to the episode, but did not play Cousin Spunky; his character was an adult).
Rist voiced the reincarnation of Mondo Gecko in TMNT 2012.
Selected voice credits
- Doc McStuffins – Stuffy
- Sonic Boom – Additional Voices, Swifty the Shrew
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Mondo Gecko
- Initial D – Itsuki "Iggy" Takeuchi (Tokyopop dub)
Rist is also a musician and producer. He has performed as the lead singer, guitarist, bassist and/or drummer for several Los Angeles rock bands, including Wonderboy, The Andersons, Cockeyed Ghost, Nice Guy Eddie, and Steve Barton and the Oblivion Click. The list of west coast pop bands Rist has performed with numbers in the hundreds. He divides his time between film and music production, performing with Los Angeles alt-country band KingsizeMaybe and rock band Jeff Caudill & The Goodtimes Band (with Jeff Caudill of Orange County punk band Gameface and Michael "Popeye" Vogelsang of Orange County punk band Farside). Rist has also produced a number of records for bands, including Suzy & Los Quattro, Backline, Ginger Britt and the Mighty, Jeff Caudill, Steve Barton and the Oblivion Click, Nice Guy Eddie, Kingsizemaybe and The Mockers. Rist produced the album Automatic Toaster for The Rubinoos and played drums on that album. He currently is the drummer for the rock formation Your Favorite Trainwreck.
Rist and director Anthony C. Ferrante provided the music for the Sharknado film, initially writing about six songs for the first film. Rist and Ferrante would provide music for the sequel Sharknado 2 as the band Quint, and perform its theme song "(The Ballad of) Sharknado", which had originally appeared in the first film but not many folks heard it.  Quint was named after the character in Jaws and served as their band's name for future work on the franchise, including the song "Crash" in Sharknado 3. They also released an EP called Great White Skies with several of the theme song's variants.
- The New York Times
- Valcourt, Keith (2013). "From Cousin Oliver to Sharknado Robbie Rist Rocks!". RockerZine.com. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
- Rist, Robbie, Interview, Arts Talk with the Johnson Brothers. Host Duane Johnson and Dennis I. Johnson. BlogTalkRadio, February 13, 2011. Web.
- Thomas, K. "Iron Eagle: Middle-east Rescue Mission," Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2002.
- Kelly, Liz. "Catching Up with Robbie Rist". washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- Lamar, Cyriaque. "Texas filmmaker self-funds fan flick about TMNT sidekick Casey Jones". io9. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
- "Sole Power". Sonic Boom. Season 1. Episode 19. March 12, 2015. Cartoon Network.
- Borack, J. "John Borack's Top 10 CD's of 2010." Goldmine Magazine. Feb. 2011.
- Borack, J. "Something Old, Something New...," Goldmine Magazine. 2010.
- Robbie Rist at the Internet Movie Database
- Robbie Rist's page on ReverbNation
- RobbieRist.com (archive)