Drivas in 1973.
November 21, 1938
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||June 29, 1986
New York City, New York, U.S.
Robert Drivas (November 21, 1938 – June 29, 1986) was an American actor and theatre director.
Life and early career
Drivas was born Robert Choromokos in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Hariklia (née Cunningham-Wright) and James Peter Choromokos. Drivas studied at the University of Chicago and the University of Miami with further training at the Greek Playhouse in Athens, Greece. He made his stage debut in Night Must Fall in Coral Gables, Florida, before going on to appear in Tea and Sympathy in the role of Tom Lee at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, and in The Lady's Not for Burning, Death of a Salesman, Thieves' Ball, and A View from the Bridge at the Highland Park Playhouse in Chicago. According to Thomas W. Ennis writing in The New York Times, Tennessee Williams saw Drivas in Tea and Sympathy and asked him to take the lead in his play Sweet Bird of Youth, which had its premiere in Coconut Grove at George Keathley's Studio M Playhouse in 1956.
He made his Broadway debut in the role of Rameses in 1958 in the play The Firstborn, directed by and starring Anthony Quayle as Moses. He continued to perform on stage, as Jacko in the Beverley Cross play One More River (1960), with George C. Scott in the Warsaw Ghetto play The Wall (1960), as Alfred Drake's son Giorgio in the Italian Renaissance set Lorenzo (1963), as the British beatnik son of Cyril Ritchard in The Irregular Verb to Love (1963), and in And Things That Go Bump in the Night (1965), which he also directed. In 1963 he won a Theatre World Award for his performance in Mrs. Dally Has a Lover (opposite Estelle Parsons).
Drivas was associated with many well-known theatrical figures of his time. These included playwrights Terrence McNally, whose play The Ritz he directed in 1975, and Edward Albee, who directed Drivas in the 1983 premiere of Albee's harshly received play The Man Who Had Three Arms. Other directing credits include Bad Habits, for which he won an Obie Award, Legend, Cheaters, It Had to Be You, the 1982 revival of the musical Little Me (with his work there praised by theatre critic Clive Barnes who wrote "The whole balance is set right by the present production's firmer sense of form and continuity. The sense once had of a series of black-out sketches has gone and the staging... is smooth, inventive, and comic.") and Peg, a musical biography of songstress Peggy Lee, with lyrics and book by the star herself.
Film and television
Concurrent with his theater work, Drivas appeared in television, beginning in 1957, on such crime shows and dramas as Route 66, N.Y.P.D., The Defenders, The Fugitive, Twelve O'Clock High, The Wild Wild West, Hawaii Five-O, and The F.B.I..
Drivas' first theatrical film appearance was in the role of "Loudmouth Steve" in the classic prison drama Cool Hand Luke (1967). This debut led to more film work, in The Illustrated Man (1969) and the generation-gap drama Where It's At (1969), written and directed by Garson Kanin.
- "Robert Drivas Biography (1938-1986)". Film Reference. Retrieved 2014-09-26.
- Ennis, Thomas W. Robert Drivas Is Dead At 50" The New York Times, July 1, 1986
- The World of Tennessee Williams by Richard Freeman Leavitt, Kenneth Holditch, Hansen Publishing Group, 2011, ISBN 1601820003
- The Harvard Crimson, theater Review, The Firstborn At the Shubert until April 27 By LARRY HARTMANN, April 17, 1958
- "Robert Drivas Broadway" playbillvault.com, accessed August 21, 2015
- The Ritz 1975 playbillvault.com, accessed August 21, 2015
- Clive Barnes Theatre Review, Little Me, New York Post Jan 22,1982.
- Film Review. New York Times, May 8, 1969 "Screen: Garson Kanin's 'Where It's At'" By Vincent Canby.