Robert Lansing (actor)

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For other people named Robert Lansing, see Robert Lansing (disambiguation).
Robert Lansing
Robert Lansing 1962.JPG
Lansing in 1962
Born Robert Howell Brown
(1928-06-05)June 5, 1928
San Diego, California, U.S.
Died October 23, 1994(1994-10-23) (aged 66)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death Cancer
Resting place Union Field Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens, New York City
Occupation Actor
Spouse(s) Emily McLaughlin (June 15, 1956–April 11, 1968) (divorced) (1 child)
Gari Hardy Anderson (November 2, 1969 - 1971) (divorced) (1 child)
Anne Pivar (October 25, 1981 - October 23, 1994) (his death)

Robert Lansing (June 5, 1928 – October 23, 1994) was an American stage, film, and television actor.

Early life[edit]

Born in San Diego, California, as Robert Howell Brown, he reportedly took his acting surname from the state capital of Michigan. As a young actor in New York City, he was hired to join a stock company in Michigan but was told he would first have to join the Actors' Equity Association. Equity would not allow him to join as "Robert Brown" because another actor was using that name. Because the stock company was based in Lansing, this became the actor's new surname.[citation needed] Lansing served two years in the United States Army and was stationed in Japan.

Film and television career[edit]

On film, Lansing starred in the 1959 science fiction film 4D Man. He also starred as marine biologist Hank Donner in the 1966 nature drama film Namu, the Killer Whale, which featured one of the first orcas ever displayed in captivity.[1] His other films included Under the Yum Yum Tree, The Grissom Gang, Bittersweet Love, Scalpel (aka False Face), Empire of the Ants and The Nest.

In the 1961–1962 television season, Lansing was cast as Detective Steve Carella on NBC's 87th Precinct series based on the Ed McBain detective novels. His costars were Gena Rowlands, Ron Harper, Gregory Walcott, and Norman Fell. In 1961, he played the outlaw Frank Dalton in a two-part episode of NBC's The Outlaws with Barton MacLane. Also in 1961, he played Jed Trask, a troubled shooter, in the Bonanza episode, "Cutthroat Junction." [2] He played the frontier dentist, gambler, and gunfighter Doc Holliday in an episode of NBC's The Tall Man, with Barry Sullivan and Clu Gulager. Lansing would star alongside Clu Gulager again in a 1965 episode of NBC's The Virginian TV series entitled "The Brothers", as an older brother who kills a prison guard in order to free his younger brother (played by Andrew Prine) from jail before, what Lansing's character believes to be, an unjust death sentence is carried out. Again on NBC, in 1966, Lansing guest starred as General Custer in a three episode segment of Branded called "Call to Glory".

Robert Lansing is probably best known for his role as Brigadier General Frank Savage in the Quinn Martin Productions of 12 O'Clock High which aired on the ABC Television Network from 1964 to 1967 although Robert Lansing only appeared in the first season. At the end of that season, the studio executives decided a younger-looking lead actor was needed. In the first episode of the second season, General Savage, was killed in action and replaced by Colonel Joe Gallagher, played by Paul Burke. (Burke, though considered more youthful-looking than Lansing, was actually two years older, a fact that TV critics were quick to point out.)

Other television roles include portrayals of an alcoholic college professor in ABC's drama Channing, as General George Custer on Chuck Connors's NBC series Branded, as Gil Green in the 1963 episode "Fear Begins at Forty" on the NBC medical drama The Eleventh Hour, as a bounty hunter on Gunsmoke, as a parole officer in a 1968 episode (A Time to Love - A Time to Cry) of The Mod Squad, and as interstellar secret agent Gary Seven in the episode "Assignment: Earth" (1968) of Star Trek. The episode was a backdoor pilot for a new series which would have starred Lansing and Teri Garr, but the series never materialized.

Lansing played an international secret agent in The Man Who Never Was, as Lt. Jack Curtis on Automan. He also played a recurring role, known only as "Control," on 29 episodes of The Equalizer between 1985 and 1989.[3] He guest starred in The Twilight Zone episode "The Long Morrow" and in the Thriller episode "Fatal Impulse." He also guest starred on other television productions such as NBC's Law & Order. His final role was that of Paul Blaisdell on Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. In the 1980s he did a series of television commercials for Liberty National Bank in Louisville, Kentucky.

Personal life[edit]

Lansing had a commanding deep voice, commanding manner, and bushy blond eyebrows.

Lansing had a son, Robert Frederick Orin Lansing, with his first wife, actress Emily McLaughlin; the couple eventually divorced. About a year and a half later, he married Gari Hardy, but this marriage also ended in divorce. The couple had a daughter, Alice Lucille Lansing. His last wife was Anne Pivar, with whom he remained until his death.

Lansing was a heavy smoker and died from lung cancer in 1994,[4] one year into his last regular series, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1993). He was 66 years old. He was buried at Union Field Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens.

Film roles[edit]

Broadway roles[edit]

  • Stalag 17 (1951) as Dunbar (replacement)
  • Brightower (1970) as Daniel Brightower
  • Finishing Touches (1973) as Jeff Cooper
  • The Little Foxes (1981) as Benjamin Hubbard (replacement)


  1. ^ Film, "Namu: My Best Friend" (a.k.a. Namu the Killer Whale) at
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Robert Lansing actor dies of cancer

External links[edit]