Robert Rockwell

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Robert Rockwell
Rockwell circa 1959
Born(1920-10-15)October 15, 1920
DiedJanuary 25, 2003(2003-01-25) (aged 82)
Other namesRocky Rockwell[1]
Alma mater Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts (MFA)
Years active1948–1995
Elizabeth Anne Weiss
(m. 1942⁠–⁠2003)

Robert Rockwell (October 15, 1920 – January 25, 2003) was an American stage, film, radio and television actor. He is best known for playing the handsome, but awkward biology teacher Philip Boynton in the radio and television sitcom Our Miss Brooks opposite Eve Arden.


A native of Lake Bluff, Illinois[2] Rockwell studied at the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts, from which he obtained a master's degree.[3] During World War II he enlisted in the US Navy for four years serving in Washington D.C.[4] After beginning his career as a contract player for Republic Studios he appeared, over his almost 50-year acting career, in more than 350 television episodes and, on stage, opposite José Ferrer in the 1946 Broadway production of Cyrano de Bergerac, and with Ginger Rogers during the 1960s in a San Diego production of Whitfield Cook's play A More Perfect Union. He appeared (uncredited) in the first Superman television show episode as Clark Kent's father, Jor-El in 1952. He appeared in The Millionaire in the 1958 episode "Millionaire Lee Randolph" as the title character. The following year, he performed as Mr. Philips in the Gunsmoke episode “Renegade White”, and as Dick Benedict in the Perry Mason episode "The case of the Deadly Toy" as the love interest of the defendant Claire Allison. He starred in the 1961 Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Misguided Missile" as an Air Force officer court-martialled on a murder charge. He later starred in the 1962 Perry Mason episodes "The Case of the Lurid Letter" as Everett Rixby, a high school principal, and the murderer Cole B. Troy in "The Case of the Shapely Shadow". He also appeared as Ed Purvis in the 1965 episode Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Candy Queen".

Rockwell as The Man from Blackhawk (1959)

Rockwell starred in his own ABC western-themed television series, The Man from Blackhawk in the 1959-1960 season. Rockwell was cast as the Blackhawk Insurance Company's key investigator, Sam Logan, who is assigned to weed out fraud in the payment of claims.[5]: 650  He also played Sam Thompson in Thompson's Ghost,[5]: 1075  Tom Bennett in The Bill Cosby Show[5]: 106  and Officer Russo in Adam-12.[5]

In 1967, he played a littering tourist in the Lassie episode "Lassie's Litter Bit", an iconic episode which earned a trip for Lassie to the White House to shake hands with then First Lady "Ladybird" Johnson who had used the famous collie in her Keep America Beautiful Campaign.[6]

Rockwell was a founding member of the California Artists Radio Theatre. He played standard leads in a couple of anti-Communist-era features, including Republic's The Red Menace (1949) in which he was cast as a returning veteran of World War II who is duped by communists.[7]

Later in his career, he appeared on episodes of Petticoat Junction (1970, episode: "Spare That Cottage", as Norbert Thompson), Growing Pains (1988–1990) and Beverly Hills, 90210 (1993). In 1981, he appeared as Uncle Henry on the Benson episode "Marcy's Wedding".

His appearances in commercials and voiceovers totaled more than 200, most notably as the armchair grandfather treating his grandson to a piece of candy in the 1995 version of the Werthers Original candy spot.[3]


On January 25, 2003, Rockwell died of cancer at his home in Malibu at the age of 82. He and his wife, Elizabeth Anne (née Weiss), to whom he had been married since 1942, had five children.[8][1]


Year Title Role Notes
1948 You Gotta Stay Happy Eddie
1949 The Red Menace Bill Jones
1949 Task Force Lt. Kelly Uncredited
1949 Alias the Champ Police Lt. Ron Peterson
1950 The Blonde Bandit Dist. Atty. James Deveron
1950 Unmasked Detective Lt. James 'Jim' Webster
1950 Singing Guns Townsman Uncredited
1950 Belle of Old Mexico Kip Armitage III
1950 Federal Agent at Large Dr. Ross Carrington
1950 Women from Headquarters Gates
1950 Destination Big House Dr. Walter Phillips
1950 Trial Without Jury Police Lt. Bill Peters
1950 Lonely Heart Bandits Police Lt. Carroll
1950 Prisoners in Petticoats Mark Hampton
1951 Call Me Mister 1st Sergeant Uncredited
1951 The Frogmen Lt. Bill Doyle
1951 The Prince Who Was a Thief Bogo Uncredited
1951 Week-End with Father Ranger Kennedy Uncredited
1952 Just for You John Ransome
1952 The Turning Point Reporter Uncredited
1952 Ellis in Freedomland Ellis Homan
1953 The War of the Worlds Forest Ranger at Crash Site Uncredited
1956 Our Miss Brooks Phil Boynton
1965 A Letter to Nancy Pastor
1968 Sol Madrid Chief Danvers
1995 Perfect Alibi Jonah Kringle (final film role)


  1. ^ a b "Elizabeth Anne Rockwell 1921 - 2019". Retrieved September 8, 2023.
  2. ^ "Celebrity Parade Glitters Too Much, Too Similar". The Milwaukee Sentinel. November 17, 1959.
  3. ^ a b "TV Actor, radio personality, stage performer, movie star Robert Rockwell dies at 82". Lodi News-Sentinel. Associated Press. January 28, 2003. p. 8.
  4. ^ "Robert Rockwell: Going the Distance". Classic Images. Archived from the original on July 27, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Terrace, Vincent (January 10, 2014). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). McFarland. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7864-8641-0. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  6. ^ "Lady Bird Johnson shakes hands with Lassie as others look on". LBJ Library. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  7. ^ "The Red Menace (1949)". AllMovie. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  8. ^ "Robert Rockwell, 82; Played Elusive Catch on 'Our Miss Brooks'". Los Angeles Times. January 28, 2003. p. B10. Retrieved April 27, 2022.

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