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Roy Roberts in trailer for "The Brasher Doubloon" (1947)
|Born||Roy Barnes Jones
March 19, 1906
Dade City, Florida, U.S.
|Died||May 28, 1975
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Resting place||Greenwood Memorial Park in
Fort Worth, Texas
|Spouse(s)||Lillian Moore Tainter (?-1975, his death)|
Roy Roberts (March 19, 1906 – May 28, 1975) was an American character actor. Over his more than 40-year career, he appeared in more than nine hundred productions on stage and screen.
Born Roy Barnes Jones in Dade City in Pasco County, near Tampa, Florida, he began his acting career on the stage, first appearing on Broadway in May 1931 before making his motion picture debut in Gold Bricks, a 1936 two-reel comedy short released by 20th Century-Fox. He appeared in numerous films in secondary parts and returned to perform on Broadway in such productions as Twentieth Century, My Sister Eileen, and Carnival in Flanders until he began making guest appearances on television series. After appearing on Gale Storm's My Little Margie in 1956, he became part of several television series for which he is best remembered. In a show that was the precursor to The Love Boat, Roberts played the ship's captain for four years in Storm's next hit, Oh! Susanna, which aired on CBS from 1956 to 1960. He guest-starred in scores of series, including the western-themed crime drama, Sheriff of Cochise, the western series, My Friend Flicka, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (as Texas cattle baron Shanghai Pierce), and The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, and Brian Keith's Cold War drama, Crusader. Roberts appeared on four episodes of the CBS legal drama, Perry Mason, including the role of murderer Arthur Janeel in the 1961 episode, "The Case of the Malicious Mariner." Also well known performance was as publisher Jackson in The Andy Griffith Show who tried to get Andy removed from office.
During the middle 1960s, Roberts was one of the most recognizable faces on television, and had recurring roles concurrently on a number of popular programs, including:
- Bank president Mr. Cheever on CBS's The Lucy Show
- John Cushing, president of the rival Merchants Bank on CBS's The Beverly Hillbillies
- Railroad president Norman Curtis on CBS's Petticoat Junction
- Darrin's father Frank Stephens on ABC's Bewitched, alternating with actor Robert F. Simon depending upon availability.
- Banker Harry Bodkin on CBS's Gunsmoke
- Dr. Reynolds, twice on The Road West
- Neighbor Bruce MacDermott on ABC's Our Man Higgins
- Preston "Press" Wasco and Kelly on the NBC western, Laredo
- "Doc" on John Payne's The Restless Gun in the 1957 episode "Trail to Sunset"
- Banker George Bristol on NBC's "Bonanza"
- Admiral Rogers on McHale's Navy (in some episodes, his first name is given as "John" and in others his name is given as "Bruce").
- Capt. Walter A. Bascom in three episodes of the religion anthology series, Crossroads
In the 1940s and 1950s, Roberts was a regular in many films noir, including Force of Evil (1948), He Walked by Night (1948), Nightmare Alley (1947), The Brasher Doubloon (1947), Borderline (1950) and The Enforcer (1951). In 1953 he appeared as Vincent Price's crooked business partner (and first victim) in House of Wax. In 1956 he was Colonel Sam Sherman in The First Texan. He also appeared in the neo-noirs The Outfit (1973) and Chinatown (1974). He also had a small role in the hit 1963 Stanley Kramer comedy, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World as a police officer. Unfortunately, his role was cut from later television and movie versions to reduce running time. However, because of an interest in restoring IAMMMMW to its original length, Roberts' brief role has seen life again in versions made for laserdisc and extended-length DVDs.
Roberts appeared in an episode of the situation comedy A Touch of Grace in 1973. His last television appearance was on the 21 January 1974 CBS broadcast of Here's Lucy. In that installment, "Lucy Is N.G. As An R.N.", Roberts played a veterinarian.
- It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog (1946)
- My Darling Clementine (1946)
- The Reckless Moment (1949)
- Chain Lightning (1950)
- The King and Four Queens (1956)
- ""The Big Bellyache", The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, September 24, 1957". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved April 21, 2014.