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Kiser in New Jersey, April 2015
August 1, 1939 |
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Sylvie Marmet (m. 1987–2004) (divorced) 1 child|
Kiser has more than 140 acting credits to his name, with a career spanning more than 53 years. He is the co-founder of an acting school in Austin, Texas, "The Actors Arena".
Early life and education
Kiser was born in Omaha, Nebraska on August 1, 1939. He attended the University of Kansas, where he received a football scholarship. He graduated in 1962 with a degree in industrial engineering. Returning to Omaha, he worked as an engineer for three years while acting on the side. During these years, Kiser acted as an amateur in more than 50 plays. On the advice of a drama teacher, he made the decision to pursue acting full-time and moved to New York City in 1965. He joined the Actors Studio and worked with Lee Strasberg, the renowned teacher of Method acting.
Kiser's first two years in New York included an array of small parts, ranging from theater to television to commercials. By 1967, Kiser gained significant recognition for his work, winning both an Obie Award and Theater World Award for his portrayal of in "Fortune and Men's Eyes."
Becoming a life member of The Actors Studio, Kiser was a regular on several soap operas, The Secret Storm and The Doctors. In 1978, he starred on the short-lived sitcoms The Roller Girls, and Sugar Time!. It was during the 1970s and early 1980s that Kiser appeared in Three's Company, The Love Boat, Night Court, 227, Maude and The Golden Girls. One of his roles was on the TV drama Hill Street Blues, where he played comedian Vic Hitler (aka, Vic the Narcoleptic Comic). He was also a cast member on the syndicated sketch comedy show Off the Wall and a part of the ensemble on Carol Burnett's Carol & Company, which aired in 1990. In the 1990s, he appeared on Walker, Texas Ranger, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Will & Grace.
His film appearances include Fast Charlie... the Moonbeam Rider (1979), Rich Kids (1979), Steel (1979), An Eye for an Eye (1981), Making Love (1982), Six Pack (1982), Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land (1983), Surf II (1984), From a Whisper to a Scream (1987) and Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988).
Kiser is known for starring in Weekend at Bernie's (1989), in the title role of Bernie Lomax, the corrupt insurance executive who is dead for most of the film. Bernie's young employees, played by Jonathan Silverman and Andrew McCarthy, attempt to convince people that Bernie is still alive. He reprised the role in Weekend at Bernie's II (1993). Since 2012, several YouTube videos featuring "The Bernie Dance" generated more than 17 million views collectively by April 2016.
In the early 2010s Kiser began work on "The Accidental President", which led to his participation in the second season of "Johnny Dynamo". That show was followed with Kiser's lead role in the feature "The Body Sculptor" as Dr. Jason Stone. The film is scheduled for completion and release in 2016.
- Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.