Conrad John Schuck
A stocky, curly-haired character player with large and amiable, if slightly simian, features, John Schuck gained notice as part of director Robert Altman's 1970s stock company. Variety deemed him "quietly convincing" in his film debut, "M*A*S*H" (1970), as Painless Pole, a well endowed dentist who considers suicide after a bout of impotence. Schuck went on to play supporting roles in some of Altman's most important 70s films including "Brewster McCloud" (1970), "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" (1971) and "Thieves Like Us" (1974). Fans of that decade's TV dramas may remember him best from the long-running mystery series "McMillan and Wife" (NBC, 1971-76)--and the subsequent short-lived follow-up "McMillan" (NBC, 1976-77)--as the plodding but enthusiastic Sergeant (later Lieutenant) Charles Enright. Schuck provided a pleasingly clunky foil to Rock Hudson's smoothly competent (if thoroughly improbable) rendition of San Francisco's police commissioner. He would play cops of various kinds for much of his film and TV careers.
Schuck spent ten years acting and directing in regional theater before joining the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco where he was discovered by Altman. Once established in film and TV, the actor alternated between the two media. Outside of "McMillan", most of his TV projects were telefilms, specials, and failed sitcoms, including three memorable turkeys, "Holmes and Yoyo" (ABC, 1976, as a robot), "The New Odd Couple" (ABC, 1982-83), featuring a black Oscar and Felix with Schuck as Murray the cop, and "The Munsters Today" (syndicated, 1988), a charmless revival wherein he played Herman Munster. Similarly, Schuck's post-Altman film credits, mostly comedies, were less distinguished. They include two turns as a Klingon ambassador in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" (1986) and "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" (1991), and cops in both "Pontiac Moon" (1994) and "Tales From the Crypt Presents Demon Knight" (1995). Perhaps his biggest post-"McMillan" success was as Daddy Warbucks in the Broadway musical "Annie". Schuck was one of the successors to originator Reid Shelton during the show's initial production and national tour. He also reprised the role for its 20th anniversary staging in 1997. Schuck later was cast as Buffalo Bill when Reba McEntire joined the cast of the revival of "Annie Get Your Gun" in 2001.