Jason Robards

Actor, Director, Assistant stage manager
The foremost male interpreter of the works of playwright Eugene O'Neill since the mid-1950s, Jason Robards owes his career to the celebrated 1956 Circle in the Square revival of the playwright's "The Iceman Cometh," ... Read more »
Born: 07/26/1922 in Chicago, Illinois, USA


Actor (10)

Broadway Legends 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)


Wild in the Country 1961 (Movie)

Judge Parker (Actor)

A Game of Death 1946 (Movie)


Bedlam 1946 (Movie)

Oliver Todd (Actor)

The Falcon's Alibi 1946 (Movie)

Harvey Beaumont (Actor)

Mademoiselle Fifi 1944 (Movie)

A Wholesaler in Wines (Actor)

The Master Race 1943 (Movie)

Jacob (Actor)

Broadway Bill 1934 (Movie)

Arthur Winslow (Actor)

Damaged Lives 1932 (Movie)


Law of the Tong 1930 (Movie)



The foremost male interpreter of the works of playwright Eugene O'Neill since the mid-1950s, Jason Robards owes his career to the celebrated 1956 Circle in the Square revival of the playwright's "The Iceman Cometh," directed by Jose Quintero, which thrust the versatile actor from obscurity into the limelight. The parallels between his own life and O'Neill's are striking and surely resonated for his Broadway debut as Jamie Tyrone in "Long Day's Journey Into Night" (1957), the most autobiographical of the playwright's oeuvre. O'Neill's father had been a talented actor who wasted his talent (but made his fortune) in years of easy repetition as the star of "The Count of Monte Cristo." Likewise, Robards' father was a wonderful Broadway actor, who in his son's words "sold out," moved to Hollywood and "went down the tubes out there." Robards tapped into the essence of O'Neill, perfectly essaying the highly intelligent, often sensitive but frequently stubborn men, sometimes defeated by their own penchant for sadness while prone to angry outbursts, prejudice and alcoholism.


Jason Nelson Robards III

born in 1948 mother, Eleanor Pitman has acted in several feature films, including "The Soldier" (1982) and "They Live" (1988) survived him

Lauren Bacall Actor

Married July 4, 1961 Divorced Sept. 10, 1969 due to Robards' alcoholism (according to Bacall's autobiography)

Lois O'Connor

fourth wife met in 1966 on the set of "Noon Wine", directed by Sam Peckinpah for "ABC Stage '67" married in 1970 mother of Shannon and Jake survived him

Eleanor Pitman

first wife married on May 7, 1948 divorced in 1958 mother of Jason Robards III, Sarah Louise and David Robards

Jason Robards

born on December 31, 1892 prominent in leading roles in silent films and early talkies also worked on the stage film career slipped during 1930s but he continued playing occasional supporting roles through the early 1960s last film, "Wild in the Country" (1961) died in April 1963

Hope Robards

lived to be 97, dying in 1996

Sarah Robards

mother, Eleanor Pitman survived him

Shannon Robards

mother, Lois O'Connor survived him

David Robards

mother, Eleanor Pitman survived him

Jake Robards

born c. 1974 mother, Lois O'Connor survived him

Sam Robards

born in 1961 mother, Lauren Bacall acted in such films as "Tempest" (1982), "Bird" (1988), "Casualties of War" (1989), "The Ballad of Little Jo" (1993) and "American Beauty" (1999) survived him

Rachel Taylor

second wife divorced


Hollywood High School

Hollywood , California
was a star mile runner and a baseball player

studied acting with Uta Hagen

American Academy of Dramatic Arts

New York , New York 1946 - 1947
same school his father had attended; one teacher who had taught his father was fond of exclaiming: "Idiot! You are a bigger idiot than your father!" (from The New York Times, October 1995)



Starred opposite Sherry Stringfield as an elderly father who can no longer take care of himself in the CBS movie "Going Home"


Portrayed the dying patriarch Earl Partridge in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia"


Played Mr. Bodwin in Demme's "Beloved", starring Oprah Winfrey


Played the Lear-like patriarch in "A Thousand Acres"


Last stage role to date in Brial Friel's "Molly Sweeney" with Alfred Molina (also for the Roundabout)


Acted in Pinter's "Moonlight" at NYC's Roundabout Theater's new Laura Pels Theater in NYC


Reteamed with Ron Howard for "The Paper"


Starred on Broadway with Christopher Plummer as two elderly British poets in revival of Harold Pinter's "No Man's Land"


Played cold-hearted head of a law firm that dismisses a young colleague (Tom Hanks) with AIDS in Demme's "Philadelphia"


Portrayed the grandfather in The Disney Channel miniseries remake of "Heidi"


Hosted and narrated the 13-part PBS documentary series "On the Waterways"


Again played Abraham Lincoln in the ABC TV-movie "The Perfect Tribute"


Portrayed Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) in "Mark Twain & Me" (The Disney Channel), a TV-movie based on the author's friendship with 11-year-old Dorothy Quick, as chronicled in her autobiographical account, "Enchantment"


Provided the voice of Ulysses S. Grant in Ken Burns' acclaimed PBS documentary "The Civil War"; had previously played Grant in the little-seen "The Legend of the Lone Ranger" (1981)


First collaboration with director Ron Howard, playing the father of grown children (Steve Martin, Dianne Wiest, Harley Kozak and Tom Hulce) in "Parenthood"


Acted a third time (again as the senior Tyrone) in stage production of "Long Day's Journey Into Night", this time a Broadway revival directed by Quintero; done in repertory with O'Neill's lone comedy, "Ah, Wilderness!", in which he played Nat Miller; acte


Copped an Emmy as Henry Drummond in the NBC presentation of "Inherit the Wind"


Only movie to date with son Sam, "Bright Lights, Big City"


Reprised his role as Hickey in Broadway production of "The Iceman Cometh", directed by Quintero


Acclaimed for his portrayal of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov in HBO's "Sakharov"


Starred in the title role of "Max Dugan Returns", scripted by Neil Simon


Portrayed Grandpa Martin Vanderhof in Broadway revival of "You Can't Take It with You"; acted with Dewhurst during course of its run


Played an American doctor fighting to survive in the aftermath of nuclear war in ABC's "The Day After"


Oscar-nominated for his supporting turn as reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes in "Melvin and Howard"; first collaboration with director Jonathan Demme


Received an Emmy nomination for his title portrayal in NBC's "F.D.R -- The Final Years"; also garnered praise as agent and producer Leland Hayward in CBS' "Haywire"


First TV miniseries, "Washington: Behind Closed Doors" (ABC), earned another Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Richard Monckton (a thinly-disguised Richard Nixon)


Snagged second Best Supporting Actor Oscar as Dashiell Hammett in "Julia", based on Hellman's memoir "Pentimento"


Acted in Broadway production of O'Neill's "A Touch of the Poet", directed by Quintero


Earned first Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee in "All the President's Men"


Made last of four TV-movies about the Mills family, "Addie and the King of Hearts"


Earned second Emmy nomination for the "ABC Theatre" presentation of "A Moon for the Misbegotten"


Acted a second time in "Long Day's Journey Into Night", this time in the role of the father, James Tyrone, in a production staged first at Washington DC's Eisenhower Theatre and the following year at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; also directed production


Reteamed with Peckinpah for "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid", playing Governor Lew Wallace (the author of "Ben Hur")


Played James Tyrone Jr opposite Colleen Dewhurst's Josie Hogan in Broadway production of O'Neill's "A Moon for the Misbegotten" (directed by Quintero); stopped drinking for good during its run (a process which he had begun soon after his near-death in the


Was in a car crash on a California highway in the mountains; had no heartbeat when he arrived at the nearest hospital


Played role of James Mills in "The House Without a Christmas Tree", the first of four CBS nearly annual TV-movies exploring the lives of a Nebraska family in the 1940s


Received credit as song performer in Sam Peckinpah's "The Ballad of Cable Hogue", singing "Butterfly Mornin's"; also starred in title role


Acted on Broadway in Joseph Heller's "We Bombed in New Haven", which bombed in New York


Reprised Murray Burns character and received top billing in a feature film for the first time in "A Thousand Clowns"


First played Abraham Lincoln in a TV adaptation of Robert Sherwood's play "Abe Lincoln in Illinois"; received first Emmy nomination


Essayed the role of playwright George S. Kaufman in "Act One", a film adaptation of Moss Hart's autobiography


Starred as Murray Burns in Broadway production of "A Thousand Clowns"


Reprised his role as Jamie Tyrone in Sidney Lumet's film version of "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and starred opposite Jennifer Jones in "Tender Is the Night", based on F Scott Fitzgerald's novel


Acted on Broadway in Lillian Hellman's "Toys in the Atttic", garnering a Tony nomination


Starred as "Macbeth" in a Quintero-directed production in Cambridge, Massachusettes


Film acting debut as a Hungarian freedom fighter in Anatole Litvak's "The Journey"


Acted the part of Dr. Rank in an NBC "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation of Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House"; Julie Harris portrayed Nora and Christopher Plummer was Torvald


Performed together onstage with his father for almost a year in Budd Schulberg's "The Disenchanted", which earned him his only Tony (Best Actor in a Drama) to date for his role as Manley Halliday (a thinly disguised F Scott Fitzgerald)


Played Jamie Tyrone in the original Broadway production of O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night"


Performed in acclaimed Circle in the Square production of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh", directed by Jose Quintero, in which the audience was so close a patron once reached over and touched Robards' cheek; his OBIE-winning protrayal of Hickey revit


Was assistant stage managr at NYC's Playhouse Theatre


Served as assistant stage manager at NYC's 48th Street Theatre


Appeared in Broadway production of "Stalag 17" at 48th Street Theatre


Broadway debut in "The Mikado"


Stage acting debut in "Out of the Frying Pan", Rehoboth Beach, Delaware


Served as a radioman with the US Navy; stationed at Pearl Harbor at the time of the Japanese attack that precipitated American involvement in WWII

Made earliest TV appearances on such dramatic anothology programs as "Windows" (CBS, 1955), "Star Tonight" (ABC, 1955-1956) and "Playhouse 90" (CBS, 1956-1961)

Provided narration for "TR, the Story of Theadore Roosevelt" (PBS, 1996), "Truman" (PBS, 1997) and "U.S.S. Indianapolis: Tragedy at Sea" (Discovery Channel, 1998)

Portrayed Erie Smith in O'Neill's "Hughie" (directed by Quintero) on Broadway and later on tour

Landed in Hollywood at the age of five

Born in Chicago when his father was on the road in a play called "Lightnin'" (as the juvenile lead); grew up in NYC but was often on the road with his parents

Bonus Trivia


He received the Navy Cross (the second highest decoration in the U.S. Navy) for his World War II service


Robards billed himself as Jason Robards Jr until after his father's death in 1963. His first feature credit as Jason Robards came in "A Thousand Clowns" (1965).


Robards has been nominated for a Tony eight times: as Featured Actor for his work in "Long Day's Journey Into Night" (1957) and as Lead Actor for "The Disenchanted" (1959), "Toys in the Attic" (1960), "After the Fall" (1964), "Hughie" (1965), "The Country Girl" (1972), "A Moon for the Misbegotten" (1974) and "A Touch of the Poet" (1978).


Received an honorary DHL degree from Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut in 1982 and an honorary DFA degree from Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusettes in 1983


Presented with the 1997 National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton