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: 07/25/1922 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Actor (10)

Broadway Legends 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

Wild in the Country 1961 (Movie)

Judge Parker (Actor)

A Game of Death 1946 (Movie)

(Actor)

Bedlam 1946 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Falcon's Alibi 1946 (Movie)

(Actor)

Mademoiselle Fifi 1944 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Master Race 1943 (Movie)

Jacob (Actor)

Broadway Bill 1934 (Movie)

Arthur Winslow (Actor)

Damaged Lives 1932 (Movie)

(Actor)

Law of the Tong 1930 (Movie)

(Actor)

Biography

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.

Relationships

Jason Nelson Robards III

Son
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

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

Lois O'Connor

Wife
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

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

Jason Robards

Father
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

Mother
lived to be 97, dying in 1996

Sarah Robards

Daughter
mother, Eleanor Pitman survived him

Shannon Robards

Daughter
mother, Lois O'Connor survived him

David Robards

Son
mother, Eleanor Pitman survived him

Jake Robards

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

Sam Robards

Son
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

Wife
second wife divorced

EDUCATION

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)

Milestones

2000

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

1999

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

1998

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

1997

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

1996

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

1995

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

1994

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

1994

Reteamed with Ron Howard for "The Paper"

1993

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

1993

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

1991

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

1991

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"

1991

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

1990

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)

1989

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

1988

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

1988

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

1988

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

1985

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

1984

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

1983

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

1983

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

1983

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

1980

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"

1980

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

1977

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

1977

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

1977

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

1976

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

1976

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

1975

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

1975

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

1973

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

1973

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

1972

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

1972

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

1969

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

1968

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

1965

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

1964

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

1963

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

1962

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

1962

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

1960

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

1959

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

1959

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

1959

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

1958

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)

1957

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

1956

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

1952

Was assistant stage managr at NYC's Playhouse Theatre

1951

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

1951

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

1947

Broadway debut in "The Mikado"

1947

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

1939

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

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

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

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)

Landed in Hollywood at the age of five

Bonus Trivia

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

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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).

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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).

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

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

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