Hailing from Long Beach, California, talented character actor Anthony Zerbe has kept busy in Hollywood and on stage since the late 1960s, often playing villainous or untrustworthy characters, with his narrow gaze and unsettling smirk. Zerbe was born May 20, 1936 in Long Beach, and served a stint in the United States Air Force before heading off to New York to study drama under noted acting coach Stella Adler. He made his screen debut as Dutchie, one of Charlton Heston’s fellow cowhands in the western Will Penny (1967), played a miner in The Molly Maguires (1970), was a post-apocalyptic, lunatic messiah in The Omega Man (1971), hustled a naive Paul Newman in The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), played a leper colony leader in Papillon (1973) and a former lawman gone bad in Rooster Cogburn (1975).
Zerbe also starred alongside David Janssen in the television series Harry O (1973) as the urbane, nattily dressed Lieutenant K.C. Trench, Janssen’s sometime nemesis, for which he picked up an Emmy Award. Definitely in strong demand for sinister roles, Zerbe played a crazed scientist in the corny Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978), was an arrogant father in The Dead Zone (1983), made a great General Ulysses S. Grant in North and South, Book II (1986), starred in the military drama Opposing Force (1986) and suffered a grisly demise in an airlock full of money in the James Bond thriller Licence to Kill (1989). Most recently, Zerbe has been seen as Councillor Hamann in The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003).
In addition to his extensive television and film appearances, Zerbe has appeared in Broadway productions including “The Little Foxes”, “Terra Nova” and “Solomon’s Child”. He was in residence for five summer seasons at The Old Globe Theatre playing several key Shakespearean characters to strong critical acclaim. He has also held residencies at the Theatre of the Living Arts in Philadelphia, the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston. In 2003, he toured across several states with Roscoe Lee Browne in their production of “Behind the Broken Words”, a performance of 20th-century poetry, comedy and drama.
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