Fair, light-haired 70s and 80s TV actor Gary Sandy was born in 1945 and raised in Ohio. He attended Ohio’s Wilmington College and later improved on his chances of an acting career by moving to New York City, studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. While there he made his professional debut in 1970 with a soap opera part written especially for him. Following his short stint on “As The World Turns,” he visited a number of soap sets during a seven-year period as assorted, often menacing — “Another World,” “Somerset” and “The Secret Storm.”
In between his soap trysts Gary made his Broadway bow in “Saturday, Sunday, Monday” (1974), which was directed by Franco Zeffirelli of “Romeo and Juliet” film fame. A couple of small movie parts eventually led to noticeable turns on TV, especially with Norman Lear’s short-lived All That Glitters (1977). This, in turn, segued into his best known character on TV, that of hunky radio program director Andy Travis in the four-season sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati (1978). While Gary was a firm anchor and enjoyed top billing as the good-looking, All-American ‘nice guy’ lead, he was frequently overshadowed by his flashy supporting cast, which included ‘hip’ DJ Howard Hesseman and blonde bombshell Loni Anderson. The show would return in syndication in 1991 but without Gary and most of the others.
Despite a slimness of offers, Gary maintained for a time as a TV guest star, then reverted back to his first love — the theatre. Musical roles have since ranged from the slick and preening (The Pirate King in Broadway’s “The Pirates of Penzance” and Billy Flynn in “Chicago”) to playing the down-home charmer (Harold Hill in “The Music Man” and Will Rogers in “Will Rogers Follies”). During this time Gary also appeared in a few musical misfires based on critically successful plays. “Sheba”, the musical adaptation of Come Back, Little Sheba, and “Windy City” based on The Front Page, went nowhere. In 2004, he even opened in a Texas-styled musical version of Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor. Also mixed in have been straight comedy and drama, essaying roles in classic Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill plays. One of his finest hours on stage was in the challenging one-man 1985 production “Billy Bishop Goes to War” in which he enacted 17 roles.
Seen here and there on camera, including the horror film Mommy’s Day (1997) with grown-up demonic “Bad Seed” Patty McCormack. His last TV movie was A Place Called Home (2004). Gary is the perfect example of a committed and talented actor willing to persevere through good times and bad, closely moving in on his fourth decade of performing. He is not married.
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