A highly engaging, charismatic, and reliable character actor with a long and distinguished career spanning half a century, Jerry Hardin has been gracing both the big and small screen, and stage, with many enjoyable performances, highlighted by a relaxed and pleasing Southern twang. Born November 20, 1929, in Dallas, Texas, where his father was a rancher, Hardin was raised outside the city, where he first began acting in school productions. This would lead to a scholarship to Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and a Fulbright scholarship to the Royal Academy for Dramatic Art in London. He had his first (uncredited) film role in the classic drive-in flick, Thunder Road (1958), starring Robert Mitchum, and, by 1961, had racked up an impressive amount of over 75 theatre credits. He became incredibly prolific in the 1970s, when his film career really took off, and he also started appearing regularly on TV series, including Gunsmoke (1955), Starsky and Hutch (1975), The Streets of San Francisco (1972), Little House on the Prairie (1974), The Rockford Files (1974), Miami Vice (1984), L.A. Law (1986), Melrose Place (1992), Murder, She Wrote (1984) and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993). A particularly memorable performance, by Mr. Hardin in this medium, was that of Mark Twain in episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). He would also prove to be in high demand for film roles, appearing in the likes of Wolf Lake (1980), Heartland (1979), 1941 (1979), Honky Tonk Freeway (1981), Reds (1981), Missing (1982), Honkytonk Man (1982), Cujo (1983), The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), Warning Sign (1985), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Wanted: Dead or Alive (1986), The Hot Spot (1990), The Firm (1993), Ghosts of Mississippi (1996), Hidalgo (2004) and Are We There Yet? (2005). His performance as one of the subtly sinister senior partners in The Firm (1993) impressed The X-Files (1993) creator Chris Carter enough that Carter would create the character of “Deep Throat” with him in mind, and it’s this role that is definitely one of Hardin’s most famous. A noteworthy stage performance of his was in the play, “The Rainmaker”, working alongside Jayne Atkinson, Woody Harrelson and David Aaron Baker.
Hardin’s wife is actress and acting teacher Diane Hardin (her students have included Leonardo DiCaprio, Hilary Swank, Stephen Dorff, River Phoenix, Kellie Martin and Christopher Masterson), his daughter is actress Melora Hardin, and his son Shawn Hardin was chief operating officer, in-charge-of product, for NBC-1 in San Francisco.
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