Lawrence Dobkin

Active - 1949 - 1994  |   Born - Sep 16, 1919   |   Died - Oct 28, 2002   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Western

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Along with such colleagues as William Conrad, John Dehner, Vic Perrin, Sam Edwards, Barney Phillips, and Virginia Gregg, bald-pated American character actor Lawrence Dobkin was one of the mainstays of network radio in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Dobkin began popping up in films in 1949, playing any number of doctors, lawyers, attach├ęs, military officials, and desk sergeants. Most of his parts were fleeting, many were unbilled: he can be seen as a soft-spoken rabbi in Angels in the Outfield (1951), one of the three psychiatrists baffled by alien visitor Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), an angered citizen of Rome in Julius Caesar (1953), and so on. Enjoying larger roles on TV, Dobkin was generally cast as a scheming villain (e.g., Dutch Schultz on The Untouchables). One of his showiest assignments was as the demented Gregory Praxas, horror film star turned mass murderer, in the 1972 pilot film for Streets of San Francisco. From the early '60s onward, Dobkin was busier as a writer and director than as an actor. He amassed a respectable list of TV directorial credits, as well as one theatrical feature, Sixteen (1972). Habitu├ęs of "speculation" docudramas of the 1970s and 1980s will recognize Lawrence Dobkin as the bearded, avuncular narrator of many of these efforts; he also appeared as Pontius Pilate in the speculative 1979 four-waller In Search of Historic Jesus.

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