Jay Robinson

Active - 1953 - 1998  |   Born - Apr 14, 1930   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Science & Technology, Mystery, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Twenty-three-year-old actor Jay Robinson could not have asked for a better screen debut than the showcase role of the mad Emperor Caligula in The Robe (1953). Robinson followed this triumph by reviving Caligula for the 1954 sequel Demetrius and the Gladiators, and then -- by his own account -- became so full of himself that few producers wanted to have anything to do with him. After his 1957 arrest for narcotics possession, Robinson found himself persona non grata in Hollywood. Spending most of the next 13 years out of work, he was rescued by Bette Davis, who insisted that Robinson be cast in an important role in her 1971 feature Bunny O'Hare. Far humbler than in his salad days, Robinson made a slow, steady comeback in such gemlike supporting parts as "The Conscience" in Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex... (1972), and Warren Beatty's demanding boss Norman in Shampoo (1975). Continuing to essay character roles into the 1990s, Robinson was seen as Vincent in 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula. On television, Jay Robinson played Monte Dolan on the daytime drama Days of Our Lives, and revived many of his "Caligula" eccentricities as addled scientist Dr. Shrinker on the Saturday morning extravaganza Krofft Supershow (1976-77).

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