Tony Roberts

Active - 1965 - 2014  |   Born - Oct 22, 1939 in New York, New York, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Those who heard the voice of actor Tony Roberts on the 1970s dramatic series "The CBS Radio Mystery Theater" may not have been aware that by performing before a mike, he was maintaining a family tradition. Roberts was the son of announcer Ken Roberts and the cousin of actor Everett Sloane, both alumni of such golden age radio endeavors as "The Mercury Theatre of the Air" and "The Shadow." After studying acting at Northwestern University, the lanky, curly headed Roberts struck out for New York, working in commercials ("Boss, you've got bad breath! Bad breath!") before landing a regular stint on the TV soap opera The Edge of Night. His long-term friendship and professional relationship with comedian/writer/director Woody Allen began when Roberts was cast as Diane Keaton's husband in Allen's Broadway production Play It Again, Sam in 1969. Since that time, Roberts has appeared in such Allen efforts as Annie Hall (1977), Stardust Memories (1980), A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982), and Radio Days (1987). On prime time TV, Roberts co-starred in the 1977 adventure series Rossetti and Ryan. In 1995, Tony Roberts co-starred on Broadway with Julie Andrews, playing a flamboyant homosexual cabaret entertainer in the musical version of Andrews' 1981 movie vehicle Victor/Victoria.

Movie Highlights

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  • Made Broadway debut in 1962's Something About a Soldier.
  • Began his long-time association with Neil Simon in the 1962 touring production of Come Blow Your Horn.
  • Played a regular featured role on the soap The Edge of Night beginning in 1965.
  • Big break came when he went on for Robert Redford's understudy, due to an injury, in Barefoot in the Park; later took over the lead role.
  • Working relationship with Woody Allen began in 1966 when he appeared in Allen's Broadway hit Don't Drink the Water; Allen didn't want him because his five auditions were terrible and hired him only after being persuaded to see him in Barefoot in the Park.
  • Received back-to-back Tony nominations in 1968-69 for How Now, Dow Jones and Play It Again, Sam.
  • Directing debut came in 1992 when he helmed Charles Grodin's Off-Broadway comedy One of the All-Time Greats.
  • Served as president of Theatre Authority.