Who is Robert Fuller?

American retired actor and horse rancher Robert Fuller was born as Leonard Leroy Lee in Troy, New York State USA, on 29 July 1933, making Leo his zodiac sign. He appeared in 95 movies and TV series prior to retiring in 2001 and becoming a rancher; Robert’s perhaps still known best for starring as Dr. Kelly Brackett in the critically acclaimed action adventure comedy series “Emergency!”, which also starred Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth, and was created by Harold Jack Bloom and Robert A. Cinader. It follows the crew of Los Angeles County Fire Department, the series aired from 1972 through 1979 and was nominated for only a single award: a 1974 Golden Globe for Best TV Actress – Drama, for Julie London.

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Education and early life

Robert was raised in Troy as an only child, by his mother Elizabeth Lee who was a dance instructor; the name of his biological father hasn’t been revealed, but his mother married Naval Academy officer Robert Simpson Sr. while pregnant, who then raised Robert as his own.

The family moved to Key West, Florida when Robert was six, and his name was changed to Robert Simpson Jr., not long after that. He grew up being interested mostly in dancing and acting; his parents owned a dance school, which Robert attended.

Robert and his parents briefly lived in Chicago, Illinois returning to Florida after a year.

He studied at Miami Military School prior to transferring to Key West High School; Robert dropped out after only a year there because he didn’t like it, and he was 16 when he visited Hollywood, Los Angeles for the first time, and then became a stuntman. He was hired at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, starting off as a doorman, and eventually becoming assistant manager.

He was 18 when his friends persuaded him to enroll at Screen Actors Guild, at which he then honed his acting skills; he was 19 when he changed his name to Robert Fuller.

Roles in movies

Robert’s debut film role was playing a supporting character in the 1952 romantic drama “Come Back, Little Sheba”, while some of his following roles were in the 1952 biographical action “Above and Beyond”, the 1953 western “San Antone”, and the 1953 romantic musical comedy “I Love Melvin”.

He played Chorus Boy in the 1953 romantic musical comedy “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, which starred Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, and was directed by Howard Hanks. It follows showgirls Dorothy Shaw and Lorelei Lee’s trip to Paris, France – the film was nominated for only a single award. Some of Robert’s notable performances in the remainder of the ‘50s were in the 1954 drama “Prisoner of War”, the 1956 sports drama “The Harder They Fall” and the 1960 biographical adventure “Spartacus”.

Robert starred as Vin in the 1966 western action “Return of the Seven”, which also starred Yul Brynner and Julian Mateos, and was directed by Burt Kennedy. It follows Vin and Chris, the only survivors of the original Magnificent Seven as they’re recruiting new members to defeat the bandits attacking several Mexican villages; the movie was nominated for a 1967 Oscar for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment. The remainder of the ‘60s saw Robert appear in the 1968 action adventure “Sinai Commandos: The Story of the Six Day War”, the 1968 thriller “Der Tod im roten Jaguar”, and the 1969 crime mystery “What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?”

He had only a couple of film roles in the ‘70s, and the most popular amongst these was perhaps the 1976 family western “Mustang Country”, in which he starred alongside Patrick Wayne and Joel McCrea, and which was written and directed by John C. Champion. It follows a rancher who’s hunting a wild stallion, and has come across a runaway boy; the movie won a Western Heritage Trustees Award.

Robert appeared in four movies in the ‘80s, including the 1981 drama “Separate Ways”, the 1988 western “Bonanza: The Next Generation”, and the 1990 fantasy horror comedy “Repossessed”.

He had only one other film role prior to retiring, portraying Riverboat Poker Player in the critically acclaimed 1994 action adventure comedy “Maverick”, which starred Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster, and was directed by Richard Donner. It follows the life of poker player Bret Maverick, and the movie won one of its three award nominations, including an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design.

Roles in TV series

Robert’s debut TV series role was playing a supporting character in the 1954 episode “The Portland, Oregon Story: Part 2” of the crime drama “The Man Behind the Badge”, and the remainder of the ‘50s saw him make a guest appearance in an episode of many series, including the action “Man Against Crime”, the drama “Crossroads”, and the mystery adventure “Official Detective”.

From 1959 through 1963, Robert starred as Jess Harper in the western “Laramie”, which also starred John Smith and Spring Byington, and follows Slim Sherman and his 14 years old brother Andy as they’re working on their ranch.

From 1959 through 1965, Robert played Cooper Smith in 60 episodes of the popular western “Wagon Train”, which starred Terry Wilson and Frank McGrath, and follows a wagon train as it’s travelling from Missouri to California; the series was nominated for seven Primetime Emmys. The remainder of the ‘60s saw Robert appear in an episode of the crime adventure comedy “Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre”, the western drama “The Monroes”, and the western “The Big Valley”.

He spent the ‘70s focused on shooting for the above mentioned series “Emergency!”, thus appearing in an episode of only five other TV series, including the crime drama “Adam-12”, the mystery western “Hec Ramsey”, and the western “The Oregon Trail”.

For the following 20 years and prior to his retirement, Robert appeared in an episode or two of numerous series, and had no lead roles; his three final roles were playing Bob McLane in the 2000 episode “Frontier Dad” of the crime mystery “Diagnosis Murder”, Marine Corps General in two episodes of the 2000 crime action “JAG”, and Wade Harper in the 2001 episode “The Final Showdown: Part 1” of the action crime adventure “Walker, Texas Ranger”.

Other credits

Robert performed stunts in the 1957 episode “Ambush” of the drama series “West Point”, the 1957 comedy movie “The Delicate Delinquent”, and the 1973 episode “The Promise” of the action adventure comedy series “Emergency!”

Some of his recent talk-show appearances have been in “In the Bunknhouse with Red Steagall”, “A Word on Westerns” and “Along the Trail”.

Awards and nominations

Robert won four of his six award nominations. He won three Bravo Otto Germany Awards for Best Male TV Star in 1964, ‘65 and ‘66, and a 1989 Golden Boot Award.

Robert was honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 16 April 1975.

Love life and wife

Robert’s married twice. His first wife was the late American actress Patricia Lyon, who appeared in only five TV series and movies; they married on 20 December 1962 and divorced close to 22 years later, in 1984. Robert and Patricia have three children together: Patrick, Christine and Rob; Patricia died from cancer in 1994.

Since 19 May 2001, Robert’s been married to his second wife Jennifer Savidge; she’s an American actress with 49 credits, but is perhaps still known best for playing Claire in the 2001 science fiction comedy movie “Evolution”.

There are no other women whom Robert’s been with, that we know about; he’s married to his second wife Jennifer Savidge as of July 2023, and has three children with his first wife Patricia Lyon (deceased).

Interesting facts and hobbies

Robert’s passionate about music and is a skilled singer; his debut long play (LP) was recorded in Munich, Germany in 1967.

It was in the summer of 2004 that Robert and his wife Jennifer moved to North Texas where they had bought a ranch, and they then began raising horses; Robert’s neighbor was the late American actor Alexander Viespi Jr, who was also his best friend.

His stepfather Robert Simpson Sr. passed away in 2009.

Robert was drafted into the US Army, and served in Korea.

He was passionate about dancing in his youth; Robert began taking lessons in his pre-teens and continued for close to 30 years.

Robert was friends with the late US President Ronald Reagan.

Height, eyes and wealth

Robert’s age is 89. He has blue eyes and black hair, is 5ft 9ins (1.75m) tall and weighs around 155lbs (71kgs).

Robert’s net worth’s been estimated at over $5 million, as of July 2023.

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