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Robert Fuller (1933)

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  Summary  

Robert Fuller is an American former television Western actor and current rancher. In his five decades of television, he's best known for starring roles on the popular 1960s western series Laramie as Jess Harper, and Wagon Train as Cooper Smith, as well as his work for his lead role, Dr. Kelly Brackett, in the popular 1970s medical drama Emergency!, opposite his best friends Julie London and her husband Bobby Troup.

  Biography  

 early life
An only child, Fuller was born Buddy Lee in Troy, New York, to Betty Simpson, a dance instructor. Prior to Lee's birth, Simpson married Robert Simpson, Sr., a Naval Academy officer. The family moved to Key West, Florida, where Lee took the name of his parents, becoming Robert Simpson, Jr.. The early highlights of Simpson's life were acting and dancing , and after graduating from the Miami Military Academy in 1952, he traveled to Hollywood with his family, where Fuller's first job was a stunt man. He also worked at the prestigious Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Upon establishing his acting career, he changed his name to "Robert Fuller."

 film career
Fuller landed a small role in Friendly Persuasion, where he worked with his future Laramie co-star John Smith. Director William Wyler suggested to Fuller that he grow sideburns for the role, and was he offered the part when he did.

The following year, his first major movie role was Teenage Thunder.

I always wanted to be in show business and with the help of my best buddy, Chuck Courtney, who was an actor then, he helped get me my first starring role in a movie called Teenage Thunder. It was a break for me and since Chuck had the pull at the time to get the director, Paul Helmick, use me for the bad guy and not another actor he really wanted, it was the gateway to many other roles which lead to Laramie series and so on and so forth.

In 1957, he also starred in the science fiction film The Brain from Planet Arous.

Also in 1959, he played an arson character in 'Highway Patrol' starring Broderick Crawford.

Fuller also portrayed a gruff military pilot in the infamous box office dud Megaforce, a movie which he dislikes talking about to this day.

 personal life
Fuller was also an accomplished vocalist and did several 'bandstand gigs' with Bill Aken's 'Los Nomadas' rock group at holiday festivities in Whiskey Flats, California. While acting as Grand Marshall for the local Memorial Day parade, He brought down the house with his vocal rendition of the 1950s song 'Caribbean' singing the same verse over and over. In 1967, he had recorded an EP in Munich, Germany. Most of the songs were recorded in German. Some of the songs include Ein Einsamer Cowboy or "Lonesome Cowboy", Adios Mexicana or "Goodbye Mexican Girl", which was ironic since the title's in Spanish, but the song was sung in German, Uberall Auf Der Welt or "All over the World", Schone Madchen Sind Wie Blumen or "Girls are like Flowers". Whether the album was successful in Germany is unknown.

By the 1990s, Fuller had largely retired from the film business. He has been married to actress Jennifer Savidge (best known for TV's St. Elsewhere) since May 19, 2001. Formerly he was married to Patricia Lee Lyon, with whom he has three children. The two were divorced after 22 years of marriage in 1984.

Since March 18, 1990, Fuller is currently one of the celebrity panels , who in turn attends the annual Festival of the West, a public/private party where die hard fans of his ask him questions about his roles on Laramie, Wagon Train, among the many of his legendary roles on television. He also tells the story about being a cowboy, himself, included at his party, are some country-western dancing, lunch and dinner.

From Oct. 9-11, 1998, Fuller was reunited once again with the rest of the surviving Emergency! cast, at the Emergency! Convention '98, which took place at the Burbank Airport Hilton in Burbank, California. All of the main actors attended except for Julie London . Bobby Troup, who passed away just 4 months after attending the party, was there despite being in frail health. Fuller and the rest of the stars/crew answered some of the fans questions and remembered the times where their cast-mates gotten along so well.

In Mid-2004, Fuller and Jennifer Savidge moved from Los Angeles to Texas, where they live on a ranch.

Fuller presented while honoring another one of his best friends of four decades, James Drury, to award himself with the 2010 Cowboy Spirit Award at Festival of the West, on March 20, 2010.
He also paid tribute to his best friend, John Smith, who passed away 15 years earlier on January 25, 1995. In the tribute, he recounted everything in Smith's life, especially Fuller's on- and off-screen chemistry with him, during his days on Laramie. Smith also attended the Festival of the West, for two seasons, before declining health prevented him from attending.

On Oct. 9, 2010, Fuller was also invited to attend the Wild West Toy Show. He partcipated along with best friends Drury, Don Kay and Don Reynolds. The Wild West Toy Show was held in Azle, Texas, and was an event specializing in buying and exchanging Western merchandising, plus horse riding.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Robert Fuller", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.