|obert Strauss (Nov 08. 1913 - Feb 20. 1975)|
Height: 5' 11" (1,8 m)
(1) Audrey Bratty (1951 - 1960) (divorced)
Deborah Alma (Deja) (Aug 24. 1952) , and twins
Deena Lori and David Jonathan (Dec 30. 1953)
(2) Virginia C. Deeb (Nov. 17 1961 - 20 February 1975)
The burly American character actor with a deep gravelly voice was born as
Robert Strauss (Henry Robert Strauss?) a Jewish son of a theatrical costume designer
As a native of the Bronx he went to James Monroe High
Starting in 1936, off and on for 13 years, Bob was a bartender. His first job was in a Jersey joint as a singing waiter. Most of the time he was tending bar he would entertain the customers, employing such props as wigs and masks. He said there's no better way to study acting. "The best way for an actor to improve in his craft is to study human behavior," he reasoned. "And you certainly see people as they really are from behind a bar."
His mother died Nov.9 1940 aged 68.
Strauss enjoyed only middling success until the following decade, however, when film roles began to materialize for him. He made his Hollywood debut as a grocer in the 1942 Bill of Rights docudrama Native Land.
In the holiday season of 1947, after ten lean months
trying to crash Hollywood, Robert Strauss needed money for coffee
-end-cakes. Someone suggested to Strauss that a lot of harassed Hollywood
parents would pay good money if only they could locate a character actor to
play Santa to their kids. Strauss lost no time in placing an ad in the
cinema bible, The
Hollywood Reporter. Soon after he was playing Santa to the
assorted off-spring of Lloyd Nolan, Ann Sothern, Dorothy Lamour, Hedy Lamarr
and Lou Nova, of the heavyweight division. That was the year Red Skelton
gave a $10,000 school bus to a boy's home, and hired Strauss, in a marvelous
Santa Claus costume, to drive the bus up to the home for the kids. Strauss
fell victim to typecasting and returned to New York and got a part in
Broadway's Detective Story (1949-1950).
Strauss tended bar from New York to Hollywood and finally gave up pouring to become a full time actor in 1949.
In 1951 he married Canadian singer Audrey Bratty. She starred on radio and TV with the famed Leslie Bell Singers. They had three children. Deborah (Aug 24. 1952) who on an exchange student program in High school changed her name to Deja. Deja, Deena and David aka The three Ds was a reference to the short-lived hype of Three-D movies. Deja is married with two daughters and three sons and she and her husband live in Maryland. Deena (Dec 30. 1953) and her daughter and husband reside in Arizona and his son David (Dec 30. 1953) lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
left: Sailor Beware (1952) Jerry Lewis and Robert Strauss.
Due to an illness Robert
collapsed on the set of Atomic Kid
(1954). Three-quarters of the scenes had already been
shot at Republic, but Mickey Rooney was very fond of Strauss and insisted
that the picture wait until he's better. With the prospect of Strauss
being bedded for a month,
Mickey felt so sure that it wasn't a heart condition that he's insisted
on waiting. He telephoned Herbert Yates in New York who consented to the
Strauss still had a hankering for his bar days and, reportedly in 1956, contemplated opening a restaurant near his home at Nyack, N.Y.
Following his appearance in Broadway's Portofino, a short-lived 1958 disaster, Strauss went on to character roles in The Bridges at Toko-Ri and Wake Me When It's Over, plus a number of low-budget films for producers like Albert Zugsmith. He also played Daisy Mae's cretinous suitor Romeo Scragg in the 1959 musical comedy Li'l Abner, based on the Broadway show.
In 1960 Robert and Audrey divorced. Robert married
Virginia Deeb the following year in Santa Barbara on Nov 17. 1961.
Strauss became familiar to television viewers through his appearances in Bonanza (1962), The Beverly Hillbillies (1967), The Monkees (1967), and a recurring role on Bewitched (1966) as conniving private investigator Charlie Leach, who was one of the few mortals who knew Samantha was a witch. He also appeared on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1965), The Phil Silvers Show (1956), and Green Acres (1966). He played a goldfish-poking bad guy who was a murder victim in the 1959 Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Dangerous Dowager." He played Pete Kamboly in a 1965 episode, "The Case of the Thermal Thief."
His final film consisted of a solo "tour de force" performance in the experimental feature The Noah, in this one-man-show (filmed 1968, not seen until 1975), Strauss played the only survivor on earth after a nuclear holocaust.
Above Dagmar's Hot Pants (1971) had Strauss playing opposite Inger Sundh.
Strauss was incapacitated during the final years of his life from the effects of a paralyzing stroke. A stroke in December 1974 left him in a coma. He died from an additional stroke on February 20, 1975. Cremated his ashes given to family or friend.
actor profile is a part of the website
Ellery Queen a website on deduction.
The actor above however, DID NOT play in any of the portrayals of
of the author.
Previously it was, wrongly, assumed he played the role of Doc Prouty in the first Ellery Queen radio series. The profile of the actor Robert W. Strauss that did can be found here (click on his picture for more....)
Page first published on Sep 17. 2017
Last updated Jul 25, 2020