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Laurence Luckinbill

Laurence Luckinbill

After serving as a first lieutenant in the US Army Chemical Corps in the mid-1950s, the Arkansas native earned an MFA from Catholic University before migrating to New York to study with Uta Hagen. He made his off-Broadway debut playing the Old Shepherd in a Carnegie Playhouse production of "Oedipus Rex" in 1959. In 1963, he made his Broadway debut as Will Roper, the would-be son-in-law of Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt's "A Man For All Seasons." In addition to appearing in the US national tour of that show, Luckinbill spent many years working around the country at several prestigious theater companies. Among his more notable roles were the title role of "Galileo" at the McCarter Theatre in 1965 and Biff in a 1965 American Conservatory Theatre production of "Death of a Salesman." Among the actors better-known Broadway appearances are as the bisexual Brian in Michael Cristofer's award-winning "The Shadow Box" (1977) and George Schneider, a widower playwright based on Neil Simon in Simon's "Chapter Two" (1979). Like many New York-based actors, Luckinbill broke into TV with roles on soap operas. From 1967-68, he was Frank Carver on "The Secret Storm" (CBS), and later appeared as Steve Prescott on "Where the Heart Is" (CBS, 1969-70). He began making guest appearances on primetime in 1968 with an episode of "NYPD" (CBS) and earned his own series with "The Delphi Bureau" (ABC, 1972-73), in which he was the head of a super-secret government agency. His more memorable guest stints include an episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (CBS, 1975), as Mary's current beau whose son she just can't stand. Luckinbill made his longform debut with "Murder Impossible" (ABC, 1974). That same year, he played Cloris Leachman's husband in "Death Sentence" (ABC), the story of a woman called to jury duty who, in hearing the evidence in a murder case, begins to realize her own husband is the killer. He was the governor of New Jersey in "The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case" (NBC, 1976) and Senator Bob Matthias, leading the congressional support for a Vietnam War Memorial in "To Heal a Nation" (NBC, 1988). He also won praise for his one-man show "Lyndon Johnson" (PBS, 1988), in which he later toured onstage. In miniseries, Luckinbill was Major Richard Arnold in support of "Ike" (ABC, 1979) and narrated "Space" (CBS, 1985). Luckinbill's feature film work has been infrequent and somewhat clustered. After his debut in "The Boys in the Band," he was the husband whose little black book is discovered by Dyan Cannon when he has to go to the hospital in "Such Good Friends" (1971). In the late 70s, Luckinbill played the plastic surgeon who interferes in the relationship between Stephen Collin and Kathleen Quinlan in the soap opera "The Promise" (1979). Concentrating on his stage work, Luckinbill returned in the late 1980s, playing father to Elisabeth Shue in "Cocktail" (1988) and the messianic Vulcan Sybok in "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" (1989). He also frequently does voice-over work in TV commercials and provides narrations for documentaries. Luckinbill has also been an instructor of acting for the State Department in Khartoum, Sudan, and the University of Rome, and at Queensborough Community College in Queens, New York.Formerly married to actress Robin Strasser, Luckinbill married singer-actress Lucie Arnaz. He and Arnaz have frequently appeared together on stage and together produced the Emmy-winning special "Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie" (NBC, 1993).
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