(written from a Production point of view)
Jay Robinson (born 14 April 1930; age 86) is an American character actor from New York, New York. In 1968, he appeared on Star Trek: The Original Series, playing Lord Petri, the Troyian ambassador, in the third season episode "Elaan of Troyius".
Robinson's most well-known role is that of Caligula in the 1953 biblical epic The Robe, which also marked his film debut. Star Trek: The Next Generation guest actress Jean Simmons also starred in this film, while Michael Ansara and Anthony Jochim had uncredited roles. Robinson would reprise the role of Caligula the following year in the sequel, Demetrius and the Gladiators, co-starring William Marshall and featuring Julie Newmar in an uncredited role.
In 1955, Robinson co-starred with TOS guest actresses Joan Collins and Leslie Parrish in the historical drama, The Virgin Queen (which, like The Robe, was directed by Henry Koster). The following year, he co-starred with Nehemiah Persoff in The Wild Party.
After recovering from a drug addiction and a career-ruining jail sentence, Robinson returned to acting on television in the late 1960s, and in 1971, he co-starred in the film Bunny O'Hare, directed by Gerd Oswald. He would go on to have roles in such movies as Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972, with Stanley Adams), Nightmare Honeymoon (1973, with David Huddleston, Roy Jenson, and TOS star Walter Koenig), Shampoo (1975, with Joan Marshall), The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982, with Richard Lynch, Anthony De Longis, Jeff Corey, Joseph Ruskin, and George Murdock), and Big Top Pee-wee (1988, with Kenneth Tobey). More recent films include Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 blockbuster version of Bram Stoker's Dracula and the 1993 horror movie Skeeter, which also featured fellow TOS guest stars Charles Napier, Michael J. Pollard, and Barbara Baldavin, as well as an uncredited performance by Richard Herd.
Besides TOS, other TV series on which he has made guest appearances include Mannix, Bewitched, The Wild Wild West, Kolchak: The Night Stalker (with fellow TOS guest actor John Fiedler), The Waltons, Barney Miller (with another TOS guest star, Lee Meriwether), and Murder, She Wrote. In 1974 he appeared in an episode of Planet of the Apes entitled "Tomorrow's Tide", which was directed by Don McDougall and photographed by Jerry Finnerman. It was later edited into the TV movie Farewell to the Planet of the Apes, which also featured Mark Lenard and John McLiam (in footage from other episodes). In addition, he was a regular on The Krofft Supershow, along with Malachi Throne, from 1976 through 1977. He was also a regular on the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives during the 1988-89 season, playing the role of Monty Dolan. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine guest star Bumper Robinson (no relation) was also a part of the cast during that time.
Robinson has appeared in a number of made-for-TV movies as well, including She Lives! (1973, with Anthony Zerbe), and Sinatra (1992, with Bob Gunton, Jeff Corey, Don Stark, Jack Shearer, Marc Grady Adams, and Christopher Carroll). Additionally, from 1997 through 2000, Robinson hosted a Discovery Channel program much like Ripley's Believe It or Not, but with an even more bizarre list of topics. It was entitled Beyond Bizarre.
Other Trek connections
Additional projects in which Robinson appeared with other Star Trek performers include:
- Three the Hard Way (1974 film, with Corbin Bernsen and Irene Tsu)
- I Wonder Who's Killing Her Now? (1975 film, with Richard Libertini and Ian Wolfe)
- Born Again (1978, with Bill Zuckert and Byron Morrow)
- The Man with Bogart's Face (1980, with Gregg Palmer, Ed McCready, and Bill Catching)
- Memories Never Die (1982 TV movie, with Barbara Babcock)
- Partners (1982, with Wendy Hughes, Seamon Glass, and Ed McCready)
- The Malibu Bikini Shop (1986, with Charlie Brill, Bruce Greenwood and Jon Rashad Kamal)
Robinson starred in several direct-to-video productions of plays by William Shakespeare throughout the early 1980s, including Othello (1981, with William Marshall in the title role), Macbeth (1981, with Alan Oppenheimer), and The Taming of the Shrew (1983, with Bruce Davison, Larry Drake, and Bill Erwin).