Robert Prosky

30 Nov 2016


Robert Prosky.

"Every role is a journey. You're trying to create another human being, and that's tough."

Film, TV and stage actor Robert Prosky had hundreds of credits to his name when he passed away in 2008. He may be best known for his role as the big-hearted desk sergeant Stan Jablonski on Hill Street Blues from 1984 to 1987, and he appeared in other TV series such as Cheers, Veronica's Closet, Coach, and The Practice. His numerous film roles included a television station owner who exchanged quips with Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), a longtime executive who gets fired in director James L. Brooks' Broadcast News (1987), the defense lawyer for accused killer Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking (1995), and a judge in the 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street. Prosky was also an accomplished stage actor, beginning a long-term affiliation with Washington, DC's Arena Stage in 1958 that lasted through 23 seasons and more than 130 roles, including that of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. Prosky earned Tony Award nominations in two Broadway shows: Glengarry Glen Ross (1984), in which he originated the role of Shelley Levene; and A Walk in the Woods (1988), in which he portrayed a Russian diplomat opposite Sam Waterston as an American arms negotiator.

Prosky spoke to members of Philadelphia's professional theater community in March 2008, while in town to perform Arthur Miller's The Price. He discussed his working-class upbringing, his decades performing at Arena Stage under Zelda Fichandler, and the film career he launched with a bull's eye.