R.G. Armstrong Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (5)

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Died in Studio City, California, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameRobert Golden Armstrong Jr.
Nickname Bob
Height 6' 3" (1.91 m)

Mini Bio (1)

A golden career was reflected in his name. Robert Golden Armstrong ("Bob" to his friends) was born in Birmingham, Alabama on April 7, 1917. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While there, he was frequently performing on stage with the Carolina Playmakers. After graduating, R.G. headed to New York, where his acting career really took off. In 1953, along with many of his Actors Studio buddies, he was part of the cast of "End As a Man" -- this became the first play to go from off-Broadway to Broadway. The following year, R.G. got his first taste of movies, appearing in Garden of Eden (1954). However, he returned to New York and the live stage. He received great reviews for his portrayal of Big Daddy in the Broadway production of "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof" in 1955.

In 1958, R.G. took the plunge to Hollywood -- he appeared in two movies, a television series, and did numerous guest appearances on television series that year, usually in Westerns such as The Rifleman (1958), Have Gun - Will Travel (1957) and Zane Grey Theatre (1956), among others. He would go on to appear in 80 movies and three television series in his career, and guest-starred in 90 television series, many of them Westerns, often as a tough sheriff or a rugged land baron. R.G. was a regular cast member in the television series T.H.E. Cat (1966), playing tough, one-handed Captain MacAllister. During the filming of Steel (1979) in Kentucky, watching the mammoth Kincaid Tower being built, he made some good friends in the cast: "You become a family on the set," he said in an interview at the time.

Even though he had a long, versatile career, the younger generation knows him as the demonic Lewis Vandredi (pronounced VON-drah-dee), who just would not let the main characters have a good night's sleep on the television series Friday the 13th: The Series (1987). Finally retiring after six successful decades in show business -- his last film appearance was Purgatory (1999) -- R.G. and his lovely wife Mary Craven were mostly just enjoying life in California, and still traveled and vacationed in Europe occasionally. His upbeat, fun-loving personality made him a delight for all who come in contact with him. R.G. Armstrong died at age 95 of natural causes in Studio City, California on July 27, 2012.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: kdhaisch@aol.com

Spouse (3)

Mary Craven (19 July 1993 - 1 November 2003) (her death)
Susan M. Guthrie (30 December 1973 - January 1976) (divorced)
Ann Neale (1952 - March 1972) (divorced) (4 children)

Trivia (13)

Was credited as R. K. Armstrong in the English-language version of My Name Is Nobody (1973) (My Name is Nobody).
Frequently cast by directors Sam Peckinpah and Warren Beatty.
Has a masters' degree in English from the University of North Carolina, and trained at the famed Actors Studio in New York.
Profiled in "Names You Never Remember, With Faces You Never Forget", by Justin Humphreys (BearManor Media).
Has four daughters - Robbie Armstrong-Dunham, Laurie Nell, Daryl Armstrong and Betty and one son - Wynn Armstrong.
After meeting writer / director Sam Peckinpah on the set of his 1960 series The Westerner (1960), Armstrong became a regular in his films--playing an outspoken Christian fundamentalist in Ride the High Country (1962), with Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea; a minister in Major Dundee (1965) with Charlton Heston in the title role; and a vicious deputy sheriff alongside Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan (in a small role) in Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973).
Armstrong initially enrolled at Samford University. While there he became interested in acting, and transferred to the University of North Carolina. While there (along with classmate Andy Griffith) he began acting on stage with the Carolina Playmakers. Upon graduating he attended the Actors Studio.
He won considerable acclaim for his role in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" on stage. He also began writing his own plays, which were performed off-Broadway.
Armstrong was semi-retired from films, continuing to be active in off-Broadway theater, until retiring because of near-blindness.
Attended Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio in the mid-1950s.
Died 24 days after the death of his best friend, Andy Griffith.
Was hunting buddy with high school classmate a.m. leonard. Their fathers also hunted together--in Birmingham in those days hunting was the only way to put meat on the table.
Became unlikely but close friends with Robert Beck, AKA Iceberg Slim, the infamous pimp turned author! According to a documentary regarding the life of Beck.

Personal Quotes (2)

I had to learn it the hard way. I studied with Lee Strasberg. Acting is not acting. It's being. If you have the kind of personality makeup where you can transform into being the character in that situation, it brings about authenticity. You get a feel of the situation, the line in a scene and where your hearts goes to in a scene and you always keep that in mind.
[on why he excelled at playing crazed backwoods preachers and religious zealots] I've always loved Walter Huston in Duel in the Sun (1946) as a preacher. I've always wanted to play some preachers like that 'cause my mother wanted me to be a preacher so bad, it broke her heart when I didn't. That wasn't my cup of tea. I had repressed a lot of things in me from my father's action and behavior towards his children. I didn't want to be a man like that, I didn't want to be violent, so I repressed it. When they started giving me these villains, I started drawing on that and I saw I had all the fury of hell and violence there, that I was really psychotic inside, because I could go into an instant rage or hostility. It was not acting, it was real. And they just kept giving these parts to me.

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