Cheese Magnet contributor John Jos. Miller suggested our pick for Cool Actor of the Week this time around, and you won’t find many cooler than Robert Tessier. You might not know his name, but you’ve seen him a hundred times.
Born in 1934, Tessier served in the Korean war as a paratrooper, where he earned a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. His first film was The Born Losers (1967 — the first Billy Jack movie), and afterwards he never stopped working until his untimely death from cancer in 1990. It’s always a pleasure to see Tessier turn up in a movie or TV show, and some of his more memorable appearances include The Longest Yard (1974), The Deep (1977), and one of my all-time favorites, Walter Hill’s Hard Times (1975), where he played bare-knuckle brawler Jim Henry, duking it out with Charles Bronson.
On TV, Tessier turned up in numerous shows, including Little House on the Prairie, Kung Fu, The Incredible Hulk, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Fall Guy, and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Tessier also appeared in several TV commercials, including a series for Midas Mufflers. This one also features Lee Van Cleef and Bo Hopkins:
Tessier even beat the crap out of kitchens and bathrooms, as you’ll see in this clip.
Despite his bad guy roles, Tessier was by all accounts an incredibly nice fellow. In his off hours, he enjoyed making furniture and would give pieces he built to his co-stars. They definitely don’t make ’em like Robert Tessier anymore.