American character actor widely seen in film and television during the 1950s and '60s. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 5, 1908, to railroad agent Miller Foulk and his wife, the former Alice Casselberry, Robert Foulk attended the University of Pennsylvania as an architecture student. While in school, he became interested in theatre and by the age of 23 had made his Broadway debut as Jake Canon in "As Husbands Go." He reprised the role two years later, and supplemented his acting work by helping cast road companies of Broadway hits and by working with the press agents of various shows. He became friendly with legendary Broadway director-producer-actor George Abbott while playing Watson Brown in "John Brown," a Broadway flop about the abolitionist leader (played by Abbott). Foulk began a long period of employment under Abbott in a string of Broadway hits: "Boy Meets Girl," "Brother Rat," and "Room Service," in which Foulk understudied Eddie Albert. An encounter with Bette Davis led to Foulk's hiring by Warner Bros., not as an actor, but as a dialog director. He moved to Hollywood in 1939 and worked in that capacity on a number of films including The Sea Hawk (1940) and The Maltese Falcon (1941). In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces and was assigned to make training films with the First Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California. Discharged in 1946, he worked for Cecil B. DeMille as dialog director on Unconquered (1947) and then made his (non-military) film debut in Road House (1948). He quickly became a familiar face in movies, playing police officers, Western sheriffs, thugs, and many other types, often of a none-too-bright intelligence. He had recurring roles on numerous TV series including Lassie (1954), Bonanza (1959), The Rifleman (1958), Father Knows Best (1954), and as Curly Bill Brocius on Tombstone Territory (1957). Foulk continued his avocation of architecture, designing houses, including one for playwright Sam Spewack. He worked in local theatre in and around Los Angeles, though he never returned to Broadway. He was married briefly in 1933 to actress Alice Frost. He married actress Barbara Slater in 1947. They had one daughter, June Landis Foulk, born 20 July 1948. Robert Foulk died 25 February 1989.
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