Finding any information on character actor Robert Lussier would take the avid news snooping prowess of his C.A.P.E.R. character, Kurt Klinsinger, who, after a short time, would probably throw his hands up at the task and run home to his mother. In other words, there is precious little information about Robert Lussier on the internet. Even IMDb only has a date of birth, December 14th, but no year, and a place of birth, West Warwick, Rhode Island.
What we do have is an impressive list of credits. Robert Lussier is the very definition of a character actor . . . you know you’ve seen his face before many times but you’ll be hard pressed to come up with his name. He was often seen very briefly in his roles, often playing a shy, milquetoast kind of character with a mother fixation (not unlike Klinsinger). It was not unusual for him to wear glasses in these roles to enhance the meek look. His television acting credits go back to 1965 when he performed in two Prince Street Players productions (which created clever musical versions of classic fairy tales for theater), Jack and the Beanstalk and Pinocchio. He followed this up with a very funny and memorable appearance on That Girl in the episode "The Mating Game" where he played Bachelor #1. In the sixties, he also appeared on episodes of Get Smart and Bewitched.
He continued making very regular television appearances in the 1970's on the shows Bonanza, Big Eddie, Barbary Coast, The Jeffersons, Serpico, Eight is Enough, The Rockford Files, Man from Atlantis, Family, CHiPs, Vegas, The Love Boat, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, B.J. and the Bear and Mrs. Columbo. He made a couple of appearances on ABC After School Specials as well as the ABC Weekend Specials. His first appearance on a children’s television show was in the Sid and Marty Krofft Show The Lost Saucer in 1975. Krofft was a major competitor against The Kids from: C.A.P.E.R. on Saturday morning in 1976 / 77 when Robert Lussier portrayed sniveling reporter Kurt Klinsinger, the longest running character he ever portrayed on any series. He also appeared in the made for TV movie The Night That Panicked America in 1975, which told the story of Orson Welles’ infamous Mercury Theatre radio production of War of the Worlds. And in 1979 he had a role in the TV movie Salem’s Lot, based on the Stephen King book and starring David Soul and James Mason.
This foray into horror was not new to Robert Lussier, who also enjoyed several movie credits in the 1970's, some of which included horror films such as Welcome to Arrow Beach (1974), I Wonder Who’s Killing Her Now? (1975), Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) and The Ransom (1977). He also appeared in the thriller Airport 1975 (1974), the comedies Silent Movie (1976) and Fun With Dick and Jane (1977) and the family film The Magic of Lassie (1978).
The 1980's saw a continuation of his steady television work with appearances in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Sanford, Quincy, M.E, Hart to Hart, The Fall Guy, The Dukes of Hazzard, Madame’s Place, Archie Bunker’s Place, Three’s Company, Silver Spoons, Trapper John, M.D., Hotel, The George Burns Comedy Week and Simon & Simon. He also acted in the 1980 television movie Kenny Rogers as The Gambler based on the popular song, and in a 1986 mini-series entitled Dream West. His film appearances in that decade and beyond include the Michael Keaton comedy and Mr. Mom (1983.) The thriller Heist (2001), starring Gene Hackman and Danny DeVito, is also listed amongst his credits.
Having been so
active in show business for so many years, why did Robert Lussier
suddenly seem to disappear from the profession at the end of the
eighties? Interestingly enough, the actor found his calling in
another profession . . . that of a Benedictine Monk. As reported
in the L.A.
April 13, 1990, Mr. Lussier (or rather we should now say Father Lussier),
decided to join the Pecos
in New Mexico after a week-long retreat to ponder his career and the
state of Hollywood. The fact that the entertainment industry
seemed to be promoting sex and violence more blatantly in its fare was
troubling to the veteran actor. As he was quoted in the article,
"I was being called upon to do some pretty tacky stuff. The
care that people used to take with their productions was missing.
It all seemed to change the minute the non-artistic corporations started
buying film companies." He further commented, "There was
five minutes of pornography in each one." He proceeded to
sell his home, donating a large portion of the profits from the sale to
the monastery, and generously distributed his furnishings amongst his
friends and fellow actors. He continues his devotion as a member
of the Order of Saint Benedict to this day, having served as prior of
the Pecos Benedictine Monastery and more recently having been
interviewed for the Year of the Priest on a local television cable
station. Fortunately for us, this interview is now available to
view on YouTube, and you can watch this episode about
below (this includes a really fascinating Entertainment Tonight
piece about his leaving the entertainment industry for the
priesthood! Unfortunately it may now not be viewable in many
countries due to copyright claims by various entities.)
There was also an article written by Ana Pacheco on SantaFeNewMexico.com about Father Lussier which you can read by clicking here (includes photos!)
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