Though his tall stature presented problems early on in his career, actor Richard Moll used his 6-foot-8-inch height to his advantage playing the dimwitted but loveable bailiff Bull Shannon on the hit sitcom "Night Court" (NBC, 1984-1992). Prior to that career-defining role, Moll had spent the better part of a decade languishing in commercials, forgettable features and undistinguished made-for-television movies. But as one of the more popular characters on "Night Court," he was able to branch out into larger films and even voiceover work on animated series, often relishing the chance to play the bad guy. After "Night Court" wrapped for good, Moll found life in animation as the voice of Harvey Dent/Two-Face on "The Adventures of Batman & Robin" (Fox, 1992-95) and Scorpion on "Spider-Man: The Animated Series" (Fox, 1994-98), while finding time for small parts in big studio movies like "The Flintsones" (1994), "Jingle All the Way" (1996) and "Scary Movie 2" (2002). Though he failed to find another high-profile role like he did with "Night Court," Moll nonetheless remained an in-demand character actor in a variety of screen projects.
Born on Jan. 13, 1943 in Pasadena, CA, Moll was raised by his father, Harry, a lawyer, and his mother, Violet, a nurse. Despite being six-foot tall by the time he was 12, Moll was never adept at playing basketball - or any other sport for that matter. Instead, he strove toward being a good student. While attending the University of California, Berkeley, Moll studied psychology, but tired of the focus on science over human behavior, and switched to history. He soon realized, however, that being a history major led one to become a lawyer or teacher and not much else, and graduated without much idea of what he wanted to do. Moll tried being a probation officer, but left that ambition behind in less than a year. He moved on to stock women's hosiery at a department store and around that time, realized his life was on track to nowhere. Moll began studying acting with a coach in San Francisco, and in a few years, made the move to Los Angeles. Despite having found something to achieve, Moll discovered that his height - by then he towered over most everyone at 6-feet-8-inches - posed a greater challenge than first anticipated.
Having landed representation that believed in him, Moll began nabbing commercial gigs, playing a pirate for Pepsi and a cowboy for the fast food chain Jack-in-the-Box. He graduated to television with a role in the small screen movie "The Jericho Mile" (ABC, 1979), before appearing in features as the Abominable Snowman in "Caveman" (1981) and an anonymous Beat poet in "American Pop" (1981). Following parts in "The Archer: Fugitive From the Empire" (NBC, 1981) and "The Sword and the Sorcerer" (1982), Moll landed the role that came to define him, playing the dimwitted, but good-natured bailiff Bull Shannon on the subversive sitcom, "Night Court" (NBC, 1984-1992), which centered around the shenanigans of the night shift of a Manhattan court presided over by a young unorthodox judge (Harry Anderson). Rounding out the cast was a smarmy, sex-obsessed prosecutor (John Larroquette), an honest, but naïve public defender (Markie Post), and an easy-going, cardigan-wearing court clerk (Charles Robinson). During the first three seasons, the show lost two cast members to cancer - Selma Diamond and Florence Halop, both of whom were bailiffs with acerbic senses of humor who served as mother figures to Moll's man-child character. Starting with season four, producers cast the much younger Marsha Warfield, though her relationship to Bull was relatively the same as with the other older women.
Though John Larroquette became the runaway star of the show, Moll's loveable character also became a favorite among fans. During his time on the show, the actor increased his profile with feature films like "The Dungeonmaster" (1986) and "House" (1986), as well as with small screen flicks such as "If It's Tuesday, It Still Must Be Belgium" (NBC, 1987) and "Class Cruise" (NBC, 1989). Though prominent on the show, hard-to-cast Moll had trouble finding significant parts in other projects, settling for little-seen movies like "Wicked Stepmother" (1989), "Think Big" (1990) and "Driving Me Crazy" (1991). After "Night Court" presided over its final case in 1992, Moll landed a recurring role on the sitcom "Getting By" (NBC, 1992-94), starring Cindy Williams, before appearing in an episode of the cult sci-fi hit "Babylon 5" (TNT, 1993-99). Moll moved smoothly into voiceover work with "The Adventures of Batman & Robin" (Fox, 1992-95), giving life to the animated Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Also at the time, he voiced the bodyguard to the title character of the animated "Mighty Max" (syndicated, 1993-94) and Scorpion for a season of "Spider-Man: The Animated Series" (Fox, 1994-98). Meanwhile, he appeared in live action movies like "The Flintstones" (1994), the Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy "Jingle All the Way" (1996), and the direct-to-video sequel, "Caspar Meets Wendy" (1998).
In 1999, Moll was cast against type for the satirical romantic comedy, "But I'm a Cheerleader," playing a gay man who, along with his partner (Wesley Mann), shepherd teenagers sent to a re-education camp by parents who suspect they are homosexual. He continued to make appearance on television, compiling episodes of "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" (ABC/The WB, 1996-2003), "7th Heaven" (The WB/The CW, 1996-2007) and "Smallville" (The WB/The CW, 2001-11). Following bit parts in the studio-made movies "Evolution" (2001) and "Scary Movie 2" (2002), Moll landed more significant parts in made-for-television films like "No Place Like Home" (2003) and "The Headless Horseman" (Syfy, 2007). Following a supporting role in the limited release horror flick "Nightmare Man" (2006), Moll played Big Jim opposite Peter O'Toole, Marcia Gay Harden and Ed Asner in the straight-to-DVD release, "Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage" (2007), before returning to series television for a guest appearance on the popular "Cold Case" (CBS, 2003-2010).