Family & Companions
A tall, blond, ruggedly handsome actor of stage, film and TV, David Rasche may be best remembered by sitcom cultists as the dim-witted but gung ho hero cop of "Sledge Hammer!" (ABC, 1986-88), a likably broad parody of Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry," and as Jack Trenton, the crooked financier doing court-ordered hospital community service, from 1992-94 on the NBC's "Nurses."
Born in St. Louis but raised in Illinois, Rasche received his theatrical training at Chicago's celebrated Second City. He eventually replaced John Belushi in the company that also included Gilda Radner, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. By 1974, the actor had forged ties with playwright David Mamet by appearing in Mamet's "Sexual Perversity in Chicago." Over the next two decades, Rasche amassed a number of distinguished stage credits in productions ranging from Michael Cristofer's Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Shadow Box" (1977) to the genial comedy "Lunch Hour" (1980). In the latter, he co-starred with Gilda Radner under Mike Nichols' direction. Like William H Macy, Rasche has also emerged as one of the premiere interpreters of Mamet's plays. He won high praise for putting his own spin on the shark-like film executive in "Speed-the-Plow" in 1988, replacing original star Ron Silver and as the lead in a 1997 revival of "Edmond."
On the small screen, Rasche has successfully played off his Midwestern charm and cherubic countenance to generally play schemers and smarmy professionals. While his extensive credits include guest shots on "Miami Vice" and "Kate & Allie," he has also had regular or recurring roles on several series, notably "L.A. Law," "Sara" and "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill." More recently, he was the slick co-owner of a publishing house on the short-lived CBS comedy "High Society" (1995-96). He has fared somewhat better in longforms, appearing in such prestige productions as NBC's experimental "Special Bulletin" (1983) and HBO's stunning "Barbarians at the Gate" (1993). Rasche has also done voice work for animated projects, including the CBS Saturday morning "Santo Bugito" in 1995.
Features have provided fewer opportunities for the stage veteran. Rasche debuted playing an actor in Woody Allen's TV show in "Manhattan" (1979) and went on to play bit parts and supporting roles in "Native Son" (1986), as the district attorney who prosecutes Bigger Thomas, in Alan Rudolph's "Made in Heaven" (1987), as a naked man who encounters prospective homeowner Kelly McGillis, "An Innocent Man" (1989), as a cop who helps frame Tom Selleck, and "Delirious" (1991), as a morally ambiguous denizen of John Candy's soap opera world. He had one of his best feature film roles playing Bette Midler's "Let's feel good" shrink husband in "That Old Feeling" (1997).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
While a college student, enrolled in a Second City workshop in Chicago
First collaboration with David Mamet, appeared in original Chicago stage production of "Sexual Pervisity in Chicago"
Moved to New York City
Appeared in the Broadway production of Michael Cristofer's "The Shadow Box"
Debuted on TV playing a recurring role on the ABC soap "Ryan's Hope"
Made feature debut in Paul Mazursky's "An Unmarried Woman"
TV-movie debut, "Sanctuary of Fear/Girl in the Park" (NBC)
Played a bit part in Woody Allen's "Manhattan"
Appeared opposite Gilda Radner in the Broadway production of "Lunch Hour"; directed by Mike Nichols
Starred as a conservative TV preacher in "Hellfire" (syndicated)
Cast in the short-lived NBC series, "Sara," starring Geena Davis in the title role
Played the title role in the ABC spoof series "Sledge Hammer!"
Replaced Ron Silver in David Mamet's "Speed-the-Plow" on Broadway
Featured in the Oscar-winning short, "Ray's Male Heterosexual Dance Hall"
Joined the cast of the NBC sitcom "Nurses" as Jack Trenton
Produced first play "Jackie" in Los Angeles
Co-starred on the short-lived CBS sitcom "High Society"
Returned to the NY stage in Mamet's revival of "Edmond"
Played Bette Midler's second husband in "That Old Feeling"
Cast in several episodes of "Suddenly Susan" (NBC)
Played Ashley Judd's father in "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood"
Portrayed the late Donald Greene, one of the heroic passengers of doomed flight 93, in Paul Greengrass' "United 93"
Played the President in "The Sentinel," starring Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland
Played the role of Robert Gardner on the ABC soap "All My Children"
Played a CIA officer in the Coen brothers' "Burn After Reading"
Starred in the Broadway adaptation of "To Be or Not to Be"; production closed after two months
Joined the cast of ABC's "Ugly Betty" as recurring character, Cal Hartley
Played a State Department bigwig in the political satire "In the Loop"