Family & Companions
The handsome, easy-going son of famed actors Jason Robards and Lauren Bacall, Sam Robards studied acting and appeared in several plays Off-Broadway before making an impressive screen debut as a suitor to Molly Ringwald in Paul Mazursky's "Tempest" (1982), a savvy adaptation of Shakespeare's deserted island fantasy. He next drunkenly avoided commitment in the coming-of-age drama "Fandango," featuring a then unknown Kevin Costner and Robards' wife-to-be Suzy Amis, before Lewis Gilbert's "Not Quite Jerusalem" (both 1985) saw him play a happy-go-lucky American volunteer for kibbutz life romantically involved with Joanna Pacula. The film adaptation of Jay McInerney's "Bright Lights, Big City" (1988) marked his first association with actor Michael J Fox and the only time to date he has acted in a movie with his father. That same year, he had a supporting role in "Bird," Clint Eastwood's heartfelt biopic of famed jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker. He also portrayed Chaplain Kirk in Brian De Palma's flawed yet majestic Vietnam film, "Casualties of War" (1989), which reteamed him with Fox.
Robards returned to features in a Western starring Amis, "The Ballad of Little Jo" (1993), and landed roles in two 1994 movies, Alan Rudolph's "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle," portraying The New Yorker magazine founder Harold Ross, and Robert Altman's sharp satire of the French fashion industry, "Ready-to-Wear (Pret-a-Porter)" (which also featured Bacall), playing the efficient assistant to an influential fashion editor. After joining the fine ensemble of young talent for Ted Demme's "Beautiful Girls" (1996), Robards provided the voice of Henry in Steven Grynberg's "Love from Ground Zero" (1998) and then appeared in the successful dark comedy "American Beauty" (1999), delivering one of his more memorable feature turns as one of the two Jims (with Scott Bakula), the gay neighbors of the Burnham family.
Robards has enjoyed his best exposure on the small screen. He made his debut as the son of the title character, an imprisoned Argentinean newspaperman, in "Jacobo Timerman: Prisoner Without a Name, Cell without a Number" (NBC, 1983). He went on to play the brother of young man who seemingly disappeared in the fact-based "Into Thin Air" (CBS, 1985) and supported Valerie Bertinelli as "Pancho Barnes" (CBS, 1988) before headlining the short-lived drama series "TV 101" (CBS, 1988-89) as a TV news photographer who returns to his high school to instill some of his passion for journalism into a new generation of students. Robards also co-starred on Fox's wacky sitcom "Get a Life!" its first season (1990-91), playing straight man to series star Chris Elliott.
The 1995 USA movie "Donor Unknown" cast him against type as an ambitious, amoral transplant surgeon willing to stoop to nefarious means to obtain organs for his work. He contributed to two projects dealing with the notorious Nazi Adolph Eichmann, acting in TNT's superb "The Man Who Captured Eichmann" (1996) and voicing Avrahim Aviel for the following year's PBS documentary, "The Trial of Adolph Eichmann. Robards' Sheriff in "Maximum Bob" (ABC, 1998), Barry Sonnenfeld's critically-acclaimed summer series loosely based on the Elmore Leonard novel, was a compassionate sort given to ballroom dancing to compensate for the death of his wife. Cut from the same cloth was his sensitive portrayal of Bobby Riordan, the Florida gym teacher who befriends the battered Fran Benedetto and her son in the CBS-movie "Black and Blue" (1999), adapted from the Anna Quindlen novel. His recurring part as Arthur on ABC's "Spin City" during the 1998-99 season reunited him with series star Michael J. Fox, as they both vied for the affections of the same woman. Robards was back on the big screen playing the adoptive father of a robotic child programmed to love in a futuristic society in "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" (2001).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Acting debut in the Off-Broadway production of "Album"
Feature film debut, Paul Mazursky's "Tempest"
TV-movie debut, "Jacobo Timerman: Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number" (NBC)
Met future wife Suzy Amis while filming "Fandango"
Only feature to date that featured both he and his father Jason in the cast, "Bright Lights, Big City"
Cast in the lead role of the journalism teacher Kevin Keegan in the CBS drama series, "TV 101"
Portrayed Chaplain Kirk in Brian De Palma's "Casualties of War"
Played regular role of Larry Potter on the first season of the comedy series, "Get a Life!" (FOX)
Acted opposite then wife, Suzi Amis in "The Ballad of Little Jo"
Portrayed Harold Ross (founder of <i>The New Yorker</i>) in "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle"
Appeared in Altman's "Ready to Wear (Pret-a-Porter)"; also co-starring his mother Lauren Bacall
Cast against type as an ambitious, amoral transplant surgeon in "Donor Unknown" (USA)
Joined the ensemble of fine young talent in Ted Demme's "Beautiful Girls"
Cast in the TNT movie "The Man Who Captured Eichmann," starring Robert Duvall as Eichmann
Contributed the voice of Avraham Aviel to the PBS documentary, "The Trial of Adolph Eichmann"
Provided the voice of Henry in "Love from Groud Zero"
Had a recurring role as Arthur on the ABC sitcom "Spin City"
With Scott Bakula, portrayed the gay neighbors, in "American Beauty"
Portrayed Mike Riordan in CBS TV-movie "Black and Blue," adapted from the Anna Quindlen novel
Appeared in the Off-Broadway play "The Altruists" by Nicky Silver
Co-starred as the adoptive father of a robotic child in "A.I. Artificial Intelligence"
Acted in the live CBS broadcast of "On Golden Pond"
Received a Tony nomination for his role in Arthur Miller's "The Man Who Had All the Luck"
Appeared as White House correspondent, Greg Brock in season five of "The West Wing" (NBC)
Played a father that gets critically injured in "Catch that Kid"
Co-starred in Henry Jaglom's "Going Shopping" with Victoria Foyt, Lee Grant and Bruce Davison
Played the pompous megalomaniac producer of a reality TV program in "Surviving Eden"
Cast in a recurring role on the CW series "Gossip Girl" as Captain Archibald, Nate's (Chase Crawford) strict father
Took over the role of Richard Hannay in the NYC theatrical run of "The 39 Steps"