Robert Tessier


Biography

Beefy and imposing at over six feet tall, the actor (and stuntman) Robert Tessier was a perfect physical specimen for specializing in heavies. He made his acting debut in "Born Losers," a low-budget American International biker pic directed by Tom Laughlin--the first film to feature the "half-breed" cult hero Billy Jack, a Western-style vigilante who fought against prejudice. It probably...

Biography

Beefy and imposing at over six feet tall, the actor (and stuntman) Robert Tessier was a perfect physical specimen for specializing in heavies. He made his acting debut in "Born Losers," a low-budget American International biker pic directed by Tom Laughlin--the first film to feature the "half-breed" cult hero Billy Jack, a Western-style vigilante who fought against prejudice. It probably wasn't coincidental that Tessier was of Algonquin descent. Most of the actor's early work was done on a shoestring budget; he rode out the biker-movie cycle (propagated by movies like "Born Losers" and "Easy Rider") of the late 1960s and early '70s before he struck a big Hollywood hit: "The Longest Yard," in which he played a karate-chopping convict who played football with Burt Reynolds. He was a fighter again in Walter Hill's brutal period piece "Hard Times," which starred Charles Bronson in one of his seminal roles: a rugged, bare-fisted boxer. Tessier had guest spots on popular TV shows of the time, like "The Dukes of Hazzard," "CHiPs," "The A-Team," and "Fantasy Island," and appeared in major-studio productions like "The Deep" and "Cannonball Run." Tessier's 20-year-long movie career was cut short by cancer; his last film, "Fists of Steel," was released posthumously.

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