Family & Companions
Veteran character player of the New York stage since the 1930s who has been a familiar face in TV and films since the 60s. Hughes began his acting career as a member of the Shakespeare Fellowship Company, making his stage debut in a 1934 NY production of "The Taming of the Shrew." He went on to play more than 400 roles on the stage alone. Fame, though, waited until the veteran actor reached his vigorous middle age, when he offered finely nuanced portraits of somewhat flawed doctors, judges, clergymen and other men of authority.
Hughes was memorable in several notable films of the late 60s and early 70s, including "Midnight Cowboy" (1969) as an aging gay john who gets beaten by Jon Voight; as a war-loving general in "Where's Poppa" (1970), and as an apparently lost patient in "The Hospital" (1971). As his features grew more grizzled and his voice endearingly gruff, Hughes came to specialize at playing cantankerous and/or eccentric oldsters (e.g. the vampire-hunting grandfather in "The Lost Boys" 1987; the grandfather of NBC-TV's "Blossom" in its first two seasons). His most celebrated role both on Broadway and in film was "Da" (staged in 1978 and filmed ten years later), an irascible Irish father who visits his son after his death. Hughes won the Tony for best actor for his stage performance.
Hughes became a TV fixture in the 70s with guest shots, superior TV-movies and specials ("Pueblo" 1973 and "The UFO Incident" 1975), and recurring roles on popular sitcoms. He was the often exasperated but always witty Father John Majesky on "All in the Family" and the moody father of Dr. Bob Hartley on "The Bob Newhart Show." Hughes also starred in several enjoyable if short-lived sitcoms, "Doc" (CBS, 1975, 1976), "Mr. Merlin" (CBS, 1981-82), and "The Cavanaughs" (CBS, 1987-89). He memorably pulled out all the stops to play a low down evil landlord who receives a hellish comeuppance in "Trick or Treat" (1983), a syndicated special that served as the pilot for "Tales From the Darkside." Hughes' feature credits in the 90s include the comedies "Doc Hollywood" (1991) and "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" (1993).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Stage debut with Shakespeare Fellowship Co. In a NYC production of "The Taming of the Shrew"
Feature debut, "The Young Doctors"
Acted as a priest and Marcellus in the acclaimed John Gielgud-directed Broadway production of "Hamlet"
Breakthrough feature role, a supporting part in "Midnight Cowboy"
Appeared in the recurring role of Father John Majesky on the landmark sitcom hit, "All in the Family"
Nominated for a Tony for his supporting performance as Dogberry in a Broadway production of "Much Ado About Nothing"
Starred in his first sitcom, "Doc"
Starred in a revised version of "Doc"
Acclaimed for his starring performance in the Broadway production "Da"
Starred as an evil rich man in "Trick or Treat", the pilot for "Tales From the Darkside", a syndicated fantasy horror series
Co-starred with Jason Robards in a Broadway revival of "The Iceman Cometh"
Reprised his Tony award-winning role for the feature adaptation of "Da"
Starred as CIA Director William Casey in the CBS docudrama miniseries "Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North"
Originated the role of the Old Man in the off-Broadway production of "Prelude to a Kiss" and reprised the role on Broadway
Had supporting role in "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit"
Was featured in the ensemble of Tim Robbins' "Cradle Will Rock"