Bruce began his acting career in 1973, with the prominent role of ‘Rick Welsh,’ a 'University of Minnesota' track star, in an episode of the 'CBS' sitcom 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show.' He then starred as ‘Bobby Joe’ in the 1975 film 'Sixpack Annie,' which marked his first film appearance.
Bruce's first regular role on TV was as ‘Luke Macahan’ in the 'ABC' Western 'How the West Was Won' (25 episodes, from 1976–1979). He played ‘Billie Joe Robbins,’ a pool player under the tutelage of legendary player ‘Nick Casey’ (played by James Coburn) in the 1980 film 'The Baltimore Bullet.'
Bruce appeared as a young poker player named ‘Billy Montana’ in the 'Emmy'-nominated 1980 'CBS' movie 'Kenny Rogers as the Gambler,' a role he continued to reprise in the installments 'Kenny Rogers as the Gambler: The Adventure Continues' (1983), 'Kenny Rogers as the Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues' (1987), and 'Gambler V: Playing for Keeps' (1994).
Bruce portrayed Frank Buck, the real-life animal collector, actor, director, and producer, in 17 episodes (1982–1983) of the 'CBS' adventure 'Bring 'Em Back Alive.'
The 1983 'NBC' movie 'I Married Wyatt Earp' featured Bruce as Wyatt Earp, the real-life American frontiersman who is a regular character in well-known Westerns. From 1983 to 1987 (89 episodes), he played ‘Lee Stetson ("Scarecrow")’ in the 'CBS' adventure series 'Scarecrow and Mrs. King.' Bruce then began featuring in commercials for the 'Lauder for Men' range of the skincare brand 'Estee Lauder.'
Bruce had a prominent role, as ‘Joey,’ in the 1990 Australian film 'Breakaway.' He appeared as a real-life personality again when he played American professional baseball player Joe Dugan in the 1992 biographical 'The Babe.' That year, he was seen as ‘Brad Kuffs,’ a ‘San Francisco Patrol Special Police’ employee, in the action–comedy 'Kuffs' and as ‘Jack Hart’ (lead) in the thriller 'Double Jeopardy.'
Bruce was cast as ‘Davis Healy’ in 'Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice' (1994), the TV movie version of the classic series 'Gunsmoke.' He joined the cast of the space opera drama 'Babylon 5' (season 2) as ‘Captain John J. Sheridan’ and continued till season 5 (1994 to 1998). He earned a 'Saturn Award' nomination for the role.
Bruce played ‘Captain John J. Sheridan’ again in the science-fiction TV movie versions 'Babylon 5: In the Beginning' and 'Babylon 5: Thirdspace' (both released in 1998) and then appeared as ‘President John J. Sheridan’ in 'Babylon 5: A Call to Arms' (1999) and 'Babylon 5: The Lost Tales' (2007).
Bruce was signed to play ‘Mark Ettinger’ a ‘Federal Aviation Administration’ inspector, in the 1999 American–Canadian TV movie 'Free Fall.' Then, in 2002, he was seen as ‘J.T. Hope,’ a former marine and the owner of the 'Circle Hope Ranch,' in the 'Animal Planet' movie 'Hope Ranch.' He also starred as ‘Jordan Walker’ in the 2003 'Pax TV' disaster movie 'Killer Flood: The Day the Dam Broke.'
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Bruce portrayed James Longstreet, one of the foremost American Civil War ‘Confederate’ generals, in the 2003 period war drama 'Gods and Generals.' He starred as high-tech research facility neurosurgeon ‘Dr. Dietrich’ in the 2004 thriller film 'Brilliant.'
Bruce voiced the titular character ‘Tron’/‘Alan Bradley’ in the first-person shooter video game 'Tron 2.0' (2003) and the crossover video game 'Kingdom Hearts II' (2006). He then played the same character in the science-fiction action–adventure 'Tron: Legacy' (2010). He also voiced ‘Tron’ in the 'Disney XD' animated science-fiction series 'Tron: Uprising' (17 episodes, 2012–2013).
Bruce played lead investigator ‘Sheriff Patrick James’ in 'Snakehead Terror,' a 2004 science-fiction horror TV movie based on the real snakehead fish incident in a Maryland pond. The following year, he began his stint of 13 episodes as ‘Captain Martin Duvall’ in the 'PAX' historical fantasy 'Young Blades.'
He had brief recurring roles as ‘Dr. Woody Woodcomb’ in 'Chuck' (2008–2009), as ‘Robert Malden’ in 'Heroes' (2008–2009), as ‘Vice Admiral C. Clifford Chase’ in 'NCIS' (2010–2017), and as ‘Burl Lourd’ in 'GCB' (2012).
Bruce provided his voice to the character ‘Col. John Konrad’ in the third-person shooter video game 'Spec Ops: The Line' (2012) and to a major character in the audiobook version of L. Ron Hubbard's 'Golden Age of Fiction' series, 'The Great Secret.' He also voiced ‘Captain Gavin Blaire’ in the full-length audiobook version of the 2006 zombie apocalyptic horror novel 'World War Z.'
Some of the films and TV movies in which Bruce has appeared as a sheriff/police officer are the 'SyFy' movie 'Bone Eater' (as ‘Sheriff Steve Evans,’ 2007), the 'Sky Three' adventure film 'Sharpshooter' (as ‘Sheriff Graham,’ 2007), and 'Transmorphers: Fall of Man' (as ‘Hadley Ryan,’ 2009).
Bruce co-starred (as ‘Col. Martin’) with John Shea in the 2011 horror flick '51.' He was cast as ‘Bob Beldon,’ opposite Barbara Niven (as ‘Peggy Beldon’), in 30 episodes of the 'Hallmark Channel' drama 'Cedar Cove' (2013–2015). They played a married couple and owners of a local bed-and-breakfast establishment.
In 2011, Bruce made an official announcement stating he would reprise the role of ‘Alan Bradley’/‘Tron’ in 'Tron 3,' but on July 2015, he said that he was no more interested in playing the character. However, he did play ‘Tron’ in the 2011 short 'Tron: The Next Day.'
Actor Brent Spiner had to turn down the offer to play ‘Baker,’ US vice president-turned-president, in the superhero drama 'Supergirl' (2018), due to a scheduling conflict. The role eventually went to Bruce.
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In 1983, Bruce was honored with the 'Golden Boot Award.' He has authored the novel 'Frontier Earth' (1999) and its sequel, 'Frontier Earth: Searcher' (2001).
In 2003, Bruce was named to the ‘Board of Governors’ of the 'National Space Society.'
Bruce was one of the 11 people elected by the 'Screen Actors Guild' ‘Hollywood’ division to be part of the 'National Board of Directors' for a 3-year term. In April 2012, he was drafted into the 'Hall of Great Western Performers.'
He served as an executive producer for the 2014 movie ‘Lantern City.’
Family & Personal Life
Bruce's father was a certified public accountant.
Bruce was married to his 'How the West Was Won' co-star Kathryn Holcomb from 1977 to 1987. They had two sons: Sam and Lee. He was married to his on-screen wife from 'Babylon 5,' Melissa Gilbert, from 1995 to 2011. They had a son named Michael.
Bruce began a relationship with publicist Verena King in January 2013. They got engaged on December 9, 2015, and had a private wedding in Hawaii on October 5, 2016.
Bruce and his 'How the West Was Won' co-star Beverly Garland were long-time friends until the latter passed away in 2008. Despite not sharing a single scene in 'Scarecrow and Mrs. King,' the two endured a strong relationship on the sets.
Bruce is a skilled horseman and has previously owned many horses.