Birthday: November 21, 1934
Age: 85 Years, 85 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Laurence George Luckinbill
Born in: Fort Smith, Arkansas, United States
Famous as: Actor
Height: 6'1" (185 cm), 6'1" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Lucie Arnaz (m. 1980), Robin Strasser (m. 1965–1976)
father: Laurence Benedict Luckinbill
mother: Agnes Luckinbill
siblings: Lynne Luckinbill
children: Ben Luckinbill, Joseph Luckinbill, Katharine Luckinbill, Nicholas Luckinbill, Simon Luckinbill
U.S. State: Arkansas
Laurence George Luckinbill is a successful American actor, playwright, and director who has worked in theater, television, and movies. Most active in the theater, he has written, directed, and starred in numerous stage productions. He is best known for his one-man shows based on the lives of the US President Theodore Roosevelt, author Ernest Hemingway, American defense attorney Clarence Darrow, and the US President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The veteran stage actor became a TV star with his role as Sybok in ‘Star Trek V: The Final Frontier’. He has achieved success as a teacher as well and is the founder and producer of a non-profit NY theater company. A multi-faceted personality, he had also served as a cultural affairs director for the US Department of State during the Kennedy Administration. He founded a multi-media production company, which produced two CD-ROM products—‘Lucy & Desi: The Scrapbooks, Volume I’, and ‘How to Save Your Family History: A 10-Step Guide by Lucie Arnaz’. He has written a series of interactive multimedia stories for digital CD-ROM titled ‘Adventures in Hyperhistory’, based on history’s human stories, which he presented with the help of original dramatic video scenarios. He was inducted into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame in 2007.
Childhood & Early Life
Laurence Luckinbill was born on November 21, 1934, in Fort Smith, Arkansas, as the son of Laurence Benedict, a salesman for Oklahoma Tire and Supply Co., and Agnes. His sister is Lynne Luckinbill. He is a Roman Catholic.
He graduated from St. Anne’s High School in Fort Smith. He attended Fort Smith Junior College, now the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, from 1951-52. He received Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Washington County, in 1956, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in playwriting from the Catholic University of America in 1958. He also studied acting at HB Studio in New York City.
He then went to San Francisco, California, where he participated in the Actor’s Workshop. For a short period, he worked in the chemical corps of the US Army at Fort McClellan, Alabama. Following this, he served as a theater director, writer, and lecturer in the US State Department in Africa and Italy for two years.
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Laurence Luckinbill made his off-Broadway debut as the Old Shepherd in the Carnegie Playhouse production of ‘Oedipus Rex’ in 1959. In 1961, he made his Broadway debut in ‘A Man for All Seasons’, a play based on the life of Sir Thomas More, which toured across the US. Later, he appeared in several other Broadway plays.
In the 1960s, he also began acting in soap operas such as Roy Winsor’s ‘The Secret Storm’, and Lou Scofield’s and Margaret DePriest’s ‘Where the Heart Is’, both on CBS. ‘The Secret Storm’ was broadcast live, and later recorded in New York at the CBS Broadcast Center. ‘Where the Heart Is’ highlighted the sexual and psychological issues in a dysfunctional family.
In 1970, he made his film debut as Hank, the "bisexual with a preference", in ‘The Boys in the Band’, a drama film directed by William Friedkin. The movie, based on his Off-Broadway play of the same name, was one of the first major films that included gay characters, and is cited as a milestone in the history of queer cinema.
He appeared in ABC’s television series ‘The Delphi Bureau’, which was aired from 1972 to 1973. He portrayed Glenn Garth Gregory, a government intelligence agent, who uses his photographic memory to help the Delphi Bureau’s counter-espionage activities.
He also took up some small yet noteworthy roles in television series and television movies like ‘Murder Impossible’, ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’, and ‘The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case’.
Some of his significant stage shows include ‘Poor Murderer’ from 1976-77, ‘The Shadow Box’ in 1977, ‘Chapter Two’ from 1977-79, and ‘Past Tense’ in 1980.
He starred in several episodes of television series like ‘Law & Order,’ ‘Barnaby Jones’, ‘Make Me a Perfect Murder’, and ‘Murder, She Wrote’, and the television film ‘Dash and Lilly’.
In 1988, he was featured in the movies ‘Cocktail’ and ‘Messenger of Death’. In 1989, his appearance in ‘Star Trek V: The Final Frontier’ made him a TV superstar. He played Sybok, the revolutionary half-brother of Spock, who takes control of the starship USS Enterprise.
He has written and starred in five solo presentations aired on national television and in theaters around the world. These are ‘Lyndon’ in 1987, ‘Clarence Darrow Tonight!’ in 1995, ‘Teddy Tonight!’ in 2002, ‘Hemingway’ in 2005, and ‘The Abraham and Larry Show’ in 2011.
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Laurence Luckinbill was nominated for the 1978 Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway play ‘The Shadow Box’. The winner of the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play, the play was written by actor Michael Cristofer, and made its Broadway debut in March 1977. It was made into a telefilm in 1980, directed by Paul Newman.
One of his best performances was seen in the play ‘Lyndon’, for which he was nominated for a 1987 Emmy Award. Critics pointed out that Laurence’s portrayal was so powerful and real that the audience could really know and identify the personality of Lyndon Johnson.
Laurence Luckinbill had taken up this role despite not liking Lyndon Johnson because of the Vietnam War. However, he liked the script which was based on the Merle Miller book, ‘Lyndon,’ which depicted Johnson's anguish over Vietnam, leading to his decision not to run for reelection in 1968. It also detailed Lyndon Johnson’s achievements in civil rights, health care, and poverty legislation.
The actor played one of Star Trek’s most controversial characters in ‘Star Trek V: The Final Frontier’. He co-starred as Sybok, Spock’s older half-brother, who leads Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise crew on an ill-fated quest for Sha Ka Ree and God.
Awards & Achievements
Throughout his long career, Laurence Luckinbill has received several awards. In 1970, he received the NY Critics Circle Award for his performance in ‘The Memory Bank’, an Off-Broadway play.
In 1980, the University of Arkansas awarded him with the Arkansas Traveler Award and in 1992, with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 1993, he bagged the Emmy Award for ‘Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie’ aired on NBC-TV.
In 1996, he won the Silver Gavel Award for his brilliant writing and performance in the play ‘Clarence Darrow Tonight!’
In 1965, Laurence Luckinbill married American actress, Robin Strasser, best known for her role as Dorian Lord on the ABC daytime soap opera ‘One Life to Live’. They have two sons, Nicholas, born in 1971, and Ben, born in 1975. They divorced in 1976.
He married American actress, singer, and producer Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, on June 22, 1980. Lucie was earlier married to actor Phil Vandervort in the 1970s. Laurence and Lucie have three children together: Simon, Joseph and Katharine.
Laurence is the uncle of film directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski, the children of his sister Lynne.
In 2012, he donated his papers to the Special Collections of the University of Arkansas, where he has served as the McIlroy Family Visiting Professor in Performing and Visual Arts.