(written from a Production point of view)
Andrew Jordt Robinson (born 14 February 1942; age 79) is an actor who is best known to Star Trek fans for portraying Elim Garak on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He also provided the voice of Garak in the video games Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen and Star Trek Online, and wrote the novel A Stitch in Time. Robinson also appeared in the documentary What We Left Behind.
Born in New York City, Robinson graduated from The New School for Social Research with a BA in English. After graduation, however, he turned his focus to theater and drama, having spent a year performing at the London Academy for Music and Dramatic Arts in England. He performed in theater throughout the 1960s and began acting in television in the latter part of the decade.
Robinson married his wife, Irene, in 1970. Their daughter, Rachel Robinson, appeared (as Melanie, an aspiring writer) in "The Visitor", an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and was also a leading candidate for the role of Ezri Dax on DS9. Andrew also directed his daughter in an episode of Judging Amy called "The Long Run" – the last episode he directed.
Robinson made his feature film debut playing the psychotic serial killer in the 1971 action film Dirty Harry. Robinson's portrayal of the chilling "Scorpio Killer" led to him receiving serious death threats via telephone after the film's release. The film also featured fellow Trek alumni Vince Deadrick, Chuck Hicks, and Angela Paton. Robinson went on to have a two-year stint as "Senator Frank Ryan" on television soap opera Ryan's Hope from 1976 through 1978, which earned him a Daytime Emmy Award nomination. Star Trek: Voyager actress Kate Mulgrew was also a regular on this series at the time, as was Catherine Hicks. (Star Trek: Insurrection actor Daniel Hugh Kelly took over Robinson's role in 1978; Robinson himself was the second actor to play the role.)
Robinson's other film credits during the 1970s include supporting roles in the 1973 thriller Charley Varrick, co-starring TOS and DS9 guest star William Schallert, and the 1975 thriller The Drowning Pool, with DS9 guest actress Gail Strickland and TOS guest actor Richard Derr. Note that this latter movie should not be confused with 1988's The Dead Pool, a sequel to Robinson's Dirty Harry.
In the early 1970s, Robinson was seen in two made-for-TV movies co-starring future Deep Space Nine castmembers. The first was 1973's Incident at Vichy, which starred DS9's Rene Auberjonois as well as Lee Bergere, Ed Bakey, Joseph Hindy, and Harris Yulin. The second was House of Evil the following year, which co-starred Salome Jens. Robinson later co-starred with Jens in the 1979 mini-series From Here to Eternity, which also featured David Spielberg, and John Crawford. Another mini-series Robinson appeared in was 1976's Once an Eagle, co-starring the likes of Geoffrey Binney, Darleen Carr, James Cromwell, David Huddleston, John Anderson, George Murdock, Cliff Potts, William Windom, and Anthony Zerbe.
Robinson also appeared on numerous TV programs throughout the 70s, including Bonanza (with Roy Jenson and Jay D. Jones), Kung Fu (with John Anderson, Eric Server, and Keye Luke), The Rookies (two episodes, including one with Gerrit Graham and another directed by Ralph Senensky), Kojak (two episodes; one in 1975 with Richard Carlyle, another in 1978 with Tige Andrews and Antoinette Bower), S.W.A.T. (with Bert Remsen), The Streets of San Francisco (two episodes, one in 1975 with Allan Miller and Fritz Weaver and another in 1977 with Richard Herd; both starred Darleen Carr), Kolchak: The Night Stalker (with Paul Baxley, Kathie Browne, John Hoyt, and John Fiedler), Barnaby Jones (with Lee Meriwether, Laurence Luckinbill, Ken Lynch, and Kenneth Tobey), and The Incredible Hulk. In 1979, he was seen in an episode CHiPs, a series starring his future DS9 co-star Michael Dorn and Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise guest actor Robert Pine. He was also seen on Kate Mulgrew's Mrs. Columbo that same year.
In 1978, Robinson auditioned for the role of Commander Will Decker in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but the part was given to Stephen Collins instead. (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 104)
During the 1980s, he was seen on such TV shows as Vega$ (two episodes with Byron Morrow), The Dukes of Hazzard, Hart to Hart (two episodes, including one with Gary Lockwood), Falcon Crest (starring Robert Foxworth and also featuring Biff Elliot), one episode of The Greatest American Hero and two episodes of The A-Team in 1983. The latter series starred Star Trek: The Next Generation's Dwight Schultz along with Lance LeGault, William Lucking, and Melinda Culea, while one of the episodes also featured Scott Lincoln, and another Marc Alaimo. Robinson also appeared twice in the 1980s remake of The Twilight Zone TV series. The first time, he played John F. Kennedy and co-starred with Mark L. Taylor, David Sage, Jerry Hardin, and Louis Giambalvo.
Robinson also took part in the short-lived NBC anthology series This Is the Life in 1983. Other Star Trek alumni to participate in this series include Jonathan Frakes, Richard Carlyle, Kim Darby, Henry Darrow, Nehemiah Persoff, Brock Peters, and Joan Pringle.
In 1987, Robinson starred as Larry Cotton in Clive Barker's popular horror movie Hellraiser. That same year, he and his future Deep Space Nine co-star Armin Shimerman appeared in The Verne Miller Story. Other films he appeared in during this decade include 1985's Mask (with Lawrence Monoson and Wayne Grace), 1986's Cobra (with Brian Thompson, Roger Aaron Brown, Laura Drake, Leslie Morris, and Kurt V. Hulett), and 1988's Shoot to Kill (with Kirstie Alley and Clancy Brown).
Robinson also appeared in the 1985 mini-series The Atlanta Child Murders along with Tige Andrews, Gary Graham, Percy Rodriguez, and Noble Willingham. He also co-starred with John Savage and Meg Foster in the TV movie Desperate and with Richard Libertini in The Trial of Berhard Goetz, also made for television in 1988. That same year, Robinson gave an acclaimed performance in the title role of the television biopic Liberace; John Rubinstein co-starred in this movie.
In the early 1990s, prior to assuming the role of Garak, Robinson was seen on such shows as Matlock, L.A. Law (starring Corbin Bernsen and Larry Drake), and Law & Order (in an episode with Keith Szarabajka). He also appeared with Casey Biggs and Robert Hooks in the 1990 TV movie Appearances and starred in the 1991 horror movie sequel Child's Play 3 along with Brad Dourif, Dakin Matthews, and Ron Fassler.
While Deep Space Nine was in production, Robinson continued to take on guest roles on such series as Murder, She Wrote (two episodes, one with Fionnula Flanagan, Dakin Matthews, and Mark Rolston, and another with David Ogden Stiers; both featured William Windom), M.A.N.T.I.S. (with Gary Graham and Robert Hooks), Wings (starring Steven Weber, in an episode also guest-starring Danny Goldring and Tucker Smallwood), Nothing Sacred (with Rosemary Forsyth, Javier Grajeda, and Leonard Kelly-Young), The Pretender (with Leigh Taylor-Young), and The X-Files (with Melinda Culea). In 1999, following the end of Deep Space Nine, Robinson appeared in an episode of JAG entitled "Rogue" playing the role of Admiral Thomas Kly. He reprised the role in 2004, by which time Scott Lawrence was a regular, in an episode called "Whole New Ball Game", which also guest-starred David Andrews, Ed Lauter, and Dean Stockwell.
In 1994, Robinson starred in the horror movie Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings. He also appeared in another horror movie, The Puppet Masters, that same year. This latter film also included Julie Warner, Sam Anderson, J. Patrick McCormack, Nicholas Cascone, William Wellman Jr., Michael Shamus Wiles, and Todd Bryant. And in 1998, Robinson co-starred with Voyager actor Robert Picardo as well as Michael McKean, Ann Gillespie, and Spice Williams in Les Landau's independent feature Archibald the Rainbow Painter.
When Robinson first came to the staff of Deep Space Nine, he had actually auditioned for the part of Odo. However, he was ultimately chosen for the recurring role of Garak instead, making his debut in the show's third episode, "Past Prologue".
Robinson had actively worked with writers in developing Garak's character. Like his fictional counterpart, Robinson suffers from claustrophobia, which made wearing the Cardassian makeup unsettling at first. Another similarity with his character involves his passion for gardening; Robinson is an avid gardener, and Garak mentioned he had posed as a gardener. Robinson's contributions ultimately inspired him to write Garak's "memoirs" entitled A Stitch in Time.
In 2000, he and Michael Dorn guest-starred in an episode of Martial Law entitled "No Quarter". That same year, Robinson appeared on Profiler with Gregory Itzin. He also appeared on two episodes of Presidio Med in 2002: one with his fellow DS9 co-star Chase Masterson and another with Mark Moses. Both featured John Rubinstein. And in 2004, he co-starred with Star Trek: The Original Series star William Shatner – as well as Loren Lester and Bill Smitrovich – in one of the final episodes of The Practice entitled "The Firm".
In the early 1990s, Robinson co-founded The Matrix Theatre Company. In addition to acting in several of the company's productions, he also directed such productions as "Endgame" (1995) and "The Homecoming" (1996). These productions not only earned Robinson much acclaim, but two awards from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle as well. This enabled him make his television directorial debut with the Deep Space Nine episode "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places".
Following this, Robinson directed two episodes of Star Trek: Voyager as well as multiple episodes of the drama series Judging Amy. Among those Star Trek actors he directed on Judging Amy were Barbara Babcock, Bob Gunton, Jack Gwaltney, Chris Sarandon, and Michael Welch.
In 2000, Robinson wrote the novel A Stitch in Time, which gave an account of Garak's past. It was his great love of the character which persuaded him to write the novel. Robinson later wrote "The Calling" story of the Prophecy and Change anthology. He and Alexander Siddig also wrote "The Dream Box", a stage play which they perform at conventions.
In 2015, Robinson published a memoir titled Stepping into the Light: Sources of an Actor's Craft. It covers his life and career from childhood to the mid-1980s.
Other Trek connections
Additional film and television projects in which Robinson appeared with other Star Trek performers include:
TV guest appearances
- Marcus Welby, M.D. episode "Each Day a Miracle" (1974) with Byron Morrow
- Ironside episode "Come Eleven, Come Twelve" (1974) with Paul Comi, Paul Kent, Ken Lynch, Michael Strong, Bill Zuckert, Gene Lyons, and Joan Pringle
- Harry O episode "Reflections" (1975) with Henry Darrow, Kermit Murdock, Claudette Nevins, and Anthony Zerbe
- The Amazing Spider-Man episode "The Con Caper" (1978) with Michael Pataki and William Smithers
- The Practice episode "The Firm" (2004) with William Shatner and Bill Smitrovich
- Without A Trace episode "Upstairs, Downstairs" (2004) with Enrique Murciano
- The Family Kovack (1974) with Peter Brocco and James Sloyan, directed by Ralph Senensky, written by Adrian Spies
- Big Bend Country (1981) with Anne Haney, directed by Ralph Senensky
- The Lady Forgets (1989) with Mark Rolston
- Rock Hudson (1990) with Joycelyn O'Brien, Daphne Ashbrook, Michael Ensign, Francis Guinan, and Lawrence Dobkin
- Fatal Charm (1990) with Robert Walker
- Criminal Behavior (1992) with Dakin Matthews, Cliff DeYoung, and Angela Paton
- Telling Secrets (1993) with Christopher McDonald and Anne Haney
- Homeland Security (2004) with Glenn Morshower, Leland Orser, and Tracy Scoggins
- Trancers III (1992, direct-to-video) with Tim Thomerson, Melanie Smith and Stephen Macht
- There Goes My Baby (1994) with Seymour Cassel
- Running Woman (1998) with Gary Graham
- The Making of Daniel Boone (2003) with Clancy Brown
- "Past Prologue" (Season One)
- "Cardassians" (Season Two)
- "Profit and Loss"
- "The Wire"
- "Crossover" (as mirror Garak)
- "The Search, Part II" (Season Three) (as an illusion of Garak)
- "Second Skin"
- "Civil Defense"
- "Distant Voices" (also an an illusion of Garak)
- "Through the Looking Glass" (as mirror Garak)
- "Improbable Cause"
- "The Die is Cast"
- "The Way of the Warrior" (Season Four)
- "Our Man Bashir"
- "Shattered Mirror" (as mirror Garak)
- "For the Cause"
- "Body Parts"
- "Broken Link"
- "Things Past" (Season Five)
- "In Purgatory's Shadow"
- "By Inferno's Light"
- "Empok Nor"
- "Call to Arms"
- "A Time to Stand" (Season Six)
- "Rocks and Shoals"
- "Favor the Bold"
- "Sacrifice of Angels"
- "In the Pale Moonlight"
- "Tears of the Prophets"
- "Afterimage" (Season Seven)
- "The Emperor's New Cloak" (as mirror Garak)
- "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"
- "When It Rains..."
- "Tacking Into the Wind"
- "Extreme Measures"
- "The Dogs of War"
- "What You Leave Behind"
Star Trek interviews
- TNG Season 7 DVD special feature "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine DVD Preview"