One of America's more versatile talents, Charles Siebert has moved with great ease from stage to film to television, both as actor & director.
Dr. Stanley Riverside, II, hapless chief of emergency services portrayed by Siebert, became a TV favorite over the seven years that 'Trapper' ran and, along with his depiction of Dr. Paul Summers on Mancuso, FBI, with Robert Loggia, is probably what Siebert, the actor, is best known for to date.
Charlie still recalls asking himself, 'How does a kid from Kenosha (Wisconsin) travel so far and get so lucky?' Born in the lakeside industrial Midwestern town, the eldest of four sons, Charlie did not begin entertaining any serious thoughts about acting until well into journalism school at Marquette University in Milwaukee. Recognizing that he was not destined to be a journalist, he changed majors after leafing through a school catalogue and discovering a course with the intriguing title, 'Acting, I,' taught by Father John J. Walsh, S.J. 'Out of nowhere I suddenly had a purpose and tremendous energy ...we ran a semi-professional theatre, and I was devoting 50 weeks a year, seven days a week, to drama, appearing in about 30 plays.'
Following his college graduation, Charlie served his time in the army, in the pre-Vietnam era, and while still in khakis, auditioned for the prestigious London Academy of Music & Dramatic Arts. He was determined to be a 'classical actor' and his acceptance by LAMDA was just the impetus he needed. He and his new wife, former classmate Catherine Kilzer, transplanted themselves to London where he studied and taught for two years. When they returned to the U.S. with their English-born son, three-month old Christopher, Siebert had $100 in his pocket but soon found theatre work. He began his professional career as the title hero in a production of Oedipus Rex at a regional New Jersey theatre.
In the next ten years he developed his craft in many of the finest regional theatres in the land, including the newly-founded ACT in Pittsburgh and San Francisco; the Goodman Theatre in Chicago; The Theatre Company of Boston; Baltimore's Center Stage; The McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey; Stratford Connecticut's American Shakespeare Festival, and seven seasons at Williamstown, Massachusetts' Summer Theatre. 'As I had hoped, I began my career performing in the great classical plays.'
Charlie's twelve year stay in New York was marked by the birth of his and Catherine's second son, Charles Andrew, and their only daughter, Gillian -and non-stop work. He made his Broadway debut in Murray Shisgal's Jimmy Shine with Dustin Hoffman in 1968, and then began adding such credits as Neil Simon's The Gingerbread Lady with Maureen Stapleton, Colette with Zoe Caldwell, The Changing Room, plus revivals of Detective Story, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Brecht's Galileo with Sir Anthony Quayle Though his nights were definitely devoted to the theatre, his days were consumed by television's leading daytime soap operas. He starred in The Nurses, Another World, As The World Turns, Search for Tomorrow, and One Life to Live. Showing himself to be somewhat of an 'iron man' Charlie also managed to juggle film and commercial work in between television taping and performing on stage. Among his film credits are And Justice for All with Al Pacino; Deadly Hero with Don Murray and James Earl Jones, Michael Crichton's Coma, the cult favorite Blue Sunshine, The Other Side of Midnight, and Whitewater Summer with Sean Astin and Kevin Bacon. As Charlie explains, 'I always believe that when luck comes your way you'd better be ready, so I learned to live with 24-hour work days.'
Charlie's career is now exclusively dedicated to directing. That phase began with episodes of Trapper John and he then went on to helm a number of popular shows such as Mancuso FBI, Knot's Landing, Palace Guard Lifestories, Jack's Place, and Vanishing Sun. More recent credits include numerous episodes of Silk Stalkings, Renegade, Pacific Blue, The Pretender, and his all-time favorites - Hercules, The Incredible Journeys and Xena, Warrior Princess - on which he also appeared as King Sisyphus in an episode of 'Ten Little Warlords' and as the voice of Poseidon. Siebert was invited time and again to New Zealand to complete some fifteen episodes of the mythological series' which ended production in 2001
His most recent acting work was at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in the title roles of Macbeth and Antony in Antony & Cleopatra and at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis in a much-acclaimed production of Ibsen's The Wild Duck.
Widowed in 1981, Charlie devoted all available time to the raising of his and Catherine's three children who are all now 'out in the world' and very successful. Christopher and Charlie, Jr. now have their own popular jazz band, 'Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers' in San Francisco. Gillian is happily married to Anthony Bozanic and they're raising little Alex & Isabella in Seattle."
My children are my greatest work of art," says Charlie. "I was always driven by the reality of having to support a family, and it is the family that unquestionably gave worth to every job." True to his word, Siebert re-married in 1986. Kristine Leroux, his beautiful second wife, a former real-estate executive also has three children; Kristine, Jr., a business consultant , now raising her family in England, Max, involved in computer-design, & Jeremy, a family man in San Jose. A decade ago Charlie & Kristine left the hurly-burly of Los Angeles to settle on a small farm in Northern California's Sonoma County wine country. What with their latest 'daughter' their guardian from Mexico, Nancy, plus innumerable dogs, cats, ducks, geese, and chickens, things are never dull in the Siebert-Leroux household.
A man who believes that 'we are all works-in-progress,' Charlie looks forward to continual growth as a person and actor-director. His life's experience assures him that all will be well; his gentility and humor allow him to enjoy each day as it comes.