Jay Robinson, who appeared in such films as The Robe and The Virgin Queen, died at the age of 83 on 27 September 2013. The cause was congestive heart failure.
Jay Robinson was born in New York City on 14 April 1930. His mother had been a dancer and his interest in acting began when he found her scrapbook from her career. He began acting in summer stock, eventually making his debut on Broadway in 1949 in The Shop at Sly Corner. He made further appearances on Broadway in Gayden (1949), As You Like It (1950), Buy Me Blue Ribbons (1951), and Much Ado About Nothing (1952). He made his film debut in The Robe in 1953, playing what may have been his most famous role, that of Caligula. He went onto appear in the films as Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954), The Virgin Queen (1954), The Wild Party (1956), and My Man Godfrey (1957). He made his television debut in an episode of Wire Service.
Mr. Robinson's career was interrupted following an arrest in 1959 for possessing heroin with the intent to distribute it. He ultimately spent around a year in jail, after which he had problems finding work. To make matters worse, in 1966 he was arrested for failing to appear at a retrial of his original narcotics possession case and served 15 months in prison before being paroled. Eventually he began working again, appearing in a small part in Tell Me in the Sunlight (1965). In the late Sixties he appeared on the TV shows The Wild Wild West, Star Trek, Judd for the Defence, Bewitched, and The Virginian.
In the Seventies he appeared on such shows as Room 222; O'Hara, U.S. Treasury; Hawaii Five-O; Search; Planet of the Apes; Mannix; Kolchak: The Night Stalker; Doc; The Waltons; and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. He appeared in such films as Bunny O'Hare (1971), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972), Three the Hard Way (1974), Shampoo (1975), Train Ride to Hollywood (1975), I Wonder Who's Killing Her Now? (1975), Born Again (1978), and The Man with Bogart's Face (1980).
In the Eighties he appeared in such films as Partners (1982), The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982), The Malibu Bikini Shop (1986), Big Top Pee-wee (1988), and Transylvania Twist (1989). He appeared on such shows as Voyagers!, Amanda's, Tales of the Gold Monkey, The Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Night Court, Cheers, and Murder She Wrote. In the Nineties he appeared in the films as Ghost Ship (1992), Dracula (1992),and Skeeter (1993). He appeared on the TV show The Nanny. He was one of the regular voices on the animated series Mad Jack the Pirate.