Andrew J. Robinson is an American actor and the former director of the Master of Fine Arts acting program at the University of Southern California. Originally a stage actor, he works predominantly in supporting roles on television and in low-budget films. He is known for his portrayals of the psychotic serial killer Scorpio in Dirty Harry (1971), Larry Cotton in the horror film Hellraiser (1987), and Elim Garak in the television series “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1993–1999). He and his wife Irene have a daughter, actress Rachel Robinson, who appeared in Deep Space Nine episode “The Visitor”.
Robinson’s first professional roles were as a stage actor and playwright in New York. His first role in New York was in the play MacBird! He went on to appear in productions in North America and Europe, including Woyzeck, Futz, Werner Liepolt’s “The Young Master Dante” and The Cannibals. In 1969, he had his first television role with a guest part on “N.Y.P.D.” at the age of 26.
In 1971, he began acting in feature films. Robinson’s first feature film role was in 1971’s Dirty Harry. Don Siegel, the film’s director, and Clint Eastwood picked Robinson for the role after seeing him in a production of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. Robinson was cast as the Scorpio Killer, the antagonist of the film. The Scorpio Killer was largely based on the contemporary real life Zodiac Killer, and Robinson integrated many known aspects of that serial killer’s personality into his acting. His portrayal was so convincing that he received death threats after the film’s release. Director Don Siegel noted that he cast Robinson because he had the face of “a choir boy.”
In 1993, Robinson was cast in the role of Elim Garak on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, a Cardassian tailor, and a former operative of the Obsidian Order. The character was intended to be an enigmatic darkly comedic foil for the character of Julian Bashir (played by Alexander Siddig), and the two were often paired together onscreen. Prior to being cast in the role, Robinson knew little of the Star Trek franchise and had never seen an episode of any of the television series.
Robinson was offered the role of Garak after he originally auditioned for the role of Odo, which eventually went to René Auberjonois. He almost did not accept the role but was pressured into accepting for financial reasons.
Robinson’s Facebook page is here.