Tall, chiseled-face character actor Robert John Burke has been acting since the 1970s, but he is best known to art house audiences as a regular member of New York-based director Hal Hartley's stock company of decidedly non-Hollywood actors.
Born on Long Island, Burke studied acting at S.U.N.Y. Purchase in the early '70s. After he graduated from college, Burke began acting in TV, appearing on such shows as As the World Turns and Happy Days. Though he made his feature film debut in The Chosen (1981), Burke devoted his energies in the early '80s to an experimental teaching program designed to involve students directly in the arts. Burke returned to movies and TV in the latter half of the 1980s with roles in actioner Wanted Dead or Alive (1986), TV movie comedy Pass the Ammo (1989), and late-'80s dance trend vehicle Lambada (1989).