Actor. Primarily known for his powerful build, scowling face and shaven head, Robert Tessier was an Algonquin Indian who broke into the acting profession in the late sixties. Typically cast as the tough guy / villian or Native American (which he was), he was a mainstay in movies and television in a career that spanned over twenty years. His first movie role was in the 1967 Tom Laughlin film "The Born Losers" (the film which introduced the "Billy Jack" character) in which he played a biker named "Cueball". Ironically, Robert sported a full head of hair in this film (despite the name of his character) and this was also a nickname by which he was affectionately known by in real life by his friends. He was also a lifelong motorcyclist (who once performed motorcycle stunts in the circus) and formed the company "Stunts Unlimited" with Director Hal Needham. As a young man, Robert Tessier also won a Purple Heart and a Silver Star for his military service during the Korean war. Although Robert Tessier starred in a vast number of movies and TV roles over his career, probably two of his best remembered movie roles were as the menacing, karate-wielding convict "Shokner" in the 1974 comedy-drama "The Longest Yard" with Burt Reynolds (whom he counted as one of his friends) and as 'Kevin' in the 1977 mystery-thriller "The Deep." He even ventured into the realm of TV commercials during his career, as Mr. Clean (of course) and in a series of commercials in the eighties for Midas Mufflers in Canada, with other high-profile stars such as Lee Van Cleef, Jack Palance and Bo Hopkins.
Bio by: Todd Young