Gil Gerard (1943–)
Actor/producer Gil Gerard is best known for his role of Buck Rogers in the 1979 movie Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and the spin-off television series that followed. He was raised in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and attended Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas in Conway in Faulkner County), where he pursued a career in chemistry.
Gil Gerard was born on January 23, 1943, in Little Rock, the youngest of three sons. He gave up a promising business career as an industrial chemist to pursue his dream of acting, leaving at the age of twenty-six for New York, where he attended the American Music and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) for two semesters. To make ends meet while studying, he got a job driving a cab at night. Gerard appeared on stage in plays such as Stalag 17 and Oklahoma, and while he was driving his cab, a passenger suggested that he audition as an extra for the film Love Story (1970), in which he made a brief appearance in a scene in the background behind Ryan O’Neal.
Gerard went on to appear in more than 400 commercials over a period of six years and, in 1974, starred as Dr. Allen Stewart in the daytime soap opera The Doctors. He played the role two years before moving to Hollywood. It was around this time that Gerard formed his own production company, Prudhomme Productions. He then went on to produce and star in his first film, Hooch (1976). He soon landed guest-starring roles in an episode of Little House on the Prairie called “The Handyman,” an episode of Hawaii Five-0 called “The Ninth Step,” and an episode of Baretta called “Dear Tony.” He also starred in TV movies Ransom for Alice (1977) and Killing Stone (1978). Then, in 1979, he landed the leading role in the movie and TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
After the cancellation of Buck Rogers in 1981, Gerard went on to star in TV movies such as Not Just Another Affair (1982) and Stormin’ Home (1985), as well as the TV series Sidekicks (1986) and E.A.R.T.H. Force (1990); he was also the host of the reality show Code 3 (1993–1994). In 1983, he produced the musical The Amen Corner, which opened in the Nederlander Theater in New York.
Gerard has been involved in many charities over the years. He was on the board for the national Make-a-Wish Foundation and on the celebrity advisory board for the Childhood Leukemia Foundation. He has also been active with the Special Olympics for many years.
In October 2005, Gerard appeared on the show Action Hero Makeover on the Discovery Health Channel, which documented his year-long progress after undergoing life-saving mini-gastric bypass surgery. According to the show, he had been struggling with his weight for forty years.
Still acting, Gerard had a starring role in TV movies Beyond (2006) and Reptisaurus (2009), and appeared in TV movies Nuclear Hurricane (2007), Bone Eater (2007), Ghost Turn (2009), and The Lost Valentine (2011). He also starred in the film Blood Fare (2012). In 2013, he was a guest star on the TV series Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II. Since approximately 1997, he has been attending science fiction conventions, meeting fans in the United States and internationally.
For additional information:
Gil Gerard. http://gilgerard.com/ (accessed May 22, 2014).
“Gil Gerard.” Internet Movie Database. http://imdb.com/name/nm0001266/ (accessed May 22, 2014).
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