Robert F. Simon

Robert F. Simon

Robert F. Simon in trailer for "Never Say Goodbye" (1956)
Born (1908-12-02)December 2, 1908
Mansfield, Richland County
Ohio, US
Died November 29, 1992(1992-11-29) (aged 83)
San Fernando Valley, California, U.S.
Resting place Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery
Occupation Actor: Custer, Bewitched, Saints and Sinners, The Streets of San Francisco, The Amazing Spider-Man, Nancy
Years active 1950–1985
Children Barbara Ann Simon Callet
Susan Simon Thompson
Robert L. Simon
James A. Simon

Robert F. Simon (December 2, 1908 – November 29, 1992)[1] was an American character actor, often portraying military or authority figure roles. Though his face was recognized by audiences, he was mostly unknown by name. A life member of The Actors Studio,[2] Simon appeared in films and on television between 1950 and 1985, having mastered the genre of westerns, drama, and comedy.

Roles played

Television work

Simon had recurring supporting roles on eight television series:

Historic roles

In addition to his Custer role of General Terry, Simon had other historic roles:


Earlier years

Simon was born in Mansfield in Richland County in north central Ohio, where he was an all-state high school basketball champion in the 1920s. He played basketball in one-on-one games well into his forties. Before he entered acting, he was a traveling salesman. He initially thought that acting would help him to overcome his natural shyness, but he enjoyed appearing on stage and later film so much that he decided to make a career as an actor. His first professional job was in Marc Blitzstein's No For an Answer in which he displayed his song-and-dance abilities. He was also involved with The Cleveland Play House and then with The Actors Studio, through which he became an understudy to Lee J. Cobb for the lead in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.[4]

Simon had two daughters, Barbara Ann Simon Callet (born 1941) and Susan Simon Thompson, and two sons, Robert Louis Simon (born 1950) and James A. Simon (born 1951).[5] Simon's webpage does not include the name of his spouse(s).[4]


Simon appeared on Broadway in Clifford Odets's play, Clash by Night. In 1949, he succeeded Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.[6]

His first film appearances were as Inspector Foley in Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) and as a psychiatrist in Bright Victory (1951). His first television role was at the age of 43 in 1952 as Captain Scott in the episode "Woman with a Sword" on Hallmark Hall of Fame anthology series. Simon appeared as Ackerman in the 1954 film Rogue Cop. Between 1951 and 1954, he appeared on The Philco Television Playhouse and Justice.

In 1955, he appeared on television in episodes of Medic and Alfred Hitchcock Presents as well as such feature films as Chief Crazy Horse, Seven Angry Men, and The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell.[3] Actress Elizabeth Montgomery, who would later play Simon's daughter-in-law, Samantha, on Bewitched, made her film debut in The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell.

In 1956, Simon achieved his first significant film role as Dave Goodman, the father of musician Benny Goodman, in The Benny Goodman Story.[7] Between 1953 and 1956, Simon appeared in four episodes of Kraft Television Theatre and twice in the anthology series Studio One.[3]

In 1956 and 1957, he appeared in episodes of State Trooper, The Millionaire and M Squad. In 1957, he appeared in the Betty Hutton film Spring Reunion, and as George Nordmann in the feature film Edge of the City, starring John Cassavetes and Sidney Poitier. In 1958, Simon guest-starred as Captain Woods in "The Coward of Fort Bennett" on General Electric Theater. In 1957 and 1958, he appeared in four episodes of the anthology series, Playhouse 90.[3] In 1959, he appeared on Peter Gunn and Adventures in Paradise.[3] His other 50s film credits included appearances in The Buccaneer (1958), Compulsion (1959), The Last Angry Man (1959) and Operation Petticoat (1959).


There were few television westerns in which Simon did not guest star. From 1956 to 1970, he appeared in Broken Arrow, Disneyland, Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, Laramie, Black Saddle, Law of the Plainsman, Johnny Ringo, Cheyenne, and The Dakotas, Wichita Town, The Man From Blackhawk, The Texan, Tombstone Territory, Tate, and Shotgun Slade, Stagecoach West, Bat Masterson, Lawman, Klondike, and Frontier Circus, Have Gun - Will Travel, Wagon Train, The Legend of Jesse James, The Road West, Gunsmoke, Laredo, The Virginian, Bonanza, and The Guns of Will Sonnett.[3]

In 1962, he played the part of Mackie in the episode "House of the Hunter" on CBS's Rawhide.

Simon appeared as Handy Strong in the 1962 feature film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.


Simon appeared in such programs as Crusader, Route 66, Dante, The DuPont Show with June Allyson, Johnny Midnight, Straightaway, The Roaring 20s, Sea Hunt and State Trooper.[3] In 1961 and 1962, he guest starred on episodes of Ripcord, The Dick Powell Show, The Lloyd Bridges Show, Cain's Hundred, The Defenders, and Sam Benedict.[3]

Simon guest-starred three times on Perry Mason.,[3] including the role of murderer Edward Bannister in the 1958 episode, "The Case of the Desperate Daughter." Simon appeared as Harvey, friend of the main character Paul Driscoll in the 1963 The Twilight Zone episode "No Time Like the Past". In 1965, Simon appeared in episodes of Slattery's People, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Dr. Kildare.[3]

his 60s film appearances included dramatic roles in The Spiral Road (1962), Captain Newman, M.D. (1963) and Fate Is the Hunter (1964).

In 1966, Simon starred as Mr. Rellik in the Highway Safety Films' production The Third Killer. Simon's role was that of a "Death" salesman charged with three accounts, including traffic fatalities.[3]


In addition to Bewitched and Nancy, Simon appeared in other sitcoms, such as McHale's Navy, Mrs. G. Goes to College, Get Smart, and The Andy Griffith Show.[3]

He appeared in A New Kind of Love (1963) starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, as "Cervantes" in The Reluctant Astronaut (1967), and as a doctor in Private Duty Nurses (1971).[3] He appeared in a 1970 episode of Love, American Style, in a 1971 episode of Nichols, starring James Garner, and a 1973 episode of The Partridge Family.[3] In 1973, he made three guest appearances as General Maynard M. Mitchell on M*A*S*H.[3]

Later roles

From 1969 to 1985, Simon appeared in Marcus Welby, M.D., The Mod Squad, The Interns, Barnaby Jones, Hawaii Five-O, Cannon, Ellery Queen, Columbo, McCloud, Quincy M.E., Eight Is Enough, and The Feather and Father Gang. His last television appearance was in a 1985 episode of Airwolf.[3]


Simon died of a heart attack in Tarzana, California on November 29, 1992, three days before what would have been his 84th birthday. He is interred at Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, California.[8]


  1. "Social Security Death Index". Retrieved January 19, 2009.
  2. Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 "Robert F. Simon". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 18, 2009.
  4. 1 2 "Robert F. Simon as Frank Stephens". Retrieved January 18, 2009.
  5. Dates from website "People Search and Background Site"
  6. "Robert F. Simon: Information from Answers". Retrieved January 18, 2009.
  7. "The Benny Goodman Story". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 19, 2009.
  8. "Robert F. Simon". Find A Retrieved January 18, 2009.
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