Biography

A born-and-bred New Yorker, Robert John Burke made his film debut while in his early 20s with a small part in the drama "The Chosen" (1981), based on the Chaim Potok story. He went on to study acting at SUNY Purchase where he met aspiring filmmaker Hal Hartley, who cast him as one of the leads in his debut feature "The Unbelievable Truth," an offbeat indie tale where he played a man trying to escape his troubled past. Working with Hartley again on the charming brother-centric dark comedy "Simple Men," Burke caught a major break when Hollywood producers decided that his chiseled jawline was the right one to replace Peter Weller's in the sci-fi/action sequel "RoboCop 3." Despite Burke's efforts, the movie tanked, and he went on to smaller roles in major films, including the lauded Western "Tombstone" (1993) and the prison-break movie "Fled" (1996). Burke landed his second chance in a Hollywood starring role with the Stephen King adaptation "Thinner" (1996), but the macabre tale, which featured him under heavy makeup to depict a callous man who magically loses weight, was deemed almost universally unlikable.Though Burke's leading-man days were mostly behind him, his beastly role in Hartley's "No Such Thing" (2001) aside, he soldiered on, and began increasingly working on television with recurring roles on the grim prison drama "Oz" and the police procedural "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ). Appearing in George Clooney's first two movies as director, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" (2002) and "Good Night, and Good Luck." (2005), Burke nonetheless became more familiar to TV audiences, particularly when he signed on to play Mickey Gavin, the ex-priest cousin of Denis Leary's lead character on the firefighter series "Rescue Me," a part that dovetailed with Burke's real-life second job as a New York State fireman.Often cast as a tough guy, the ruggedly handsome and tall actor continued to play imposing figures such as Major General James "Chaos" Mattis in the Iraq War miniseries "Generation Kill" (HBO, 2008) and Bart Bass, the controlling billionaire father of Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) on the soapy drama "Gossip Girl." Before long, he was juggling his ongoing "Law & Order: SVU" part with regular spots on the military drama "Army Wives" (Lifetime, 2007- ) and the tense crime show "Person of Interest" (CBS, 2011- ), while still finding time for supporting turns in films, including the Denzel Washington/Mark Wahlberg action movie "2 Guns" (2013).

A born-and-bred New Yorker, Robert John Burke made his film debut while in his early 20s with a small part in the drama "The Chosen" (1981), based on the Chaim Potok story. He went on to study acting at SUNY Purchase where he met aspiring filmmaker Hal Hartley, who cast him as one of the leads in his debut feature "The Unbelievable Truth," an offbeat indie tale where he played a man trying to escape his troubled past. Working with Hartley again on the charming brother-centric dark comedy "Simple Men," Burke caught a major break when Hollywood producers decided that his chiseled jawline was the right one to replace Peter Weller's in the sci-fi/action sequel "RoboCop 3." Despite Burke's efforts, the movie tanked, and he went on to smaller roles in major films, including the lauded Western "Tombstone" (1993) and the prison-break movie "Fled" (1996). Burke landed his second chance in a Hollywood starring role with the Stephen King adaptation "Thinner" (1996), but the macabre tale, which featured him under heavy makeup to depict a callous man who magically loses weight, was deemed almost universally unlikable.Though Burke's leading-man days were mostly behind him, his beastly role in Hartley's "No Such Thing" (2001) aside, he soldiered on, and began increasingly working on television with recurring roles on the grim prison drama "Oz" and the police procedural "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ). Appearing in George Clooney's first two movies as director, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" (2002) and "Good Night, and Good Luck." (2005), Burke nonetheless became more familiar to TV audiences, particularly when he signed on to play Mickey Gavin, the ex-priest cousin of Denis Leary's lead character on the firefighter series "Rescue Me," a part that dovetailed with Burke's real-life second job as a New York State fireman.Often cast as a tough guy, the ruggedly handsome and tall actor continued to play imposing figures such as Major General James "Chaos" Mattis in the Iraq War miniseries "Generation Kill" (HBO, 2008) and Bart Bass, the controlling billionaire father of Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) on the soapy drama "Gossip Girl." Before long, he was juggling his ongoing "Law & Order: SVU" part with regular spots on the military drama "Army Wives" (Lifetime, 2007- ) and the tense crime show "Person of Interest" (CBS, 2011- ), while still finding time for supporting turns in films, including the Denzel Washington/Mark Wahlberg action movie "2 Guns" (2013).

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 54

Birthday 1960-09-12

Place of Birth New York City, New York, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • John Burke
  • Robert Burke

Acting TV ShowsMovies

2019 Project Blue Book (10 episodes) as William Fairchild
2018 Boarding School as Mr. Holcomb
2018 BlacKkKlansman as Chief Bridges
2018 We Only Know So Much as Hal
2017 Future '38 as General Sportwood
2017 Where There's Smoke as Captain Frascone
2015 True Story as Greg Ganley
2015 Allegiance (8 episodes) as Special Agent Brock
2014 Ned Rifle as Chet
2013 2 Guns as Jessup
2013 Golden Boy (1 episode) as Andrew Lightstone
2012 Safe as Captain Wolf
2011 Person of Interest (8 episodes) as Officer Patrick Simmons
2011 Limitless as Pierce
2010 Years Later: The Unbelievable Truth and Its Consequences as Himself
2010 Blue Bloods (3 episodes) as Jyle Hogan
2009 White Collar (1 episode) as Patrick O'Leary
2009 Brooklyn's Finest as State Trooper #1
2008 Miracle at St. Anna as General Ned Almond
2007 Gossip Girl (23 episodes) as Bart Bass
2006 Kidnapped (13 episodes) as Bellows
2005 Good Night, and Good Luck. as Charlie Mack
2005 American Dad! (1 episode)
2005 Hide and Seek as Steven
2004 Connie and Carla as Rudy
2004 Speak as Mr. Neck
2003 Piggie as Jim
2002 CSI: Miami (1 episode)
2001 No Such Thing as Monster
2000 Witchblade (1 episode)
1999 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (14 episodes) as Ed Tucker
1998 First Love, Last Rites as Henry
1998 Somewhere in the City as Frankie
1998 Midnight Flight as Paul Bacon
1998 A Bright Shining Lie as Frank Drummond
1997 Oz (1 episode)
1997 Mayday - Flug in den Tod as Tom Hutton
1996 Thinner as Billy Halleck
1996 Killer: A Journal of Murder as R.G. Greiser
1996 Fled as Pat Schiller
1996 If Lucy Fell as Handsome Man
1995 Flirt as Men's Room Man #2
1993 Tombstone as Frank McLaury
1993 Heaven & Earth as Paul
1993 RoboCop 3 as RoboCop
1993 A Far Off Place as Paul Parker
1992 Simple Men as Bill McCabe
1992 Dust Devil as Dust Devil
1991 Rambling Rose as Dave Wilkie
1989 The Unbelievable Truth as Josh
1986 Nightmare Weekend as Dave
1981 The Chosen as Levi Saunders
1981 Gangster Wars as Officer Reardon
1977 Looking for Mr. Goodbar as Patrick

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