Bob Gunton
Gunton in 1963
Alma materPaulist Seminary St Peter's College
University of California, Irvine
Years active1965–present

Bob Gunton is an American character actor of stage and screen. He is known for playing strict authoritarian characters, including Warden Samuel Norton in the 1994 prison drama The Shawshank Redemption, Chief George Earle in 1993's Demolition Man, Dr. Walcott, the domineering dean of Virginia Medical School in Patch Adams, and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance in Argo. He also played Leland Owlsley in the Daredevil television series, Secretary of Defense Ethan Kanin in 24, and Noah Taylor in Desperate Housewives.

In addition to his film and television careers, Gunton is a prolific theatre actor. He originated the role of Juan Perón in the Broadway premiere of Evita and the titular character in the 1989 revival of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, roles for which he received Tony Award nominations. He has received a Drama Desk Award, an Obie Award, and a Clarence Derwent Award.

Early life, education and the Vietnam War

Gunton was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Rose Marie (née Banovetz) and Robert Patrick Gunton Sr., a labor union executive.[citation needed] He attended Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California, the Paulist Seminary St Peter's College, in Baltimore, Maryland, and the University of California, Irvine. A lifelong devout Catholic, Gunton initially planned to be a priest.[1][2]

He served in the United States Army (1969–71) as a radio telephone operator with the 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, and was at the Battle of Fire Support Base Ripcord, South Vietnam, during the 23-day siege.[3]

He and a comrade were awarded the Bronze Star for returning to the base to retrieve important but forgotten radios in the evacuation's final moments, so that they would not fall into the hands of the People's Army of Vietnam forces about to capture the base. Due to this, he was one of the last people to evacuate. During the battle, he lost one of his dog tags, but it was returned to him over 40 years later in 2018.[4][5]


Gunton played the role of Juan Perón in the original 1980 Broadway production of Evita, earning a nomination for Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance. He had a supporting role in the 1985 HBO film Finnegan Begin Again starring Robert Preston and Mary Tyler Moore. Gunton later starred in the title role of a 1989 Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd and received a second Tony nomination for his portrayal. Additional Broadway credits include Working, King of Hearts, The Music Man (NYCO), How I Got That Story, and Big River.[citation needed]

Gunton portrayed President Richard Nixon in a recreation of the Watergate tapes incident for Nightline. He also played President Woodrow Wilson in the film Iron Jawed Angels (2004). Gunton is also known for his guest starring role as Capt. Benjamin Maxwell in the 1991 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Wounded". Gunton played Warden Samuel Norton, the head of Shawshank State Prison and the primary antagonist in The Shawshank Redemption (1994) opposite Tim Robbins. Gunton played Cecil Dobbs in the 2011 film The Lincoln Lawyer.

Gunton also guest starred in the first season of Desperate Housewives and the sixth season of 24, where he portrayed United States Secretary of Defense Ethan Kanin. He signed on as series regular afterward and reprised the role of Kanin but now as the Chief of Staff to the new president, Allison Taylor, in the show's seventh season as well as the two-hour television prequel film, 24: Redemption. He returned again for the eighth season but this time as the President's Secretary of State. Gunton portrays Leland Owlsley in the 2015 TV series Daredevil.[6] Gunton made a guest appearance on[7] Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in January 2017. In 2021, Gunton was used as a body double for Harold Ramis' character Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.[8]

Stage credits

Year Title Role Notes
1965 Tennessee, U.S.A. Johnny Timberlake
1972 The Kid Cowpoke
1977 Happy End Ben Owens / Bill Cracker (understudy)
1978 Working Bud Jonas / Frank Decker
King of Hearts Raoul Nominated - Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
1979 Tip-Toes Rollo Metcalf
1979–83 Evita President Juan Perón Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Nominated - Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical
1980 How I Got That Story The Historical Event Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Male Performer
Obie Award for Distinguished Performance by an Actor
Nominated - Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play
1981 Isn't It Romantic? Paul Stuart
1982 The Death of Von Richtofen as Witnessed From Earth Hermann Göring
Hamlet King Claudius
1983 Passion Play James
An American Comedy George Reilly
1984 Amadeus Antonio Salieri
1985–87 Big River The King Nominated - Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
1987–90 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Sweeney Todd Nominated - Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical
Nominated - Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Nominated - Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
1987 Roza Lola
1988 Phaedra Britannica Governor
2000 The Poison Tree The Hon. Ronald S. Rogers
2002 Follies Benjamin Stone
2003 On the Twentieth Century Oscar Jaffee
2004 The Great Ostrovsky David Ostrovsky Nominated - Barrymore Award for Excellence in Theater



Year Title Role Notes
1981 Rollover Sal Naftari
1985 Static Frank
1987 Matewan C.E. Lively
The Pick-up Artist Fernando Portacarrero
1989 Cookie Richie Segretto
Glory General Charles Harker
Born on the Fourth of July Doctor
1990 Sesame Street Home Video Visits the Firehouse Chief Kirby Short
1991 JFK TV Newsman
Missing Pieces Mr. Gabor
1992 Patriot Games Interviewer
The Public Eye Older Agent
Jennifer 8 Director Goodridge
1993 Father Hood Lazzaro
Demolition Man Chief George Earle
1994 The Shawshank Redemption Warden Sam Norton
1995 Dolores Claiborne Mr. Pease
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls Burton Quinn
1996 Broken Arrow Mr. Pritchett
The Glimmer Man Frank Deverell
1997 A Thousand Acres Judge Uncredited
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Finley Largent
1998 Patch Adams Dean Walcott
1999 Bats Dr. Alexander McCabe
2000 The Perfect Storm Alexander McAnally III
2001 Scenes of the Crime Steven, Jimmy's Partner
2002 Boat Trip Boat Captain
2003 Dallas 362 Joe
2004 I Heart Huckabees Mr. Silver
2006 Believe in Me Hugh Moreland
2007 Dead Silence Edward Ashen
Fracture Judge Gardner
Numb Dr. Townsend
Rendition Lars Whitman
2008 Player 5150 Nick Villa
The Lazarus Project Father Ezra
2008 The Least of These Father Thomas Peters
2009 Tenure William Thurber
2010 The Trial Joe Whetstone
2011 The Lincoln Lawyer Cecil Dobbs
Kill the Irishman Jerry Merke
2012 Get the Gringo Thomas Kaufmann
Argo Secretary of State Cyrus Vance Hollywood Film Awards for Best Ensemble Cast
Trouble with the Curve Watson
2013 Highland Park Bert
Decoding Annie Parker Dr. Benton
Jimmy Sheriff Brinson
Runner Runner Dean Alex Monroe
Live at the Foxes Den Tony O'Hara
2014 Mountain Top Mr Forest
2015 Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant Flight School Instructor
The 33 President Sebastián Piñera
2017 Alex & the List Mr. Stern
2018 Unbroken: Path to Redemption Major Zeigler
2021 Ghostbusters: Afterlife Egon Spengler Motion capture role, with Harold Ramis' likeness superimposed[9]
TBA The Gettysburg Address William Herndon (voice)


Year Title Role Notes
1985 Finnegan Begin Again Christian Jamison Television film
The Equalizer Cronin Episode "Mama's Boy"
1988 Hothouse Dr. Leonard Schrader 7 episodes
Miami Vice Rivas Episode: "Heart of Night"
1989 Unconquered Governor George Wallace Television film
1990 Judgment Monsignor Beauvais Television film
The Bride in Black Sydney Television film
Law & Order Gil Himes Episode: "Happily Ever After"
L.A. Law Bob Weston Episode: "New Kidney on the Block"
1991 Star Trek: The Next Generation Captain Benjamin Maxwell Episode: "The Wounded"
Perry Mason: The Case of the Glass Coffin Assistant District Attorney Scott Willard Television film
A Woman Named Jackie Hugh Auchincloss 3 episodes
1992 Ned Blessing: The True Story of My Life Texas Preacher Television film
Sinatra Tommy Dorsey 2 episodes
Dead Ahead: The Exxon Valdez Disaster Larry Dietrick, State of Alaska Television film
1993 Wild Palms Dr. Tobias Schenkl 5 episodes
Murder in the Heartland Governor Anderson 2 episodes
1994 Roswell Frank Joyce Television film
Cosmic Slop President Ellis (Space Traders segment) Television film
1995 In Pursuit of Honor Colonel John Hardesty Television film
Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. Long Franklin D. Roosevelt Television film
1995 Courthouse Judge Homer Conklin 11 episodes
1996 The Siege at Ruby Ridge Bo Gritz Television film
1997 Elvis Meets Nixon President Richard Nixon Television film
Buffalo Soldiers Colonel Benjamin Grierson Television film
1998 Nothing Sacred Bishop Corey Episode: "Signs and Words"
The Outer Limits Clute Nichols Episode: "The Hunt"
Ally McBeal Michaelson Episode: "These Are the Days"
2000 Running Mates Terrence Randall Television film
Family Law Judge Mason Episode: "Telling Lies, Conclusion"
2001 When Billie Beat Bobby Jerry Perenchio Television film
61* Dan Topping Television film
2002 The Court Casey Episode: "Back in the Bottle"
Spin City Governor Riley Episode: "A Friend in Need"
Touched by an Angel Sidney Alcott Episode: "A Feather on the Breath of God"
2002–2004 Greg the Bunny Jack 'Junction Jack' Mars Main role
2003 Mister Sterling California Governor Marino 4 episodes
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Director Robert Carvallo Episode: "Play with Fire"
Peacemakers Mayor Malcolm Smith Main role
2003–2004 Judging Amy Dr. Alan Foster 3 episodes
2004 Iron Jawed Angels President Woodrow Wilson Television film
Judas High Priest Caiaphas Television film
Monk Dwight Ellison Episode: "Mr. Monk and the Game Show"
2004–2006 Desperate Housewives Noah Taylor Recurring role
2005 Nip/Tuck Agent Sagamore 3 episodes
2006 Pepper Dennis Dick Dinkle Recurring role
Numbers Boyd Resnick Episode: "Waste Not"
E-Ring General Hughes 3 episodes
2007 Pandemic Dr. Max Sorkosky Miniseries
The Batman Gorman Voice, Episode: "Riddler's Revenge"
Women's Murder Club Arthur Lazar Episode: "Train In Vain"
2007–2010 24 Ethan Kanin Main role
2008 Boston Legal Attorney William Connolly Episode: "The Court Supreme"
24: Redemption Ethan Kanin Television film
World War II: Behind Closed Doors President Franklin D. Roosevelt BBC documentary with historical reconstructions[10]
2010 The Mentalist Alexander Harrington Episode: "Red All Over"
Warren the Ape Unknown Episode: "Out with the Old"
2010–2016 Royal Pains General William Collins Recurring role
2011 Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior Marshall Phelps Episode: "Strays"
Family Guy Warden Voice, Episode: "Cool Hand Peter"
2012 Wilfred Warner Episode: "Now"
Up All Night Tom Episode: "The Wedding"
2014 New Girl Ed Episode: "Basketsball"
Trophy Wife Francis Harrison Episode: "The Wedding: Part Two"
2015 Daredevil Leland Owlsley Main cast (season 1)
Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street Grandpa 2 episodes
2016 The Last Tycoon Vanderbilt Riddle Episode: "Pilot"
2017 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Lawrence Hendricks Sr. Episode: "Decline and Fall"
Trial & Error Jeremiah Jefferson Davis 6 episodes
2018 The Blacklist Nicholas Moore 2 episodes
2019 The Cool Kids Colonel Christianson Episode: "Funeral Crashers"
Project Blue Book President Harry S. Truman Episode: "The Washington Merry-Go Round"
Elementary Frederick Wentz Episode: "Reichenbach Falls"


  1. ^ "Toledo Blade - Google News Archive Search".
  2. ^ Angelo Stagnaro (February 26, 2017). "Where the Stars Go to Pray: The Churches of Hollywood". Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  3. ^ "Hollywood star, Vietnam vet reunites with dog tag in Cherry Hill". Courier-Post. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  4. ^ "Robert Gunton - Actor, Vietnam Veteran and Bronze Star recipient reunited with his long lost dog tag - Patriot Connections Dog Tag Project | Patriot Connections". Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  5. ^ "Actor/Vietnam Veteran and Bronze Star recipient, Bob Gunton, to be reunited with his Dog Tag at Cherry Hill Legion | Patriot Connections". April 3, 2018. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  6. ^ Netflix Sets Marvel’s “Daredevil” For April!
  7. ^ "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit". Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  8. ^ Vespe, Eric (December 14, 2021). "Ghostbusters: Afterlife Cast Shawshank Redemption Actor Bob Gunton As Egon's Stand-In".
  9. ^ "The Day Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson Became Ghostbusters Again". Vanity Fair. November 22, 2021. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  10. ^ "BBC Two - World War II: Behind Closed Doors". December 19, 2008. Retrieved February 20, 2012.

Further reading