Friday, July 20, 2012

Robert Sorrells

If anyone remembers Robert Sorrells today, it is most likely from the murder he committed in 2004 and not for his memorable work as a guest star in many popular television shows from the 1960's.

Although probably most remembered as the robot baseball player in the Twilight Zone episode, The Mighty Casey, his best work was in television westerns such as Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Bonanza, Daniel Boone, Lancer, Kung Fu and Death Valley Days. And although Robert Sorrells guest starred in other shows like The Waltons, Judd for the Defense and Cannon, as westerns faded from television, so did this wonderful actor.


Smaller roles in films like Bound for Glory and Fletch would follow, but by 1990 his very busy career had come to a stand still. Then on July 24, 2004, after an earlier argument, Robert Sorrells walked into a bar and opened fire, killing one man and seriously wounding another. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.

Robert Sorrells is remembered these days as a murderer, and will most likely be forgotten as the fine actor he once was. A sad legacy for a talented man.

ADDENDUM

Robert Sorrells died in prison on June 11, 2019. Of the over two hundred actors profiled on this blog, he managed to bring out the most complete picture of tragedy through all of the comments in this section. His work will live on and sadly, so will the pain that two families have endured through his actions. I hope people will continue to use this blog to post stories and share their love, anger and frustration, for it is through all of your comments we have gotten to know, for better and for worse, the life of a talented but extremely flawed man.

44 comments:

  1. Another one of so many faces on this blog that I know I've seen but can't remember where. Probably The Waltons. My family watched that & Little House on the Prairie every week when I was a kid in the 70s. (IMO, as a theatrical composer I really appreciate the theme music from the Waltons. I haven't seen the show or heard that music since it aired in the 70s, but I can still hear it vividly in my head.)

    Don

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  2. Robert Sorrells did a lot of TV work in the 1970's. And if you watched a lot of television back then (which most people did) you probably saw him many times. I found the prison he's in and wrote him a letter. He wrote me back immediately. Nice guy and beautiful handwriting for a 85-year-old man.

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    1. That's just so awesome that you're reaching out to him..Geeeez-did OUR letter get lost in the mail?? Because It was MY family member that he almost murdered. MY FAMILY that he left for dead while he actually went back to sit at the bar...waiting for a drink, while my love lay on that bar floor. Bleeding to death. Now left permanently disabled, after multiple subsequent reconstructive facial surgeries and chronic/ mind numbing pain at times. Nice guy??
      Just remember-the same hand that's responding in such BEEEAAAUUTIFUL handwriting to your disturbing request for correspondance is the same hand that took the life of Mr DeLong- robbing his children of a future with their father. ..the same hand that nearly took the life of Edward Sanchez and forever changed his future. He still wakes up screaming sometimes.
      So next time you "best-ies" chat, you let him know that the Sanchez family cannot WAIT for the day that we get notification from the DA that Mr Sorrells has gone to face his FINAL and eternal judgement for the crimes he has committed. It won't be soon enough.

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    2. To the families of Mr. Delong and Mr. Sanchez - I am truly sorry for any pain that the coverage of Robert Sorrells has caused your families. This site has always been meant as a tribute to forgotten actors based on their talent - not their personalities. Many celebrities living or dead are not good people. I have always tried to focus on their work and nothing more. I have corresponded with several actors on this blog and asked them questions about their craft. My letter to Mr. Sorrells was no different than what I have sent other actors. As for me calling him a nice guy, my comment was not only out of line, but insensitive to the victims and families of this tragedy. Please accept my sincere apologies on any further pain this may have caused you.
      Mike Trippiedi

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    3. Now, you are the nice guy!

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    4. Can you tell me what prison he is in? I just found out he is my biological father through ancenstrydna.com I would go visit him if it is allowed.
      Delane Dale delandeale123@yahoo.com

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    5. Robert Sorrells has since been moved to a medical facility. If you do a search for State of California Inmate Locator you should find all of the information that you are looking for there.

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    6. Robert Sorrells was my "scene partner" in acting class at the Melrose Theater in Hollywood back in the 80's. He was quiet, humble, polite and professional to work with. I did not know him beyond our rehearsals and performances. I cannot imagine what came over him to commit the crime for which he is imprisoned, but I would like to write to him if you have an address.

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    7. I don't have the prison address anymore. You can find the address by doing a google search of State of California Inmate Locator.

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    8. I did find him and wrote him 2 letters and even talked to him on the phone. However he did not write back so seems does not want to meet me (his bio daughter).

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    9. His address is 1600 California drive, Vacaville CA 95696 bed G310, his number is V88363

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    10. I am very sorry and extend my sorrow to the Sanchez and De Long families. Bob Sorrells' last act in the outside world was as a drunken murderer. He got what he deserved. Nothing in his earlier life can excuse what he did.

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  3. I think Robert was suffering from some sort of dementia when he fired that gun that fatal night. He was behaving as though he were playing a character in a western--- the type of role he had played so many times onscreen. I think fantasy got mixed up with reality. Robert was an anti-war pacifist who would never kill if in his right frame of mind!

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    1. He WAS old enough to have dementia, G-d knows. Also, people snap sometimes. Understandable, yes. Forgivable, maybe not.

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  4. Robert Sorrells was a fantastic, well-known, and much-respected character actor of the 'Golden Age' of TV. Apparently, he was sitting in his neighborhood bar one weekend afternoon, trying to mind his own business, when two unknown and younger patrons heckled and insulted him over the span of a couple of hours. Sorrells finally snapped, walked the couple of blocks to his house and returned with a gun. He had been isolated, ignored, and abandoned by former friends and colleagues of the 'Hollywood Community' that one time he was so much a part of. Truly a sad end to a talented man who had given us several decades of viewing pleasure.

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  5. He also apperaed in an episode of the famous "Bewitched" sitcom.
    Here's the link to the episode:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTDWao7NwO4

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  6. I just came upon this blog and message thread and think I have something to contribute. First of all, my deep condolences to the De Long and Sanchez families. There are no words that can take away your loss and pain.
    I knew Bob Sorrells at the time of the shootings, and have kept in touch. In fact, I just visited him today, the first time I've seen him in several years. He had no one in his life and was in a bad mental state back then, compounded by alcoholism. Please understand that I do not in any way condone or excuse what he did. And I would feel as you do if it had been my family member.
    He has changed a great deal in these ten years in prison, become a very spiritual person and is helping others. I, too, feel the sadness that someone who was talented and vital - and non-violent - for some 74 years took this strange turn so late in life and thus changed the fates if so many. Prison is a harsh place, to say the least, but he has taken the high road in a rough and dangerous environment.

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  7. Thanks for the posts illuminating Robert Sorrell's crime. I wondered how he could do such a thing. Sorrell's contributions as a character actor are unblemished; it's sad his life spiraled out of control. The ones he shot were not the ones who heckled him, and no amount of heckling excuses such a response. Still I am glad some people care about him and take time to visit and write to him. Matthew 25:40. I pray that Sorrell's victims will find closure in forgiveness. It's the only way to heal.

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  8. Sorrells was an extreme left wing liberal with a history of social activism. A anti-war pacifist, a vegetarian and an alcoholic. For someone to blame his roles in westerns for his actions that day when he shot two innocent men, killing one, is a far reach from the reality of his deep mental unbalance. My deepest sympathies for the families affected.

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  9. Robert Dewey Sorrells son of Henry Dewey Sorrells, is my 1/2 brother, I grew up listening about a person who they called Bobby, as a small child I played with his toys and stuff; when his dad died we reached out to Bob and he had no response. I talked to him in 1998, he had very little to say. He had issues and now he is paying for them!

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    1. do you anyone who may have retained some of his acting mementos? My dad, Robert Faircloth, acted with Bob Sorrells extensively in the 1950s. Bob Sorrells was a very good actor despite his later mental health and alcohol problems. I'm wondering if you know anyone who might have some leads. Bob Sorrells was highly respected during his acting days in Long Beach. I have some papers about him via my dad and I'm curious who possesses info about Bob S.

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  10. I remember Bobby when he joined the rodeo as a diversion clown ~. Much respect as that was such a dangerous job ~ He was also great in Fletch ~ Marvin, Thelma and Provo. Those are 3 names I enjoy ~

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    1. when did he join the rodeo as a diversion clown? where?

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  11. The man had been a peaceful, anti violence person all of his life prior to this. A vegetarian even. He'd reportedly lived in seclusion in later years, but was without any doubt suffering from anow alcohol fueled mental break. If people drank only at home, or NOT AT ALL, perhaps we'd have a better world.

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    1. You're afucking liar! That piece of shit beat my mother into a coma and she almost died. So fuck you lying sack of shit

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  12. Remember Sorrels as an actor who actually was always 'pretending'in REEL life; but now remember the REAL people he killed & injured in actual reality of life! A tragic ending for all involved. No excuse for R.S.; Sorrels must now pay for his murderous actions. My best wishes to the victims for maybe some type of healing and remembrance legacy.

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  13. I struck up a brief friendship with Sorrels in early 1984 in when we performed together in a theatrical production of "Twelve Angry Men." It was directed by Walter Koenig. He played "The Old Man" and I the "Immigrant." We drifted apart and I didn't hear from or about him again till the murder. I was greatly saddened to hear that. I knew that he had his eccentricities and had fallen on difficult times, but I certainly wouldn't have predicted that he'd be capable of such an act. Condolences to the victims. And I hope he finds some kind of peace.

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  14. My then boyfriend and dear friend to this day, Michael O'Larte, did the lighting design and tech on that production of Twelve Angry Men. I was Robert's scene partner at the Melrose Theater. He was always a gentleman and very professional to work with. It saddens me greatly how his life has turned out. I'll keep him in my prayers.

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  15. Bob Sorrells was a terrific actor. My father, Bob Faircloth, also a terrific actor, acted in many shows with him, including Shakespeare, in the 1950s mostly at Long Beach State. Though Sorrells tended to have smaller roles on screen, on stage in the 1950s he was excellent in large roles. My dad and he were roommates in the late 1950s seeking hollywood roles. Sorrells was a pro and showed no sign of his later problems in those days. No one can excuse his horrible crime. I certainly wouldn't. That said, he was quite accomplished before alcohol got him. I'm interested to talk with anyone who knew him. In fact if anyone knows of the whereabouts his personal belongings, I'd be honored to look at them. He did something horrible because of later decline, but tragedies happen, sometimes involving addiction and mental illness. Bob Sorrells was a very talented actor. My email is seanfaircloth01@gmail.com. I'd really like to talk to anyone who knew about Bob Sorrells. I'd like to talk to Bob himself assuming dementia or other maladies have not taken him.

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    1. Sean, thank you for sharing your story about your dad. Bob Sorrells passed away June 11 2019. There were a lot of things he went through, beginning in childhood, that he tried to sort out and come to terms with. I answered the phone at our house in the 1960's when Bob finally located his/our dad. I will never forget how overwhelmed dad was when they were finally able to speak to each other for the first time since Bob was taken from him as a child, and dad was unable to locate him the second time it happened. May the families who suffered loss find comfort and peace. Respectfully, GES

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    2. GES, I'm very curious about your story. I have a high school play bill from when my mother, Janice Spicer (then Janice McPherson), saw Bob Sorrells in a play at Long Beach Poly. My dad, Bob Faircloth acted extensively with Bob Sorrells at Long Beach State. And they roomed together for a year in about 1959 as starving actors in Hollywood. I don't know who has oversight over Bob Sorrells papers, but I'd love to know if there is any info about the two Bobs acting together or rooming together. please send me a message. I'd love to know bob Sorrells' history.

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    3. Sean, would you mind if I emailed you? GES

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    4. seanfaircloth01@gmail.com I'm eager to learn anything more I can about Bob Sorrells. My father said, "He was the best young actor I ever saw."

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  16. R.I.P. Robert. I remember him well as my scene partner at the Melrose Theater in Hollywood. He was mellow, talented and good to work with. I never saw a single negative word or action from him. I cannot understand the crime he committed. I pray he lived out the remainder of his life in peace.

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    1. do you have any photos of Bob Sorrells. or play bills of his work, like on twelve angry men. I'm hoping to write some things about his life. as noted above my dad acted with him regularly.

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    2. I'm sorry, Sean, I don't. I only acted with him in workshops and acting classes at the Melrose Theater in Hollywood. I don't recall him acting in any plays at the time.

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  18. Yes, Bobby WAS a terrific actor in character parts, especially on "Gunsmoke" and "The Big Valley." In one of my favorite "Gunsmoke" episodes called "The Newcomers" (1967), he saved the life of a Swedish boy, Petter (Jon Voight) by witnessing the accidental pitchfork death of a tough guy (Charles Dierkop) in a barn. I mourn not only the tragic deaths of Sorrells' victims, but also the collapse of this talented man's mental health.

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  19. Robert Sorrell was a fine character actor. I've watched him in many westerns and deserves credit for his talent. Did he cross the line from his often bad guy roles to reality..yes
    Is that the reason IMDB doesn't show his picture?

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  20. ROBERT SORRELL IS A PIECE OF SHIT WHO DATED MY MOTHER IN THE 70'S AND ALMOST KILLED HER! HES A MURDERER AND WOMAN BEATER AND IM GLAD HES IN PRISON AND FUCK ALL OF YOU FOR IDOLIZING THIS PIECE OF SHIT. HOPE HE ROTS IN HELL!!!

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  21. I do not doubt your mother's experience with Robert. That was simply not the man that I knew and worked with in the 80's. At that time he was a quiet, studious respectful actor. I guess you never really know people you work with all that well. His Twilight Zone episode was just on and I watch it this morning. It was a long time ago. I am sorry, Anonymous, for your Mom's experience. I did not know him that way.

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  22. FYI, the March 1, 2021 post was from me, Suzanne Horn. I don't know why I was listed as "Unknown".

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