David Rasche

David Rasche (/ˈræʃi/ RASH-ee;[1] born August 7, 1944) is an American theater, film and television actor who is best known for his portrayal of the title character in the 1980s satirical police sitcom Sledge Hammer! Since then he has often played characters in positions of authority, in both serious and comical turns. In television he is known for his recurring performances in L.A. Law, Monk, The West Wing, Veep, and Succession.

David Rasche
Born (1944-08-07) August 7, 1944 (age 76)
Alma mater
Years active1977–present
Heather Lupton
(m. 1980)

Early lifeEdit

Rasche was born in Belleville, Illinois (less than 20 mi (32 km) from St. Louis, Missouri[2]). His father was a minister and farmer.[3]

Rasche graduated from Elmhurst College in 1966; his grandfather was also an alumnus.[3] Coming from "a long line of Evangelical and United Church of Christ ministers", he attended the University of Chicago Divinity School for two years, then quit. He did, however, receive a graduate degree in English from University of Chicago.[4]

He studied acting under Sanford Meisner.[4]


Early yearsEdit

He worked as a writer and teacher, including teaching English for two years at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota.[4][3] He performed for two years in Chicago's Second City improvisation group after studying there, and he also helped found Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago,[3] investing $1,000.[citation needed]

After Second City, he starred in the Organic Theater's 1974 production of David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago, which established the playwright's characteristic blend of earthy, sometimes brutal dialogue.[4]

He began appearing on television and films in 1977, making his film debut in 1978 in An Unmarried Woman, directed by Paul Mazursky. The following year, he had a small part in Woody Allen's Manhattan.

He played a terrorist in the 1983 television film Special Bulletin. He appeared on the Miami Vice episode "Bushido" (first aired November 22, 1985) as a KGB agent attempting to capture a former colleague of Lt. Castillo (Edward James Olmos). During his subsequent starring role on Sledge Hammer! his character often made jokes about Miami Vice.

Rasche played Petruchio to Frances Conroy's Kate in a production of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew directed by Zoe Caldwell at the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut in the mid-1980s.

Sledge Hammer!Edit

Rasche is best known for his portrayal of the title character in the satirical television sitcom Sledge Hammer!, which ran from 1986 to 1988. The show was a spoof of police dramas and concerned the character Sledge Hammer, a violent and chauvinistic police inspector with a taste for large and powerful weaponry.

Later workEdit

Rasche had a minor role as a photographer in the movie Cobra alongside Brigitte Nielsen.

Shortly after Sledge Hammer! ended, he played to critical acclaim in the Broadway production of Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, and he later appeared in an Off-Broadway revival of Mamet's Edmond.

Rasche was lead character Buddy Wheeler in the 1990 Biker Comedy Masters of Menace.

He played Parnelli, one of two corrupt narcotics police officers, in the 1989 Tom Selleck crime drama, An Innocent Man.

Rasche played the role of Ted Forstmann in the 1993 made-for-television movie Barbarians at the Gate, about the leveraged buyout (LBO) of RJR Nabisco.

Rasche had a leading role in the 1997 Columbo episode, "A Trace of Murder."

In addition to his work as a screen actor, Rasche can also be heard as Captain Piett in the NPR radio adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back.

He portrayed Donald Greene, one of the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, in Paul Greengrass' 2006 9/11 film United 93.

He had a major role in the 2009 satirical political comedy In the Loop, as a US official pushing for an invasion of an unspecified Middle Eastern country.

Starting February 14, 2017 he played George Antrobus in Theatre for a New Audience's production of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth, opposite Kecia Lewis as Maggie Antrobus.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Rasche met his future wife Heather Lupton after he moved to New York City in 1976.[4] She has taught acting at University of California, Santa Barbara.[4] Lupton made a guest appearance in the series Sledge Hammer as Hammer's ex-wife.[3] They have three children. Rasche owns a house in Santa Barbara, California.[4]



Year Title Role Notes
1978 An Unmarried Woman Performer uncredited
1979 Manhattan Television Actor #3
1979 Something Short of Paradise David Ritchie
1980 Just Tell Me What You Want Stopwatch Producer
1981 Honky Tonk Freeway Eddie White
1982 Fighting Back Michael Taylor
1984 Best Defense Jeff the 'KBG' Agent
1986 Cobra Dan
1986 Native Son Buckley
1987 Made in Heaven Donald Sumner
1989 Wicked Stepmother Steve Fisher
1989 An Innocent Man Det. Mike Parnell
1989 Wedding Band Sloane Vaughn
1990 Masters of Menace Buddy Wheeler
1991 Delirious Dr. Paul Kirkwood/Dennis
1991 Bingo Hal Devlin
1993 Twenty Bucks Baker
1994 A Million to Juan Jeff
1994 Bigfoot: The Unforgettable Encounter Chaz Frederick
1995 Magic in the Water Phillip
1995 Pie in the Sky Amy's Dad
1997 That Old Feeling Alan
1999 Friends & Lovers Richard 'Richie' Wickham
1999 The Settlement Denny
1999 The Big Tease Stig Ludwigssen
1999 Pros & Cons Jack Stanford
2001 Teddy Bears' Picnic Elliot Chevron
2002 Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Taylor Abbott
2003 Just Married Mr. McNerney
2003 Exposed Warren Ward
2004 Off the Lip Dr. Martin Shutte
2005 The L.A. Riot Spectacular Performer
2005 Perception Phil
2006 The Sentinel President Ballentine
2006 United 93 Donald Freeman Greene
2006 Flags of Our Fathers Senator
2007 The Girl in the Park Doug
2008 Burn After Reading CIA Officer Palmer DeBakey Smith
2009 In the Loop Linton Barwick
2009 Peter and Vandy Alan
2009 Crimes of the Past Thomas Sparrow
2009 Blue Eyes Marshall
2011 Collaborator Radio Host (voice)
2011 Remembrance Daniel Levine
2012 Missed Connections George
2012 Revenge for Jolly! Eichelberger
2012 Men in Black 3 Agent X
2012 Petunia Percy Petunia
2012 The Discoverers Cyrus Marshall
2012 The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich Hills
2013 Kill Your Darlings Dean
2013 The Big Wedding Barry O'Connor
2014 Amira & Sam Jack
2014 Freedom Jefferson Monroe
2019 Swallow Michael


Year Title Role Notes
1977 The Andros Targets Smitty Episode: Death in a Toy Balloon
1978 On Our Town Performer Episode: A Friend, Indeed
1979 Sanctuary of Fear Jack Collins Television Movie
1979 Mrs. Columbo William Gardner Episode: Falling Star
1978–81 Ryan's Hope Wes Leonard 34 episodes
1981–82 Love, Sidney J.M. 2 episodes
1982 SCTV Network Robert Wellesly Episode: Melonvote
1983 Special Bulletin Dr. David McKeeson Television Movie
1984 The Lost Honor of Kathryn Beck Donald Catton Television Movie
1984 Search for Tomorrow Col. Tom Burns 3 episodes
1985 Sara David Collier Episode: David Returns
1985 Code Name: Foxfire Sam Rawlings Episode: Slay it Again, Sam
1985 Miami Vice Surf Episode: Bushido
1986 Kate & Allie Richard Lubin Episode: Thank You, Shirley
1986–88 Sledge Hammer! Sledge Hammer 41 episodes
1988 Secret Witness Sandy Television Movie
1990 Silhouette Sherriff Kyle Lauder Television Movie
1991 The Trials of Rosie O'Neill Patrick Episode: Wolf Pack
1992 L.A. Law David McCoy 2 episodes
1993 Empty Nest Jack Trenton Episode: Love and Marriage
1993 Barbarians at the Gate Ted Forstmann Television Movie
1994 Burke's Law John Ramsey Episode: Who Killed the Legal Eagle?
1994 Hart to Hard: Old Friends Never Die Alfred Raine Television Movie
1992–94 Nurses Jack Trenton 46 episodes
1995 Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Friggit (voice) Episode: Where Have All the Monsters Gone?
1995 Signs and Wonders Brother Nahum 4 episodes
1995 Duckman Baron Von Dillweed Episode: Married Alive
1995 Perry Mason Ben Landry TV Movie: The Case of the Jealous Jokester
1995 Dead Weekend Payne Television Movie
1995 Out There Don Polson Television Movie
1995–96 High Society Peter Thomas 10 episodes
1997 Columbo Patrick Kinsey Episode: A Trace of Murder
1998 The Wonderful World of Disney Derek Early Episode: Tourist Trap
1998 Recess (TV series) Mr. E Episode: The Substitute
1998 Just Shoot Me! Michael Tenzer Episode: War and Sleaze
1999 Grown Ups Kenny Daniels Episode: Family Circus
1999 The West Wing Carl Episode: The State Dinner
2000 Suddenly Susan Evan 2 episodes
2001 The Lot Eddie Moran Episode: The Mob Scene
2001 For Your Love Dr. Bruckner Episode: The Birth Day
2000–01 DAG President Whitman 5 episodes
2002 MDs Mr. Baranski Episode: Reversal of Fortune
2002 Providence Doc Croc Episode: The Wedding Planner
2002 What Leonard Comes Home To Performer Television Movie
2003 Malcolm in the Middle Lawyer Episode: Grandma Sues
2003 Monk Coach Patterson Episode: Mr. Monk Goes Back to School
2003 She Spies Norton Andrews Episode: While You Were Out
2003 Robbery Homicide Division Lee Episode: Hellbound Train
2004 Las Vegas Tim Valentine Episode: Die Fast, Die Furious
2006 The Book of Daniel Donald Warwick Episode: Acceptence
2008 All My Children Robert Gardner 38 episodes
2009 Law & Order Joe Delaney Episode: Anchors Aweigh
2009 Sherri Bart 3 episodes
2009 Can Openers Dr. Steven Miller Television Movie
2009–10 Ugly Betty Cal Hartley 10 episodes
2011 The Electric Company The Ronald Episode: The Junior Assistant
2010 Rubicon James Wheeler 7 episodes
2011 Are We There Yet? Thunder Clark Episode: She Got Game
2011 Royal Pains Charles Woodward Episode: Rash Talk
2011 Bored to Death Bernard 6 episodes
2014 Black Box Hunter Black 2 episodes
2016 Understudies Clement Shaw Episode: Table Manners
2016 Madam Secretary Amb. Arlen Maxwell Episode: The Middle Way
2015–16 Impastor Alden Schmidt 20 episodes
2013–17 Veep Jim Marwood 8 episodes
2018–present Succession Karl Muller 12 episodes


Year Title Role Venue
1977 The Shadow Box Mark Morosco Theatre, Broadway
1980 Lunch Hour Peter Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Broadway
1988 Speed-the-Plow Bobby Gould Royale Theatre, Broadway
1988 Getting and Spending Richard O'Neill Helen Hayes Theatre, Broadway
2004 Five by Tenn Performer Manhattan Theatre Club, Broadway
2005 Moonlight and Magnolias Victor Fleming
2006 Lovely Day Performer Samuel Beckett Theatre, New York
2006 Elvis and Juliet Joey Francis Lesley June Havoc Theatre, New York
2006–07 Regrets Only Jack McCullough Manhattan Theatre Club, Off-Broadway
2008 The Seagull Yevgeny Sergeyevich Dorn Classic Stage Company, Off-Broadway
2008 To Be or Not to Be Josef Tura Manhattan Theatre Club, Broadway
2012 Warrior Class Nathan Second Stage Theatre, Off-Broadway
2013 Little Miss Sunshine Grandpa Hoover Second Stage Theatre, Off-Broadway
2014 The Country House Walter Keegan Manhattan Theatre Club, Broadway
2017 The Skin of Our Teeth Mr. Antroubus Polonsky Shakespeare Center, Brooklyn


  1. ^ "Say How?". National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Library of Congress. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  2. ^ "St. Louis, MO to Belleville, IL". Google Maps. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e Shin, Laura. "David Rasche '66, star of stage, screen and sit-com, is a celebrated 'smart performer'". Prospect Magazine. Elmhurst College. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Smith, Dinitia (October 15, 1996). "Figuring Out How to Feel Like a Man With Mamet". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Clement, Olivia (2017-02-14). "The Skin of Our Teeth, with Kecia Lewis, Begins at TFANA". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-03-04.

External linksEdit