David Rasche (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.
Heather Lupton (m. 1980)
Rasche graduated from Elmhurst College in 1966; his grandfather was also an alumnus. 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.
He worked as a writer and teacher, including teaching English for two years at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota. 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, investing $1,000.
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.
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.
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.
Rasche was lead character Buddy Wheeler in the 1990 Biker Comedy Masters of Menace.
Rasche had a leading role in the 1997 Columbo episode, "A Trace of Murder."
Other film roles include:
- He starred as a crooked police officer in the 1989 Tom Selleck movie An Innocent Man.
- He appeared as Stig Ludwigssen in the 2000 movie The Big Tease starring Craig Ferguson.
- He played the President in the 2006 film The Sentinel.
- He has a minor appearance in Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers.
- In 2008, he played a CIA officer in Burn After Reading.
- In fall 2008, Rasche starred in To Be or Not to Be, an unsuccessful Broadway adaptation of the 1942 film, in a reprisal of Jack Benny's role as Joseph Tura.
- Rasche portrayed Chief X in the 2012 science fiction film Men in Black 3.
- He had a small role in the 2013 biographical Beat Generation film Kill Your Darlings.
- He starred as Jack in Amira & Sam (2014)
He met his future wife Heather Lupton after he moved to New York City in 1976. She has taught acting at University of California, Santa Barbara. Lupton made a guest appearance in the series Sledge Hammer as Hammer's ex-wife. They have three children.
- Swallow - Michael (2019)
- Freedom - Jefferson Monroe (2014)
- Kill Your Darlings - Dean (2013)
- The Big Wedding - Barry O'Connor (2013)
- Men in Black 3 - Agent X (2012)
- Die verlorene Zeit - Daniel Levine (2011)
- In the Loop - Linton Barwick (2009)
- Blue Eyes - Marshall (2009)
- Crimes of the Past - Thomas Sparrow (2009)
- Burn After Reading - CIA Officer Palmer (2008)
- The Girl in the Park - Doug (2007)
- The Sentinel - President John Ballentine (2006)
- United 93 - Donald Freeman Greene (2006)
- Off the Lip - Dr. Martin Shutte (2004)
- Just Married - Mr. McNerney (2003)
- Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Taylor Abbott (2002)
- Pros & Cons - Jack Stanford (1999)
- The Big Tease - Stig Ludwigssen (1999)
- Friends & Lovers - Richard 'Richie' Wickham (1999)
- That Old Feeling - Alan (1997)
- Magic in the Water - Phillip (1995)
- Bingo - Hal Devlin (1991)
- Delirious - Dr. Paul Kirkwood/Dennis (1991)
- Masters of Menace - Buddy Wheeler (1990)
- An Innocent Man - Detective Mike Parnell (1989)
- Made in Heaven - Donald Sumner (1987)
- Cobra - Dan (1986)
- ABC Grammar Rock - (1985)
- Best Defense - Jeff the 'KBG' Agent (1984)
- Special Bulletin - Dr. David McKeeson (1983)
- Fighting Back - Michael Taylor (1982)
- Honky Tonk Freeway - Eddie White (1981)
1986-1988, Sledge Hammer! as inspector Sledge Hammer (41 episodes)
Rasche joined the cast of Ugly Betty in its third season in 2009 as the wealthy father of Matt Hartley, Betty's love interest. He appeared in the final five episodes of season three, and remained in the cast until mid-season four when his character's arc ended.
Other television appearances include:
- Miami Vice: Bushido 1985, known as Surf.
- NBC sitcom Nurses from 1992 to 1994. (as Jack Trenton, a crooked stockbroker sentenced to community service at Miami General Hospital.)
- Hart to Hart: Old Friends Never Die 1994 movie, as publisher Alfred Raine.
- Columbo: A Trace of Murder, 1997, as the murderer.
- The West Wing episode "The State Dinner", playing a Democratic Party supporter who is also escorting Sam Seaborn's call-girl girlfriend.
- Monk in the 2003 episode "Mr. Monk Goes Back to School", as a gym teacher.
- Malcolm in the Middle in the 2003 episode "Grandma Sues", as Grandma Ida's lawyer.
- AMC's Rubicon in the role of James Wheeler.
- All My Children in 2008, in the role of Robert Gardner.
- Bored to Death, in the role of Bernard, the boyfriend of Ted Danson's character's daughter.
- He appeared on the May 11, 2012 episode of Primetime: What Would You Do?, when he inadvertently walked into the scene the producers and actors were putting on, where an employee dropped a customer's package and broke what was in it. David chose not to tell on the employee, and played along, saying, "I didn't hear anything."
- Black Box, in the role of Hunter Black
- Veep, where he plays Speaker of the House of Representatives Jim Marwood
- Succession, in the role of Karl
- "Say How?". National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Library of Congress. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
- "St. Louis, MO to Belleville, IL". Google Maps. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
- Shin, Laura. "David Rasche '66, star of stage, screen and sit-com, is a celebrated 'smart performer'". Prospect Magazine. Elmhurst College. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- Smith, Dinitia (October 15, 1996). "Figuring Out How to Feel Like a Man With Mamet". The New York Times.
- "Amira & Sam Cast". Amira & Sam. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
- Clement, Olivia (2017-02-14). "The Skin of Our Teeth, with Kecia Lewis, Begins at TFANA". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-03-04.