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RIP Bruce Kirby, Columbo and LA Law Actor

The Kirby family of actors may not be as well known as the Sheens or the Quaids, but they should be. The most popular Kirbys were Bruce and his son Bruno, both of whom saw great careers as character actors in their heydays. However, as of January 24, 2021, neither of these great actors are with us anymore. Bruce survived his son Bruno, who died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 57. Bruce lived for nearly 15 years after his son’s death. Just recently, though. Bruce has passed away at the age of 95. Now that both famous Kirbys are gone, they are survived by John Kirby, Bruce’s younger brother who is an acting coach. RIP Bruce Kirby, Columbo and LA Law actor.

Bruce Kirby was born Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu. Though he chose to take the stage name “Bruce” during his career, he passed the name “Bruno” onto one of his sons. In turn, his son ended up using that name to start an acting career of his own. Bruce was born on April 28 in the year 1925. He was best known as a character actor, having appeared in many television programs in his day. Some of the shows that Bruce was featured on include Columbo and LA Law. However, he had many more roles under his belt.

Bruce lived to be 95 years of age before finally passing away on January 24 of 2021. He survived his son, Bruno Kirby, who passed away of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 57. Bruce is survived by his younger son, John Kirby, who announced his father’s death in a Facebook post. Though the cause of his father’s death was not specified, John assured fans that the actor died peacefully. Given his age, one can assume that he passed away from natural causes. However, his location of death was Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Bruce Kirby began his career as an actor in the 1950s. He made several appearances in different anthology shows, such as Goodyear Playhouse and Omnibus. From these initial anthology roles, he went on to make the transition into more traditional television sitcoms in the 1960s. In doing so, he was able to receive roles in such notable programs as I Dream of Jeannie and The Patty Duke Show. While Kirby was already finding much success in the 50s and 60s, his star was only going to continue to grow as the decades went on.

Entering into the vastly different decades that were the 1970s and the 1980s, Bruce didn’t have any trouble continuing his career in television. He found roles in many different television comedies of the time, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and Chico and the Man. Not only that, but Bruce was also able to stretch his wings into the more dramatic side of television. He found roles in such dramatic television programs as Barney Miller, M*A*S*H, and Room 222.

Besides all of Bruce’s success in comedies and dramas, producers eventually realized that the actor was the perfect fit for playing the part of a detective. Once the detective roles started coming, they didn’t stop. Bruce appeared as a detective in more than a handful of different series. Just a small sample of those series include the shows Kojak, Medical Center, In the Heat of the Night, and Shannon.

Once producers realized what an effective detective Bruce made, they continued to cast him in many similar roles. This streak came to a head in two notable programs that made especially great use of the character actor. These shows were Columbo and LA Law. On Columbo, Bruce had played multiple parts before finally settling into a recurring role as the character of Sgt. Kramer. On LA Law, the actor saw a steady five-year-long gig as District Attorney Bruce Rogoff. With these two roles, Bruce cemented himself into the hearts of television audiences.

While Bruce is arguably best known for his roles on Columbo and LA Law, there were many other programs that the actor appeared in. In his heyday, he could be seen in the shows The Golden Girls, Hill Street Blues, Matlock, and The Rockford Files. In his later years, he made appearances in such notable 21st century programs as Scrubs and Numb3rs. While television was obviously the field that the character actor was most comfortable in, Bruce also found some work in Hollywood films. In 1971, he appeared alongside Don Knotts in How to Frame a Figg. Many years later, he appeared in a 1985 biographical film based on the life of Patsy cline titled Sweet Dreams. Only a year after that, he could be seen in 1986’s Stand By Me.

In 1993, Bruce went on to work with actor Matt Dillon in the comedy film Mr. Wonderful. While this role didn’t catch the aging character actor all that much attention, another role with Dillon over a decade later did. That role was in the 2004 film Crash, where Bruce was cast to play the father of Matt Dillon’s character. This went on to be Bruce’s most notable role in a feature film. Crash received the Academy Award for Best Picture in the year of it’s release. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! As well, subscribe and hit the notification bell to be among the first to know when more content is on it’s way in the future!

Bruce Kirby kept at the acting game with perseverance, patience, and passion. It was perhaps this spirit that emboldened his two children, Bruno and John, to follow in his footsteps. Of the two, Bruno received the greater amount of fame in regards to his acting roles. In fact, you could argue that Bruno is more well known than his father. However, with that increased level of fame also came an earlier death.

Bruce passed down his birth name to Bruno, as well as a good deal of his acting talent. On top of being featured in shows such as Columbo, Kojak, Room 222, Hill Street Blues, and M*A*S*H, just like his father, Bruno also had a pretty hefty film career. Bruno could be seen in the films City Slickers, This is Spinal Tap, and When Harry Met Sally, just to name a few! Bruno was born in 1949 and received his role in Room 222 as a result of his father. This appearance was one of his first acting roles. The Godfather: Part II gave the young actor his first big break in 1974, casting him in a role that had been played by Richard S. Castellano in the first film.

Bruno could be seen all over television throughout the 80s. However, his most notable roles came to him thanks to a few Billy Crystal comedies at the turn of the decade. It seemed that Billy Crystal really had a thing for the actor, as Bruno was cast as Crystal’s best friend in two separate comedies. Those comedies were When Harry Met Sally in 1989 and City Slickers in 1991. These roles solidified Bruno’s abilities as a character actor, and he was continually utilized in both film and television productions up until his death in 2006.

While it appears that Bruno’s father passed away from what were likely natural causes, Bruno himself passed away from complications that were related to a leukemia diagnosis. Whereas Bruce Kirby lived until the age of 95, Bruno’s life was cut short at the age of 57. Of course, Bruno was survived by both his father and his younger brother. His father lived for nearly 15 years after Bruno’s death, while his brother is still around today. Living as a practicing acting coach, Bruno’s brother John is the last surviving Kirby.

It appears that John was blessed with the same acting gene that could be found in his father and brother. However, he seems to be putting it to different use. Working out of Hollywood, John has helped coach such actors and actresses as Jeff Bridges, Jim Caviezel, and Cameron Diaz. As well, he loves using his talent and experience to help unknown and fledgling actors find their way in the concrete jungle of Hollywood. For those who think they’d like to catch a little bit of the Kirby magic for themselves, perhaps you should head down to Hollywood and schedule an appointment!

The Kirby family is just one of many Hollywood families that has impressed audiences with their generational talent. Comment down below to share your favorite role from the Kirby family, or if you think that you’d like to see John Kirby try his own hand acting on the screen! As always, like the video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more videos are on their way!

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