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What Happened to Bruce Boxleitner?

Bruce Boxleitner, the talented actor who captured the hearts of audiences with his captivating performances in television series such as How The West Was Won, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Bring ‘Em Back Alive, and Babylon 5, and films like Tron and Tron: Legacy, is an iconic figure in the entertainment industry.

From his early days as a stage actor to his successful television and film career career, Bruce has been a prominent figure in Hollywood for decades, although these days he is known to hold fairly critical views towards the entertainment industry . In this video, we’ll take a closer look at his highlights from his career, his relationship with James Arness, his failed marriage with Melissa Gilbert, and why he has pretty much dropped out of the spotlight.

Facts Verse Presents: What Happened to Bruce Boxleitner?

Bruce’s Early Years

Boxleitner was born on the 12th of May, 1950 in Elgin, Illinois. After graduating from Prospect High School in Mount Prospect, Illinois, he attended the Goodman School of Drama at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago. Some sources claim that he did some modeling around this time, but it’s difficult to verify this. Regardless, in 1972 he starred in the Broadway production of Staus Quo Vadis with fellow veteran TV actor Ted Danson. He then moved to LA and quickly landed a guest-starring rofle on the legendary television sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, after which he made numerous guest appearances on series like Hawaii Five-o, Baretta, Police Woman, and Gunsmoke.

He Owes His Success To James Arness

Arness played a pivotal role in boosting Bruce Boxleitner’s career. Arness, who played the lead character Marshal Matt Dillon in the long-running western TV show “Gunsmoke,” had a close friendship with Boxleitner, who appeared in several episodes of the show. Although due to the fact that Arness was hardly ever on set while he was, Boxleitner and Arness’s friendship wouldn’t  really develop until much later.

Boxleitner’s early appearances on “Gunsmoke” were instrumental in introducing him to a wider audience and establishing his credibility as a talented actor. Arness was a highly respected figure in the entertainment industry, and his endorsement of Boxleitner gave him a significant boost in terms of recognition and visibility.

Boxleitner scored his big break when he was cast opposite James Arness in the 1976 pilot for the Western series How The West Was Won. At this point Bruce and James’ relationship really began to flourish.

Years later Boxleitner claimed that Arness was his mentor, although he admitted that James would have been embarrassed to hear him say that. Even so, Bruce says that he learned a great deal of what it took to be a star on a television series along with all that responsibilities that go along with that.

Bruce praised James for creating an on-set atmosphere that made people want to come into work everyday. He kept things light, enjoyed joking around, and often could be heard cackling with laughter. Working on the set of a Western can be very uncomfortable for the crew, as they tend to get quite hot and sweaty – particularly when filming on location – but Arness was capable of cutting those tensions by opening up and exposing his humanity. Bruce respected that about him and did his due diligence to emulate that approach in his future work.

How The West Was Won ended its run in 1979. Boxleitner and Arness didn’t get the opportunity to work together for another nine years, when they appeared alongside each other in the TV remake o Red River. Although it had been almost a decade since they last worked on set together, Boxleitner said it only felt like a blink of an eye. When they reunited, nothing had changed. The two stars still enjoyed the same working relationship and chemistry just as they had before.

Moreover, Arness was the best man at Boxleitner’s wedding to his first wife, Kathryn Holcomb, and the two actors remained close friends throughout their careers. This personal connection not only helped Boxleitner establish important relationships in the industry, but it also gave him a sense of belonging and a trusted confidante in an often cutthroat and competitive business.

He’s Been Married Three Times

Bruce Boxleitner has been married three times in his life. His first marriage was to Kathryn Holcomb, and the two had two sons together, Sam and Lee. However, the marriage ended in divorce after several years.

Boxleitner’s second marriage was to actress Melissa Gilbert, whom he met while they were both working on the miniseries “Babylon 5.” Gilbert, who was best known for her role as Laura Ingalls Wilder on the TV series “Little House on the Prairie,” was immediately drawn to Boxleitner’s charm and good looks.

The couple fell in love and got married in 1995, and Gilbert became stepmother to Boxleitner’s two sons. They also had a son together, Michael. For a while, their marriage seemed to be going well, and the couple appeared to be happy together.

However, after 16 years of marriage, Boxleitner and Gilbert announced their separation in 2011, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was finalized in 2011, and the couple remained on friendly terms for the sake of their son. In her autobiography, Gilbert revealed that the couple had struggled with many issues during their marriage, including infidelity and substance abuse.

Boxleitner’s third marriage was to Verena King, whom he met while working on the Hallmark Channel movie “Love’s Resounding Courage.” The couple got married in 2016 and have been together ever since.

Overall, Boxleitner’s relationships have had their ups and downs. His marriage to Melissa Gilbert was the most high-profile, and its eventual breakdown was the subject of much media attention. Despite the challenges he has faced in his personal life, Boxleitner has remained a respected and accomplished actor, known for his talent, charm, and good looks.

Bruce’s Later Career

After his role in the western miniseries “How the West Was Won,” Bruce Boxleitner continued to work in the entertainment industry, taking on various roles in both movies and television shows.

One of Boxleitner’s most significant roles after “How the West Was Won” was in the hit TV series “Scarecrow and Mrs. King,” which aired from 1983 to 1987. He played the male lead, opposite actress Kate Jackson, and the show was a huge success, making Boxleitner a household name. Boxleitner’s performance in Bring ‘Em Back Alive, which aired from 1982 to 1983, likewise garnered him critical acclaim.

In the early 1990s, Boxleitner starred in the science fiction series “Babylon 5,” which was another major success for him. He played the lead character, Captain John Sheridan, and his performance in the show earned him high marks with critics as well as a loyal fan base.

In addition to his television work, Boxleitner continued to act in movies, including 1982s, “Tron”. 1992S “Kuffs’ and 2010s “Tron: Legacy”. He also appeared in several made-for-TV movies, such as “The Secret Path” and “Hope Ranch””

In recent years, Boxleitner has continued to work in the entertainment industry, although he has not had any major roles on TV or in movies. He has appeared in a few episodes of the TV series “Supergirl”,
“Tron: Uprising”, “Cedar Cove”, and “The Oriville” and has lent his voice to various animated shows.

He’s Very Critical Of Modern Television

Bruce Boxleitner’s acting career arguably peaked during one of the greatest eras of network television. He got to be a part of some of the most influential and iconic television series of all time. Not surprisingly, Bruce feels like modern television is missing something that made the classics of old so memorable.

Back in 2013, Boxleitner was quoted as saying that modern TV shows are much too cynical. In his opinion, the industry needs to return to the format that made old-fashioned shows so enjoyable. To him, the main thing that contemporary TV shows lack is an uplifting ending. Instead of feeling encouraged, emboldened and inspired by TV shows these days, Bruce thinks that viewers are fed way too much darkness and cynicism.

It’s likely because of these views that Boxleitner has been largely absent from television in recent years. The few roles that he has done in the last half-decade or so have largely been one-and-done cameos and guest spots, although he has done a number of made-for-TV Hallmark films that do seem to have a more uplifting message. Perhaps if the right role came along in a major series or film that had something real and meaningful to relay, he just might pounce at it, but for now the 72 year old actor is content spending his free time with his wife and three kids in Los Angeles.

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