Bob Gunton is an American actor, primarily known for portraying strict and authoritarian characters in popular films. His better known roles include chief George Earle in "Demolition Man" (1993), prison warden Samuel Norton in "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994), medical school dean Dr. Walcott in "Patch Adams" (1998), and politician Cyrus Vance in "Argo" (2012).
In 1945, Gunton was born Santa Monica, California. His parents were labor union executive Robert Patrick Gunton Sr. and his wife Rose Marie Banovetz. Gunton was raised in California and attended Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California. His college years were spent in the Paulist Seminary St Peter's College, in Baltimore, Maryland, and the University of California, Irvine.
Gunton joined the United States Army in 1969, when 24-years-old. He served until 1971. He served as a radio telephone operator with the 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. He was assigned to the Fire Support Base Ripcord during the Vietnam War. When the base was evacuated during a siege by North Vietnamese Army (NVA), Gunton manage to retrieve important radios that were in danger of falling in enemy hands. He was awarded with a Bronze Star commendation for his deed.
Gunton was primarily known for theatrical roles in the late 1970s and 1980s. He played Raoul in the Broadway musical "King of Hearts" (1978). For this role he was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. The award was instead won by rival actor Ken Jennings (1947-).
From 1979 to 1983, Gunton played the role of President of Argentina Juan Perón (1895-1974, term 1946-1955, 1973-1974) in "Evita". He won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.
In 1980, Gunton played in the play How I Got That Story. He won both the Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Male Performer and the Obie Award for Distinguished Performance by an Actor. He was also nominated Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play.
From 1985 to 1985, Gunton played the King in the musical "Big River". The musical was an adaptation of the novel "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (1884) by Mark Twain. For this role Gunton was again nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical.
From 1987 to 1990, Gunton played protagonist Sweeney Todd in "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street". He was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, and an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical. While critically acclaimed for this role, Gunton won none of these awards.
In the 1990s, Gunton started focusing more on film roles. More often playing antagonists than heroes or supporting characters,. In 2007, Gunton joined the main cast of the popular action drama television series "24", playing politician Ethan Kanin. He played the role until the end of the series in 2010. In 2015, Gunton joined the main cast of the superhero series "Daredevil". He played the super-villain Leland Owlsley (codenamed "the Owl in the comics).
By 2020 Gunton was 74-years-old. He has never retired, and continues to appear regularly in film and television.More