Robert Swan Celebration of Life


A retrospective video of Swan’s career, created by his dear friends: radio personality/anti-bullying advocate, Betty Hoeffner, and radio DJ/professional musician, Anthony Pratscher, is viewable at–KzeDbME YES, that is Robert Swan singing on the soundtrack.

MEDIA CONTACT:   Betty Hoeffner / 219 814 4248  – Email:

(ROLLING PRAIRIE, IN) Robert Swan, actor, award-winning screenwriter, producer, voiceover legend, operatic bass-baritone, and founder of Harbor Country Opera, is best-known for his riveting performance as the Canadian Mountie in THE UNTOUCHABLES, Gene Hackman’s assistant coach in HOOSIER’S, and Jane Fonda’s friend in THE DOLLMAKER, died peacefully in his sleep at 5:47 a.m., August 9th, in his Rolling Prairie, IN home after a long battle with cancer.  This SAG/AFTRA member, born October 20th, 1944, made the lines, “Coach stays” in Hoosier’s, and “I do not approve of your methods” in The Untouchables famous. The news is sad, but particularly because Swan was on the verge of launching his award-winning screenplay, The Saint and the Scoundrel, about Samuel Johnson, the fascinating/complicated man who created the first modern dictionary, suffered from Tourette Syndrome and is credited with authoring many memorable quotes. A CELEBRATION OF LIFE, to be announced at a later date will feature a reading of screenplay, featuring Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy award-winning actor,  Daniel J. Travanti as Johnson, Si Osborne as his biographer, and an actor to be named later to play the narrator…the role Swan dreamt of playing…will take place at a date to be determined. Scroll down to see a list of the awards Swan’s important screenplay has earned to-date.



Robert Swan started his career as a boy soprano singing in St. Paul’s Episcopal in Hyde Park/Chicago. In his early 20s, as a bass baritone, he sang at various synagogues and churches, plus Lyric Opera chorus and Chicago Symphony chorus.

His first acting job was in High School as the lead in The Bartered Bride. He worked on and off at Court Theatre at the University of Chicago.

In the early 70’s he performed at Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan, Illinois. He lived in a tent and rode his bike to rehearsals and performances in Fiddler on the Roof with Shelly Berman, and in 1776 with Robert Conrad.

“I began my theatrical career by a reservoir in central Illinois,”said Swan. “After taxes and the union admission fees there wasn’t enough left for a room. There was always a German shepherd waiting to chase me at the bottom of the last hill as I rode the seven miles home at night on my bike. Summer stock among the cornstalks led eventually to a trip to Broadway as one of four original members of Goodman Theater’s original cast of Freedom of the City. Not long after, yearning for larger roles, I produced a production of The Lesson by Ionesco at the Orphans Pub on the near north side of Chicago, creating along with it a new kind of contract allowing Equity actors to perform in new spaces called the COLT contract, which helped give rise to a bunch of theater groups, including a new outfit called Steppenwolf. The play, which featured Barbara Gaines as the Student and Mike Nussbaum in his directorial debut, was, by itself, nominated for more Jefferson awards than all the productions at Goodman that year. Mike and I also acted together in Northlight’s inaugural production of Jumpers, directed by Frank Galati. Other pleasures: holding Gregory Mosher at the end of a rope as Lucky to my Pozzo in Waiting for Godot at Court Theater’s first professional production, and the sheer joy of playing Wiseman in Jules Pfeiffer’s Knock, Knock.”

`He worked with Mickey Rooney in Show Boat in Philadelphia. He later worked with him at Drury Lane in Chicago. In the middle of the play, Mickey would go out into the audience and schmooze with the audience, which bothered Bob because he had his big scene coming up and it messed with the mood. So, one night, he went into the audience, picked up Rooney and carried him back to the stage. He thought he was going to be fired for sure, especially when Rooney bounded into his dressing and told Bob……………………….”Keep It In.” Bob also worked with Broderick Crawford at Dury Lane.

During a lull in his career, he got into voice over becoming one of the most in demand voices in Chicago. He was the voice of Busch Beer, Nine Lives Cats Food. United Airlines, Schlitz, The Beef CouncilBEEF, IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER, to name of few. Here is link to hear his commercials, trailers, Promos, etc:

He started doing TV series including playing bad guy, Jeb Tidwel, on All My Children. Swan recounts being accousted by a woman in Central Park in NY. She said some disparaging words thinking he was the character Tidwel.

Bob produced and starred in the play, The Lesson, by Eugene Ionesco, performed at the Orphans Pub in Chicago. This show marked the directorial debut of Michael Nussbaum and co-starred Barbara Gaines who went on to become the founder of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. For this show, Bob created the Chicago Off Loop Theatre (COLT) which opened up professional theater jobs on the northside of Chicago. This production received more Jefferson Awards than the Goodman Theatre.