Charles Siebert

Charles Siebert

Birthplace: Kenosha, WI
You Know Him As: Doctor Stanley Riverside II from the TV drama “Trapper John MD” and director of various TV shows, including “Xena, Warrior Princess.”

Did you know?: Charles Siebert has appeared on TV crime shows like “Murder, She Wrote,” “Matlock” and “Perry Mason.”

Charles Siebert was born on March 9, 1938, in Kenosha- the eldest of four sons to Donald and Hannah (Rosenblum) Siebert. Siebert pursued higher education at Marquette University in Milwaukee, to get a degree in journalism. But he realized journalism wasn’t the right path for him.

When trying to decide upon a new subject to study, Siebert paged through a course catalog for the school. From this random act, he stumbled upon the course, “Acting 1.”
“Out of nowhere I suddenly had a purpose and tremendous energy …we ran a semi-professional theatre, and I was devoting 50 weeks a year, seven days a week, to drama, appearing in about 30 plays,” comments Siebert on his website, He ended up graduating from Marquette with a degree in Theater.

Yet, instead of acting after college, Siebert joined the Army during the pre-Vietnam era. Before being officially discharged, he managed to audition at the prestigious London Academy of Music & Dramatic Arts in his desire to become a classical actor. He and his new wife, former classmate Catherine Kilzer, moved to London for two years. During this time he was able to study and teach at LAMDA. Siebert ended up liking England so much that he attempted to covertly extend his visa by telling the government he’d found a job as a jazz-dancer. This lasted only about a year before he was discovered. He and wife Catherine returned to the States shortly after, with three-month-old Christopher and only $100 to their name.

Siebert’s professional debut as a classical actor came in Morristown, New Jersey, with a 1965 production of Oedipus Rex as the &!@*#le role, Oedipus. After that, Siebert headed toward Broadway.

He made money in the mean time by appearing on such TV shows as “Search for Tomorrow” and “As the World Turns,” as well as what he described as “God Shows,” Sunday morning religious anthologies. While doing work on TV, Siebert managed to land roles on the Broadway and off-Broadway stage. He made his debut with “Galileo” (1967) and appeared in popular plays such as “The Gingerbread Lady” (1970) with Tony winner Maureen Stapleton, “Sticks and Bones” (1972) and Elizabeth Ashley’s revival of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in 1974 in which he played Gooper. He garnered much media attention in 1972 when he was featured in one of Broadway’s first all-male nude scenes in the play, “The Changing Room.”

Siebert succeeded in moving to Hollywood in 1976. Between the years of 1976 and ‘79, he was busy with over 40 TV movies, TV episodes, TV mini-series, TV series and films.

As he explains, “I always believe that when luck comes your way you’d better be ready, so I learned to live with 24-hour work days.”

Siebert kept busy with TV appearances on “All in the Family” and “One Day at a Time,” movies like “Blue Sunshine,” “Whitewater Summer” and “All Night Long,” in addition to several mini-series like “The Adams Chronicles“ and “The Rhinemann Exchange.” Of al the acting on TV he did, Siebert became best-known for his work as ivy-league Doctor Stanley Riverside II on the TV drama, “Trapper John MD” (1979-‘86). He also kept busy in theater, with six productions between 1967 and ‘75.

Interestingly enough, Siebert became briefly involved in game shows in the mid-80’s. He appeared on four different episodes of “Super Password” with JoAnne Worley and Edie McClure, as well as one on the “New $25,000 Pyramid” alongside Betty White.

Sadly, Siebert was widowed in 1981. He juggled his busy work career with the raising of his and Catherine’s three children, who have currently all left home and become very successful.

“My children are my greatest work of art,” says Siebert on his website, “I was always driven by the reality of having to support a family, and it is the family that unquestionably gave worth to every job.”

True to his strong sense of family, Siebert re-married in 1986 to Kristine Leroux. His second wife, a former real-estate executive, also has three children of her own.

Siebert’s career is now exclusively dedicated to directing. His directorial debut came in 1979 with the TV show, “Knots Landing,” but continued on with a number of popular shows such as “Mancuso FBI,” several episodes of “Silk Stalkings,” “Pacific Blue,” “The Pretender,” and his all-time favorites – “Hercules,” “The Incredible Journeys” and “Xena, Warrior Princess.” In the 90’s, however, Siebert began tapering. Since 1995, he has only acted on-screen in the TV show, “Xena, Warrior Princess” a few times, and classically acted the roles of Macbeth and Antony in “Macbeth” and “Antony & Cleopatra” at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival as well as at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis in an acclaimed production of Henrik Ibsen’s “The Wild Duck.”

For nearly 50 years, and still going strong, he has made his life revolve around the world of classical acting, TV/film acting, and directing. At nearly 60- Siebert is still going strong, and one can expect nothing but more great directorial pieces from him in the future.

When contemplating his career, Siebert still recalls asking himself, “How does a kid from Kenosha (Wisconsin) travel so far and get so lucky?”

Biography by Katie Doucet