He doesn't call people "dog breath" anymore or bark at prisoners and dogs, but Bruce Weitz is still playing, let's say, an unusual personality as General Hospital's crazy/mean villain Anthony Zacchara. As many viewers may remember, he made his mark as Sgt. Michael "Mick" Belker on Hill Street Blues (1981-1987) for which he won an Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actor in 1984.
Back to the Beginning
Weitz was born Bruce Peter Weitz on May 27, 1943 in Norwalk, Connecticut, where his father owned a liquor store. He earned both a graduate and undergraduate degree in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, going on to train at the Guthrie Theatre and Louisville Actors' Theater. Weitz set his sights on the New York City theater, landing the understudy of two roles (Biff and Happy) in Death of a Salesman (starring George C. Scott) in 1975. Work on off-Broadway followed, as did appearances in 13 New York Shakespeare festivals. After that, it was time to conquer Hollywood.
After appearing in supporting roles on such shows as Quincy and Happy Days and several TV movies, Weitz auditioned for the role of undercover cop Mick Belker on Hill Street Blues. He won the role, which brought him fame and accolades. Though he won an Emmy in 1984, Weitz was nominated five other times and twice for the Golden Globe Award. Hill Street ran from 1981-1987, with Weitz staying with the highly-rated show for its entire run.
Once Hill Street ended, Weitz continued to work prolifically, mostly in television but also building a film resume with such films as Deep Impact (1998), The Dukes (2007) El Cortez (2006), and Half Past Dead (2002). His numerous guest starring appearances on television include NYPD Blue, Midnight Caller, (Emmy nomination), Murder, She Wrote, Matlock, The X-Files, Cybill, Sisters, Superman: The Animated Series (as Bruno Mannheim), JAG, The West Wing, Dexter, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Lie to Me, and Highlander: The Series.
Weitz did two other series besides Hill Street: Mama's Boy and Anything But Love, and appeared in recurring roles on The Byrds of Paradise, Sisters, and ER. For the miniseries Baby M (1988), Weitz picked up an additional Emmy nomination. He portrayed attorney Robert Shapiro in the TV movie, The O.J. Simpson Story in 1995.
Prior to being cast as Anthony Zacchara on General Hospital in 2007, Weitz's only experience in daytime had been two episodes of Ryan's Hope when he first started working as an actor. But he seems right at home in the genre. As Zacchara, Weitz has created a character that he portrays somewhat tongue-in-cheek and is bigger than life -- the embodiment of evil (he tried to kill his son and got his wife instead, and he seemed to hate his daughter Claudia) who likes to flirt.
Weitz has proven to be very popular in the role, and since his first appearance, the character has continually been brought back to the show, most recently returning in July 2009 after being absent from the screen since March of 2009. Weitz is enormously popular with his fellow actors as well; Brandon Barash, who plays Weitz's son, Johnny Zacchara, says that he loves working with Weitz. The actor constantly makes him laugh, so Barash works hard on getting all of his "cracking up" out in rehearsal.
Weitz married actress Cecilia Hart in 1971. They were divorced in February of 1982, and she married James Earl Jones, with whom she was appearing on Broadway in ,Othello, in March of 1982. In 1986, Weitz married Vivian Davis. They have one child.
Weitz was made Honorary Mayor of Reseda, California in 2001.