Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
Burn Notice, Dear John, Justified
Currently Known For:
October 15, 1954
You don’t have to be the starring actor in a blockbuster movie or the lead on a network television show for a decade to find a long career and millions of dollars in Hollywood. Just ask Jere Burns, who has been on screen for more than 30 years, becoming part of some very memorable movies and television shows. Between classic sitcoms and current dramas, Burns has just about seen it all, and it still as busy as ever in his mid 60s.
Burns didn’t come from a background in acting at all. His mother was a stay-at-home mom, while his father made caps and gowns for high school and graduations. Burns was born on October 15, 1954 in Cambridge, Massachusetts just outside of Boston and the home of Harvard. Burns wouldn’t go to the Ivy League school, though, and had his first taste of acting in high school as an extra in a 1970 episode of “The Psychiatrist”.
Instead, Burns went to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he started to get more involved in acting on a consistent basis. By the time he graduated, Burns had become fully invested, and took his graduate courses as New York University where he earned his master’s. While he was a student there, Burns showed his potential by landing on Broadway for the first time.
After becoming a star on the stage, Burns had moved full-time onto the screen for the first time. In 1984, Burns had a guest spot on the series “Hill Street Blues”, and continued to make guest appearances over the next few years. This included spots on shows like “Remington Steele”, “Crime Story” and “Max Headroom”. Then, in 1988, Burns had his big break on television when he landed the role of Kirk Morris on the show “Dear John”, appearing in nearly 100 episodes.
“It was a great cast every week,” he said of his time on the show. “You never know what you have, especially in the beginning. I didn’t appreciate the luxury of doing 22 episodes a year for four years in a row. I really didn’t. I was young, and I just though, ‘This is what happens, and now your career takes off.’ It was really fun to have the opportunity to be a focal part of that show, and to get challenged in the ways that I would on a weekly basis.”
Burns landed more regular roles during the 1990s as a result of his work on the show. “Something So Right” and “The Mommies” were included, as well as movies such as “My Giant” and “Santa Fe”. Though he wasn’t the marquee actor in the films he acted in, Burns was still getting consistent work for a second straight decade.
Burns hadn’t been part of the “Crocodile Dundee” series after the first two movies had been successful in the late 1980s. The series was revived once again in 2001, when Paul Hogan starred in “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles”. This time around, Burns was part of the fun, playing the role of Arnan Rothman. Burns played the foil to Hogan’s Dundee character, who obviously would come up short against the movie’s hero. However, the film would also come up short with expectations, as it failed to meet box office standards or positive critical reviews. Thankfully, it didn’t do any damage to Burns’ career.
In fact, it only led to more roles for Burns. For the remainder of the 2000s, Burns had been involved as a guest star in shows like “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “The War at Home”, while also landing in a lead role in “Good Morning, Miami”, followed by “Help Me Help You”. Films of this time for Burns included “Otis” and “2:13”.
To say that Burns has been busy so far this decade would be an understatement. Burns kicked off the 2010s with a recurring role on “Breaking Bad”, as well as a featured role on the hit series “Justified”. While that was going on, Burns had a memorable story arc on the series “Burn Notice”. He then added another recurring character in “Bates Motel”, while also adding guest spots on “Last Man Standing”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Hawaii Five-O”.
In the past few years, Burn has continued his packed schedule by having a recurring role in the recent show “I’m Dying Up Here”. He even added a main role as Chet Atkins on the TBS comedy series “Angie Tribeca”. Most recently, Burns showed up in episodes of both “The Detour” and “Lucifer” in 2019, and will be part of the upcoming film “The Catch”. That means that in 2019, Burns brought the amount of acting credits to his resume over the century mark.
Though television has changed in the past three decades, Burns has remained a constant. He’s seen how much TV has evolved, and is glad he got in at the ground floor of the TV boom. “As much as I miss the golden era of four-camera comedy, television now is so much better than television then,” he said. “Everybody wants to be in the TV business. It used to be, there were TV actors and there were movie actors, now everybody wants to be on TV, everybody wants to have a TV show. Television has just gotten so good, and there are so many outlets for content.”