Mostly Credited As: Jay Robinson
Date Of Birth: April 14, 1930 (Age 83)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: New York City, New York
Date Of Death: September 27, 2013
An evil, sinister villain with leering eyes of hatred who miniaturized children on "The Krofft Supershow," Shrinker was a surprise hit with the youngsters the 1977 season.
Mad Dog Shrinker and his midget assistant, Billy Barty, pleased audiences because they may scare you for a while, but they always goof up at the end. Shrinker developed into a curious mongrel — a lovable villain, and evidently, kids couldn't get enough of him.
On Sunday mornings, actor Jay Robinson looked out the window to find his front yard crowded with kids who wanted to meet Mrs. Shrinker and see the mad doctor's secret shrinking machine.
"Every day became Halloween around our place," admited a surprised Robinson, who reached celebrity status for a Saturday morning kids' show after nearly 30 year in the business of playing villains.
Ever since 1949, when he was throttled on stage by Boris Karloff as a swinish blackmailer, Jay had been typecast. The man simply had this ability to transmit an evil leer. It's a Robinson trademark, "an inner thing," said Jay, describing his intensity.
In the flesh, Jay Robinson was, as was Boris Karloff, a complete opposite to his acting roles — a gentle, kindly man who wouldn't hurt a child's feelings, much less shrink little boys. Picking him out in a crowd, you would never guess he specialized in portraying crafty Roman emperors.
When 20th Century-Fox signed Jay in the 1950s for the wide-screen epics, villainy looked like a good thing.
Under a five-year contract, Jay followed orders and played the game. He moved into exclusive Bel-Air, rode around in a Rolls-Royce, escorted starlets like Anne Bancroft to premieres, put on the toga and cast the evil eye before cameras. He played the classic bad guys on the screen — Caligula, Count Dracula, Demetrius in "The Gladiators," etc. Another evil eye — television — stopped Jay Robinson's Hollywood career in its tracks. Goodbye Bel-Air, goodbye Rolls-Royce, so long 20th Century-Fox paychecks. Back to reality. When he was not on stage performing "Richard II" or "The Picture of Dorian Gray," Robinson did the
Cyril Ritchard bit — turning up in movies or on television as the effete, sarcastic, slightly bizarre villain. It was a living in the character field, but hardly the spot for another smashing
And then, from out of the blue, Jay Robinson, the Roman emperor specialist, was zapping the kids with old tricks. Television was making up for what it took away by giving the skillful villain a second chance.