Sep. 7th, 1954
North Hollywood, California, USA
Corbin Bernsen's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Rugged, hirsutely handsome Corbin Bernsen blazed to TV stardom in 1986 on "L.A. Law" (1986) as opportunistic divorce lawyer Arnie Becker, whose blond and brash good looks, impish grin and aggressive courting style proved a wild sex magnet to not only the beautiful female clients desirous of his "services," but his own lovelorn secretary who frequently bailed him out of trouble. Bernsen invested the Becker character with a likable "bad boy" charm that made him a favorite among the tight ensemble for eight solid seasons. In the process he earned multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. He also proved the role was no flash-in-the-pan or dead-end stereotype, maintaining a steady career over the course of three decades now with no signs of let up. Moreover, his deep love for acting and intent devotion to his career recently impelled him to climb into the producer/director's chair.
Born in North Hollywood, California, on January 7, 1954, Corbin was raised around the glitz of the entertainment business. The eldest of three children born to 70s film/TV producer Harry Bernsen and veteran grande dame soap star Jeanne Cooper (I) (the couple divorced in 1977), he graduated from Beverly Hills High School and attended UCLA with the intention of pursuing law. Instead he went on to receive a BFA in Theatre Arts and MFA in Playwriting. He worked on the Equity-waiver L.A. stage circuit as both actor and set designer, making his film debut as a bit player in his father's picture Three the Hard Way (1974). Appearing unobtrusively in a couple other films, he set his sights on New York in the late 70s. During his salad days he eeked out a living as a carpenter and roofer while sidelining as a model. His first big break came in 1983 with the role of Ken Graham on daytime's "Ryan's Hope" (1975). During this time he also met and married TV costumer designer Brenda Cooper who later worked on "The Nanny" sitcom. They divorced four years later.
This break led to an exclusive deal by NBC and eventually the TV role of a lifetime. The perks of his newly-found stardom on "L.A. Law" included a hosting stint on "Saturday Night Live"" and the covers of numerous major magazines. Wasting no time, he parlayed his sudden small screen success into a major movie career, usually playing charmingly unsympathetic characters. He co-starred as Shelley Long's egotistical husband in the lightweight reincarnation comedy Hello Again (1987); played an equally vain Hollywood star in the musical comedy Bert Rigby, You're a Fool (1989); and starred as a disorganized ringleader of a band of crooks in the bank caper Disorganized Crime (1989) . He capped the 1980s decade opposite Charlie Sheen (I) and Tom Berenger in the box office hit Major League (1989), which took advantage of his natural athleticism, playing ballplayer-cum-owner Roger Dorn. Two sequels followed.
Corbin's career has merrily rolled along ever since - active in lowbudgets as well as pricier film fare portraying both anti-heroes and villains. On the TV homefront he has appeared in a slew of mini-movie vehicles, including Line of Fire: The Morris Dees Story (1991) (TV) as the famed civil rights attorney, and has ventured on in an assortment film genres - the mystery thriller Shattered (1991), which re-teamed him with Tom Berenger; the romantic comedy Frozen Assets (1992), again with Shelley Long; the war horror tale The Killing Box (1993); the slapstick farce Radioland Murders (1994); the melodramatic An American Affair (1997), and the fantasy adventure Beings (1998). Topping it off, Corbin's title role in the expert thriller The Dentist (1996) had audiences excogitating a similar paranoia of tooth doctors as Anthony Perkins (I) had decades before with motel clerks. As spurned husband-turned-crazed ivory hunter Dr. Alan Feinstone, Corbin reached cult horror status. The movie spawned a sequel in which he also served as associate producer.
Into the millennium, Corbin returned to his daytime roots with a recurring role on mother Jeanne's popular serial "The Young and the Restless" (1973), and is currently seen as John Durant on "General Hospital" (1963), a role he's played since 2004. A game and excitable player on reality shows, he added immeasurable fun to the "Celebrity Mole" series, and has enjoyed recurring roles on the more current and trendy "The West Wing," "JAG," "Cuts" and "Psych."
Of late, Corbin has decided to tackle the business end of show biz. In 2004, he formed Public Media Works, a film/TV production company in order to exert more creative control over his projects. On top of the list is the loopy film comedy Carpool Guy (2005), which he directed, produced and co-starred in. It features more than 10 of the currently reigning soap opera stars, including a wildly eccentric Anthony Geary in the title role, and, of course, irrepressible real-life mom Jeanne.
Obviously his errant on-camera antics does not reflect a similar personal lifestyle for Corbin has been happily married (since 1988) to lovely British actress Amanda Pays. They have appeared together in the sci-fi film Spacejacked (1997) and the TV-movies Dead on the Money (1991) (TV) and The Santa Trap (2002) (TV), among others. The couple have four children, including twin boys. Just a few years ago they relocated to Los Angeles after living in England for some time. In between he still shows off as a master carpenter at home and continues to dabble in writing. Perseverance and dedication has played a large part in the acting success of Corbin Bernsen. Gleaning a savvy, take-charge approach hasn't hurt either -- characteristics worthy of many of the sharpies he's played on screen.
- Son of 'Harry Bernsen' (qv)
- Married second wife, 'Amanda Pays' (qv), when she was 6 months pregnant.
- He co-hosted the emergency action video, "In a Split Second" with wife 'Amanda Pays' (qv). The video originally aired on NBC television.
- The first actor, after John DeLancie, to portray another member of the Q Continuum on "Star Trek: The Next Generation". Known simply as "Q2".
- Artist Wayne Barlowe picked Bernsen to be his model for a series of paintings used as cover art for science fiction paperbacks, most notably Keith Laumer's "James Bond in Space" Retief series.
- Is cousin of 'Rod Bernsen' (qv), who is known as Southern California's #1 police news-specialist for Fox 11 News.
- Trained in Jeet Kune Do from the late 'Bruce Lee (I)' (qv)
- Was so eager to get the role in L.A. Law that he drove cross-country in his jeep to track down Steven Bochco and ask him to give him another shot.