Friday, July 20, 2012

Robert Sorrells

If anyone remembers Robert Sorrells today, it is most likely from the murder he committed in 2004 and not for his memorable work as a guest star in many popular television shows from the 1960's.

Although probably most remembered as the robot baseball player in the Twilight Zone episode, The Mighty Casey, his best work was in television westerns such as Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Bonanza, Daniel Boone, Lancer, Kung Fu and Death Valley Days. And although Robert Sorrells guest starred in other shows like The Waltons, Judd for the Defense and Cannon, as westerns faded from television, so did this wonderful actor.

Smaller roles in films like Bound for Glory and Fletch would follow, but by 1990 his very busy career had come to a stand still. Then on July 24, 2004, after an earlier argument, Robert Sorrells walked into a bar and opened fire, killing one man and seriously wounding another. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.

Robert Sorrells is remembered these days as a murderer, and will most likely be forgotten as the fine actor he once was. A sad legacy for a talented man.


  1. Another one of so many faces on this blog that I know I've seen but can't remember where. Probably The Waltons. My family watched that & Little House on the Prairie every week when I was a kid in the 70s. (IMO, as a theatrical composer I really appreciate the theme music from the Waltons. I haven't seen the show or heard that music since it aired in the 70s, but I can still hear it vividly in my head.)


  2. Robert Sorrells did a lot of TV work in the 1970's. And if you watched a lot of television back then (which most people did) you probably saw him many times. I found the prison he's in and wrote him a letter. He wrote me back immediately. Nice guy and beautiful handwriting for a 85-year-old man.

    1. That's just so awesome that you're reaching out to him..Geeeez-did OUR letter get lost in the mail?? Because It was MY family member that he almost murdered. MY FAMILY that he left for dead while he actually went back to sit at the bar...waiting for a drink, while my love lay on that bar floor. Bleeding to death. Now left permanently disabled, after multiple subsequent reconstructive facial surgeries and chronic/ mind numbing pain at times. Nice guy??
      Just remember-the same hand that's responding in such BEEEAAAUUTIFUL handwriting to your disturbing request for correspondance is the same hand that took the life of Mr DeLong- robbing his children of a future with their father. ..the same hand that nearly took the life of Edward Sanchez and forever changed his future. He still wakes up screaming sometimes.
      So next time you "best-ies" chat, you let him know that the Sanchez family cannot WAIT for the day that we get notification from the DA that Mr Sorrells has gone to face his FINAL and eternal judgement for the crimes he has committed. It won't be soon enough.

    2. To the families of Mr. Delong and Mr. Sanchez - I am truly sorry for any pain that the coverage of Robert Sorrells has caused your families. This site has always been meant as a tribute to forgotten actors based on their talent - not their personalities. Many celebrities living or dead are not good people. I have always tried to focus on their work and nothing more. I have corresponded with several actors on this blog and asked them questions about their craft. My letter to Mr. Sorrells was no different than what I have sent other actors. As for me calling him a nice guy, my comment was not only out of line, but insensitive to the victims and families of this tragedy. Please accept my sincere apologies on any further pain this may have caused you.
      Mike Trippiedi

  3. I think Robert was suffering from some sort of dementia when he fired that gun that fatal night. He was behaving as though he were playing a character in a western--- the type of role he had played so many times onscreen. I think fantasy got mixed up with reality. Robert was an anti-war pacifist who would never kill if in his right frame of mind!

  4. Robert Sorrells was a fantastic, well-known, and much-respected character actor of the 'Golden Age' of TV. Apparently, he was sitting in his neighborhood bar one weekend afternoon, trying to mind his own business, when two unknown and younger patrons heckled and insulted him over the span of a couple of hours. Sorrells finally snapped, walked the couple of blocks to his house and returned with a gun. He had been isolated, ignored, and abandoned by former friends and colleagues of the 'Hollywood Community' that one time he was so much a part of. Truly a sad end to a talented man who had given us several decades of viewing pleasure.

  5. He also apperaed in an episode of the famous "Bewitched" sitcom.
    Here's the link to the episode:

  6. I just came upon this blog and message thread and think I have something to contribute. First of all, my deep condolences to the De Long and Sanchez families. There are no words that can take away your loss and pain.
    I knew Bob Sorrells at the time of the shootings, and have kept in touch. In fact, I just visited him today, the first time I've seen him in several years. He had no one in his life and was in a bad mental state back then, compounded by alcoholism. Please understand that I do not in any way condone or excuse what he did. And I would feel as you do if it had been my family member.
    He has changed a great deal in these ten years in prison, become a very spiritual person and is helping others. I, too, feel the sadness that someone who was talented and vital - and non-violent - for some 74 years took this strange turn so late in life and thus changed the fates if so many. Prison is a harsh place, to say the least, but he has taken the high road in a rough and dangerous environment.

  7. Thanks for the posts illuminating Robert Sorrell's crime. I wondered how he could do such a thing. Sorrell's contributions as a character actor are unblemished; it's sad his life spiraled out of control. The ones he shot were not the ones who heckled him, and no amount of heckling excuses such a response. Still I am glad some people care about him and take time to visit and write to him. Matthew 25:40. I pray that Sorrell's victims will find closure in forgiveness. It's the only way to heal.

  8. Thank you for the post illuminating Robert Sorrell's crime. His contributions as a character actor are unblemished; it's so sad his life spiraled out of control. Still, I'm glad some people care about him enough to visit or write to him. Matthew 25:40. I pray his victims will find closure in forgiveness. It's the only way to heal.

  9. Sorrells was an extreme left wing liberal with a history of social activism. A anti-war pacifist, a vegetarian and an alcoholic. For someone to blame his roles in westerns for his actions that day when he shot two innocent men, killing one, is a far reach from the reality of his deep mental unbalance. My deepest sympathies for the families affected.