Robert Joy

While at the University of Toronto in 1972 Robert Joy won the prestigious Rhodes scholarship and attended Oxford University to study English literature.

Robert Joy, actor
Robert Joy, a brilliant student, almost gave up the stage for a career in academia (photo by Lorenzo Hodges, courtesy of Robert Joy).
Robert Joy, actor

Robert Joy

Robert James Joy, actor, musician (b at Montréal 17 Aug 1951). Robert Joy, a Newfoundland-raised actor, almost gave up the stage for a career in academia. A brilliant student, he studied theatre and academic subjects, first at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and then at the University of Toronto. He toured Newfoundland and Labrador with the Newfoundland Travelling Theatre Company, performing with Andy JONES, Cathy JONES, Mary WALSH and others in an English farce and a children's show.

While at the University of Toronto in 1972 Robert Joy won the prestigious Rhodes scholarship and attended Oxford University to study English literature. His love of performing proved too strong, however, and before he completed his degree, and over the objections of his parents, he joined Cathy Jones, Mary Walsh, Greg Malone and Tommy Sexton, who were already members of the CODCO comedy troupe. In 1977 the troupe disbanded and Joy co-wrote and performed The Bard of Prescott Street for the Mummers Troupe. He then played Peter Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank at Toronto's Young People's Theatre. The play was a success and, after working back in Newfoundland on the feature film The Adventure of Faustus Bidgood in 1978, Joy returned to New York City for the play's remount.

His impressive list of New York successes includes The Nerd and Hay Fever. In films, Robert Joy had supporting roles in the Oscar-nominated Atlantic City (1980) alongside Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon, receiving a GENIE AWARD nomination for best supporting actor as a sleazy dope dealer on the run from the mob; in Ralph Thomas's award-winning Ticket to Heaven (1981) as a loony Moonie; in Milos Forman's Ragtime (1981) as the insane murderer Harry Thaw, who, in 1906, shot the architect Stanford White (played by Norman Mailer); and in the cult hit Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Madonna's first film.

The Adventure of Faustus Bidgood finally received a theatrical release in 1986, and Joy shared a Genie Award nomination with Andy Jones for the film's best original song. Other films and made-for-television movies include Escape from Iran: The Canadian Caper (1981), Threshold (1981), Joshua Then and Now (1985), Woody Allen's Radio Days (1987) and Shadows and Fog (1991), The Prodigious Hickey (1987), for which Joy was nominated for a GEMINI AWARD for best supporting actor, Longtime Companion (1990), Grand Larceny (1991), for which he was nominated for a best supporting actor Gemini, Dieppe (1993), Henry and Verlin (1994), Waterworld (1995), the miniseries Nuremberg (2000), Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace (2000), for which he was nominated for a Gemini for best supporting actor, Sweet November (2001), The Shipping News (2001), Between Strangers (2002), George Romero's Land of the Dead (2005), Amnon Buchbinder's Whole New Thing (2005), for which Joy received a Genie nomination for best supporting actor, The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Superhero Movie (2008), where he played Dr. Stephen Hawking, and Down to the Dirt (2008).

On television Robert Joy appears in numerous series, among them Miami Vice, Moonlighting, Maniac Mansion, Scales of Justice, Boston Legal, Law and Order, Medium, CSI: NY in a recurring role as Dr. Sid Hammerback, and Republic of Doyle.