Family & Companions
This blond, poster boy actor will always be recalled for playing Bo Duke, one of three mischievous cousins, on the back-country comedy "The Dukes of Hazzard" (CBS, 1979-85). John Schneider has managed to keep an ongoing career, branching out into singing, particularly country music, and recording 11 albums, as well as starring in TV-movies and several failed series. Born and raised in Mount Kisco , New York, Schneider was an unknown when he was discovered by "Dukes" creator Phil Mandelker and given the role of Bo. Although considered the most low-brow program on TV at the time, the CBS effort was hugely popular with segments of the public. But in 1982, Schneider and co-star Tom Wopat walked off the show in a dispute over revenues due them from merchandising. They sat out the next season, but rejoined the show in 1983. By then, the magic was gone, although the series remained on the air for two more years. Schneider also provided voice of Bo Duke for the CBS animated Saturday morning "The Dukes" in 1983.
While the series was still on the air, Schneider had begun building his singing career which included appearing on CBS' "A Country Christmas" in 1981 and headlining his own special in 1983, also for CBS. He frequently hosted or appeared on the annual Academy of Country Music Awards but it was not until 1990 that Schneider had a shot at another TV series. This time, he played a bounty hunter teamed with a mismatched Paul Rodriguez in the short-lived "Grand Slam" (CBS, 1990). Schneider appeared as Larry Lamont on the ABC daytime drama "Loving" before trying primetime again first on the failed "Second Chances" (CBS, 1994) and then with the syndicated "Heaven Help Us," a 1994 effort that teamed him with Melinda Clarke as a married couple who died soon after their wedding and became apprentice angels. From 1997 to its cancellation in 1998, Schneider made appearances on "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," as Red McCall, a thief and father.
The actor has kept busy in television-movies, beginning with "Dream House" (CBS, 1981) and co-starred in the small screen remake of "Stagecoach" (CBS, 1986). He had the title role as wilderness hero "Wild Jack" in a three-part "The Magical World of Disney" (NBC, 1989), then played Davy Crockett in "James Michener's 'Texas'" (ABC, 1995). Schneider has also appeared in numerous features, although most of were of the low-budget variety that have either played only rural areas where Schneider's following is strongest or gone straight to video. He co-starred in "The Curse" (1987), playing a man in Tennessee who g s crazy after his food supply is contaminated by a meteor. He could also be seen in the more mainstream Hollywood "Exit to Eden" (1994). A born-again Christian who often sings on religious and country-oriented shows, Schneider has also worked on stage in musicals. He replaced Rex Smith as the dashing, thieving Baron in the Broadway musical "Grand Hotel" in 1991 and has toured in a number of other productions such as "Brigadoon."
In 1995, Schneider founded FaithWorks Productions to produce family-oriented recordings and videos. Meanwhile, he continued struggling to find work outside the confines of his "Dukes" persona. He starred in the Family Channels's "Night of the Twisters" (1996), the true story of a family brought together while struggling to survive a night of deadly tornados. After starring in the made-for-television western "The Legend of Ruby Silver" (ABC, 1996) and appearing in an episode of "Diagnosis Murder" (CBS, 1993-2001), Schneider joined his former cast mates for "Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion" (CBS, 1997), then played General Sam Houston in "True Women" (CBS, 1997), a miniseries focusing on the women who helped settle Texas in the mid-19th century. In 1997, Schneider joined the cast of "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" (CBS, 1992-1997) in what became the show's last season, playing the town's sheriff and potential love interest for Dr. Mike (Jane Seymour).
An episode of "JAG" (NBC, 1995-2005) was followed up with a return to "Diagnosis Murder" as a different character, then a few episodes on the once-popular sitcom, "Veronica's Closet" (NBC, 1997-2000). After playing Michael Landon, Sr. in the biopic "Michael Landon, The Father I Knew" (CBS, 199), he appeared as an asylum clerk in reenactment scenes for the documentary "Wisconsin Death Trip" (1999) prior to returning to features to play an unknowledgeable weatherman in "Snow Day" (2000). Thanks to high ratings from the first Dukes reunion, a second-and less auspicious-movie-of-the-week, "The Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood" (CBS)-aired in May 2000 to less fanfare. A role in a two-part "Touched by an Angel" (CBS, 1994-2003) was followed by a regular series role as the adoptive father of a 15-year-old Clark Kent (Tom Welling) in the popular "Smallville" (WB, 2001-11). At first Schneider was unimpressed with the idea of another Superman-he felt it had been done to death. But after reading the script, he was eager to jump on board. The show was an immediate hit and helped mature Schneider's career past the adolescence of "Dukes." Meanwhile, he landed a starring role in the independently-made "Blood Pressure" (lensed 2006), a thriller about a teenage girl abducted by the charismatic leader of a small-town cult whose bizarre rituals lead to a series of unexplained murders.
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First film appearance, was an extra in "Smokey and the Bandit"
Starred as Bo Duke on "The Dukes of Hazzard" (CBS)
TV-movie debut, "Dream House" (CBS)
Left "The Dukes of Hazzard" (CBS) over a contract dispute
Returned to "The Dukes of Hazzard" after contract dispute was settled
Hosted own variety special, "John Schneider's Christmas Holiday" (CBS)
Provided voice of Bo Duke for the animated series "The Dukes" (CBS)
Wrote and directed an episode of "The Dukes of Hazzard"
Briefly hosted the syndicated series "Star Search"
Starred in CBS TV remake of "Stagecoach"
Released album, You Ain't Seen the Last of Me!
Starred in the low-budget feature "The Curse"
Had leading role in the NBC miniseries "Wild Jack"; aired as part of "The Magical World of Disney"
Returned to primetime series with "Grand Slam" (CBS)
Made Broadway debut in "Grand Hotel"
Joined the cast of the short-lived "Second Chances" (CBS)
Appeared in the syndicated series "Heaven Help Us"
Had supporting role in "Exit to Eden"
Formed FaithWorks Productions
Starred in the USA Network movie "Night of the Twister"
Reprised role of Bo Duke on a "Dukes of Hazzard" reunion (CBS)
Co-hosted the reality-based series "Ordinary/Extraordinary" (CBS)
Joined cast of "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" (CBS)
With John Agoglia and Tony Fantozzi, founded Canan Film Works
Began hosting the annual PBS broadcasts of the National Memorial Day Concert
Cast as actor Michael Landon in the CBS biopic "Michael Landon, the Father I Knew"; directed by Michael Landon Jr
Reprised role of Bo Duke in the CBS TV-movie "The Dukes of Hazzard - Hazzard in Hollywood"
Through Canan Film Works, served as executive producer of PAX TV's "Christy: The Movie"
Was executive producer of the miniseries "Christy: Choices of the Heart" (PAX TV)
Returned to series TV as Jonathan Kent on the WB's "Smallville"; left show after the fifth season
Appeared in the NBC miniseries, "10.5"
Played pornographer Ram Peters on the FX drama "Nip/Tuck" for several episodes
Had a recurring role on ABC Family's "The Secret Life of the American Teenager"
Played a Congressman on three episodes of "Dirty Sexy Money" (ABC)
Joined the seventh season of ABC's "Desperate Housewives" in a recurring role