An appealing, dark-haired player who made his breakthrough dancing through the musical "Sing," Peter Dobson has worked consistently in film and television and emerged as a likable and talented comedic actor in series like the short-lived CBS action series "Johnny Bago" (1993) and the USA Network dramedy "Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family" (2000-01). Throughout his career, Dobson has shown remarkable versatility, as capable of playing suave as silly, at times even taking on both sides in the same role. This New Jersey native attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, departing the school reportedly because of a lack of interest in required dance classes. Ironically, after making his TV and feature debut's respectively in the NBC TV-movie "Bates Motel" (1987) and Martha Coolidge's "Plain Clothes" (1988), Dobson was cast in the 1989 musical "Sing" because of his dancing as well as acting talents.
While "Sing" didn't enjoy the success of its similarly-themed predecessor "Fame," Dobson's co-starring role in the film served as a good career springboard. He was next featured in the gritty drama "Last Exit to Brooklyn" (1989), and began to rack up the television credits that would make him such a familiar face to audiences, guesting in an episode of "Miami Vice" (NBC, 1989), taking a supporting role in the CBS TV-movie "So Proudly We Hail" (1990) and playing the ill-fated police detective who is a catalyst to the primary storyline with a two-episode recurring role on the Fox crime drama "DEA." Next up for the actor was a stint on the CBS sitcom Lenny (1990-91), playing the brother of the titular blue collar dad. Dobson returned to the big screen in 1991 with supporting roles in the features "The Marrying Man" and "Undertow," and the following year appeared as one of a group of young runaways in the harrowing feature "Where the Day Takes You."
Starring in the critically acclaimed but short-lived 1993 sitcom "Johnny Bago," Dobson played a small-town hood on the lam. More clumsy than cunning, the titular fugitive ran into so many mishaps that the show was referred to by some as "Parker Lewis Can't Win." The actor was showcased to good effect in the role, and made his character sympathetic as well as a clown. In 1994, Dobson was featured with a recurring role on the Fox drama "Party of Five" and played a young Elvis Presley in the Academy Award favorite "Forrest Gump." Two years later he again took on a legend, playing Joe DiMaggio in the HBO biopic "Norma Jean & Marilyn" (1996). A co-starring turn opposite Michael J Fox in the 1996 thriller "The Frighteners" was a highly visible part for the actor, who was featured that same year as a local slickster who seeks to con a miserly retired baseball player out of his amassed savings in the independent comedy "The Big Squeeze." 1997 saw the actor take on the role of a successful gay actor in the poignant episodic drama "Quiet Days in Hollywood," while he joined a group of men whose good fortune leads to the untimely death of one in "The Good Life."
Dobson returned to regular series work, playing a libidinous owner of a dating service who is competitive with his partner/brother in UPN's "Head Over Heels" (1997). While the show had a rocky run, the actor rebounded with a cameo in the HBO biopic "Lansky" and a memorable featured turn as a slow-witted lawman in the 2000 black comedy "Drowning Mona." Starring on the USA Network series "Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family" (2000), Dobson found the perfect vehicle for his dashing looks and unaffected comedic presence. Playing the ridiculously dedicated and oddly admirable FBI caseworker and father of two who involves his family in his operatives, Dobson played the wacky agent with real affection, and his performance made it seem that the part of Danny Arno was tailor made. By the end of 2000, it was reported that Dobson and collaborator Luca Palanca's cheeky 1999 Sundance-screened short "Choose Life," a fantastical music video-set celebration of the 1980s, was in development as a feature with Jason Priestly at the helm.
Cast (Feature Film)
Lived in NYC while attending American Academy of Dramatic Arts
Moved to Santa Cruz, California
Featured in the NBC TV-movie "Bates Motel"
Made feature debut with a villainous role in Martha Coolidge's "Plain Clothes"
Guest starred on "Miami Vice" (NBC)
Had a featured role in the Ulrich Edel-directed gritty 1951-set drama "Last Exit to Brooklyn"
Starred in the musical film "Sing"
Had a two-episode recurring role as an agent assasinated by a dealer on the Fox crime drama series "DEA"
Acted in the CBS TV-movie "So Proudly We Hail"
Featured in the comedy "The Marrying Man" and the action film "Undertow"
Played one of a group of runaway teenagers in the drama "Where the Day Takes You"
Starred as the titular fugitive on the CBS action comedy series "Johnny Bago"
Played young Elvis Presley in the popular, Academy Award-winning feature "Forrest Gump"
Had a recurring role on "Party of Five" (Fox)
Appeared in "The Black Bargain", an episode of the Showtime anthology series "Fallen Angels" about a gangster
Played Joe DiMaggio in the HBO original biopic "Norma Jean & Marilyn"
Starred as young hustler Benny O'Malley, a con man out to reap the rewards of an ex-baseball player's savings, in the independent comedy "The Big Squeeze"
Had featured roles in the thriller "The Frighteners" and "Dead Cold"
Acted in the episodic drama "Quiet Days in Hollywood" and the black comedy crime caper "The Good Life"
Was a regular on the UPN sitcom "Head Over Heels"
Acted in the HBO biopic "Lansky"
Starred on the USA Network series "Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family"
Played a police detective trying to find the killer of a widely loathed local woman (Bette Midler) in the comedy "Drowning Mona"