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Who is Bill Robertson?
Bill Robertson was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1963, attending first Polk Elementary School in Dearborn Heights, also in Michigan, and completing his elementary education at Mayfair Elementary School. Along the way, Bill excelled in nearly every subject in school, and found his teachers to be excellent in almost every case. He was particularly fond of his Art teacher, Mr. December, as well as his 6th grade teacher, James Ragland—otherwise known as ‘Papa Rags.’ Mr. Ragland still offers nuggets of wisdom to this day, some 40 years later, and is Mr. Robertson’s educational idol.
Even in elementary school, Bill demonstrated strong interest in performance, and was involved in talent shows, classroom productions, and the school chorus; his costumes for Hallowe’en were legendary, and fed his desire to attract attention to himself—with two older brothers and two younger sisters at home, that was clearly something that was important, and drove him toward the stage. His turn as Patrick Henry during the Bicentennial Celebration in 1976 was particularly fiery.
Mr. Robertson then went on to Oakley W. Best Junior High, and continued his success in his studies, gaining further exposure to art and literature, subjects that would come to define his life. It was in the 9th grade that he was cast as Ebenezer Scrooge in the school’s production of “A Christmas Carol,” which served as a real beginning for his serious interest in the life of an actor. His director propelled him onward to work with the Drama teacher at Annapolis High School, and the infamous Robert Nanni.
Mr. Nanni immediately put Bill to work in his own high school musicals, and—well, I don’t want to say a STAR was born, but you get the idea.
After high school, Mr. Robertson eventually moved to California, where he attended California State University, Long Beach, joining the Theatre Department in his 3rd year of college while holding down a nearly full-time job and fencing on the college’s club team. He eventually managed to graduate with a BA in Theatre (Performance), and began the business of finding acting work…which means he had a number of flexible, forgettable jobs with which he was able to procure rent money each month. Bill did lots of local theatre at this time, and a few video jobs, which have THANKFULLY not survived. (They were hideous.)
Mr. Robertson finally decided that he’d had enough of ‘The Biz’ in 2001, and ‘retired’ from his career as an actor; since he had now RETIRED as a performer, he found he was free to begin a new career as a teacher. He accepted his position with a charter high school in Ocoee, FL, in February of 2014, and it may have been the 2nd happiest day of his life.
He still thinks he's a better writer than he ever was as an actor, and he was a pretty good actor. Perhaps one day one of his screenplays will be found worthy of production, or he'll be called out of "retirement" like Joe Pesci or Danny DeVito. We'll see.
Unique traits: They didn't really have a listing for "Theatre Teacher," which is what I am...after 15-20 years as a professional actor, I have now found my 2nd dream job--teaching high school theatre.
Puck Award, Charlotte Repertory Theatre