Leon Rippy

Leon Rippy Headshot

Actor

Birth Date: October 30, 1949

Age: 74 years old

Birth Place: Rock Hill, South Carolina

Character actor Leon Rippy essayed a string of memorable turns as men whose rustic charm occasionally hid a tinge of menace in such features and television projects as "The Patriot" (2000), "Deadwood" (HBO 2004-2006), "Saving Grace" (TNT 2007-2010) and "Under the Dome" (CBS 2013-15).

The South Carolina-born actor began his career in regional theater and films before moving into studio efforts in the 1990s. An alliance with producer Roland Emmerich in seven films, including "Stargate" (1994) and "The Patriot" (2000), increased his exposure, which led to his best-known work as Tom Nuttall on "Deadwood," who owned the bar in which Wild Bill Hickock was murdered, and Holly Hunter's guardian angel on "Saving Grace." Rippy's near-constant presence in film and television over a two-decade period underscored viewers' and critics' opinion that he was among the best character players in the business.

Born October 30, 1949 in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Leon Rippy discovered acting at an early age through a production of Hansel and Gretel. His newfound interest provided much-needed solace from the turmoil of his home life, which was caused by his father's alcoholism. The situation with his father grew so volatile that he left home at the age of 15 to live in Florida. Appearances in high school stage productions and with the theater department at North Carolina's Montreat College led to work in regional theater and his first paid role in the long-running "Lost Colony," a play about Sir Walter Raleigh's attempt to establish an English settlement in North Carolina that has been staged on the site of the original colony since 1937.

Between acting assignments, Rippy worked in a circus and on a cattle ranch while also finding time to found two theater companies and gain a reputation as a ballet dancer. His on-screen career began in the early '80s, first as a performer in various low-budget efforts produced by North Carolina independent filmmaker and studio owner Earl Owensby, and later as a bit and supporting player in Hollywood products lensed in the Carolina area, including the miniseries "Chiefs" (CBS 1983) and features like "Firestarter" (1984) and "The Color Purple" (1985).

In the late '80s, Rippy made the leap to character actor in mainstream films and television, including a memorable turn as a cryogenically frozen country singer in a 1988 episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (syndicated 1987-1994) and supporting turns in "Young Guns II" (1990) as Robert "Bob" Ollinger, a sheriff's deputy murdered by Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez). He also appeared in the low-budget science fiction thriller "Moon 44" (1990), which marked the first of seven eventual film collaborations with producer/director Roland Emmerich, including two substantial hits, "Universal Soldier" (1992) and "Stargate" (1994).

By the late '90s, Rippy was a familiar face to movie and TV audiences thanks to appearances in Clint Eastwood's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" (1997) and Emmerich's "The Patriot" (2000) with Mel Gibson, as well as the short-lived Fox series "The Visitor" (1997-98) for Emmerich and producing partner Dean Devlin.

Television soon became his primary showcase, as well as the source of some of his best roles, including sympathetic bar owner Tom Nuttall on "Deadwood" and the TNT series "Saving Grace," which cast him as a rustic guardian angel charged with bringing hard-living detective Holly Hunter to God. The popularity of these series led to more recurring roles in primetime projects, including the unscrupulous investor Jack Latimer on the Devlin-produced "Leverage" (TNT 2008-2012) a prison doctor in the short-lived "Alcatraz" (Fox 2012) for producer J.J. Abrams, and tough farmer Ollie Dinsmore on "Under the Dome."

Credits

Under the DomeStream

Guest Star
Series
2013
68%

RectifyStream

Guest Star
Series
2013
95%

AlcatrazStream

Guest Star
Series
2012
60%

LeverageStream

Guest Star
Series
2008
92%

Saving GraceStream

Actor
Earl
Series
2007
76%

Gridiron GangStream

Actor
Paul Higa
Movie
2006
43%

DeadwoodStream

Actor
Tom Nuttall
Series
2004
92%

DeadwoodStream

Guest Star
Tom Nuttall
Series
2004
92%

The Alamo

Actor
Sgt. William Ward
Movie
2004

The Life of David Gale

Actor
Braxton Belyeu
Movie
2003

Eight Legged FreaksStream

Actor
Wade
Movie
2002
47%

Six Feet UnderStream

Guest Star
Series
2001
81%

The Fugitive

Guest Star
Show
2000

Exposure

Actor
Show
2000

The PatriotStream

Actor
John Billings
Movie
2000
62%

The Visitor

Actor
Show
1997

Gun

Actor
Show
1997

The Arrival

Actor
DOD #1
Movie
1996

StargateStream

Actor
Gen. West
Movie
1994
53%

Diagnosis Murder

Guest Star
Series
1993

Walker, Texas RangerStream

Guest Star
Series
1993

A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Wicked Wives

Actor
Tex
Movie
1993

Vanishing Act

Actor
Movie
1993

Kuffs

Actor
Kane
Movie
1992

Eye of the Storm

Actor
Sheriff
Movie
1992

Universal SoldierStream

Actor
Woodward
Movie
1992
34%

Beyond the LawStream

Actor
Virgil
Movie
1992

Hard Time Romance

Actor
Hugh Dean Simpson
Movie
1991

The Hot Spot

Actor
Deputy Tate
Movie
1990

Moon 44

Actor
Master Sergeant Sykes
Movie
1990

Quantum LeapStream

Guest Star
Sheriff Taggart
Series
1989

Track 29

Actor
Trucker
Movie
1988

Star Trek: The Next GenerationStream

Guest Star
L.Q. "Sonny" Clemons
Series
1987
92%

Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.0

Guest Star
Show
1987

The Bedroom Window

Actor
Seedy Bartender
Movie
1987

North and South, Book II

Guest Star
Sanders
Miniseries
1986

Maximum OverdriveStream

Actor
Brad
Movie
1986
15%

HunterStream

Guest Star
Russ Tolson
Series
1984

Tales of the Third Dimension

Actor
Freddie
Movie
1984

Chain Gang

Actor
Movie
1984

Hit the Road Running

Actor
Doogan
Movie
1983