Early life, family, educational background
American television and stage actor Gary Lee Sandy, was born on 25 December 1945 in Dayton, Ohio, USA. He grew up in Moraine, Ohio, raised by his father, Austin and mother, Dolores, but hasn’t spoken about his family or upbringing.
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In 1964 he matriculated from Fairmont High School in Kettering, Ohio, after which he attended Wilmington College in Ohio, and later the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. While studying in New York in 1970, he made his professional debut in the soap opera “As The World Turns” in a part especially written for him.
Family’s personal life
Gary’s ex-wife, Laura Soltis, was born on 31 July 1961 in Joliet, Illinois, USA. She is best known for her work in TV series “Black Sash” in 2003, “Hiccups” in 2010, and “Step Up All In” in 2014.
In 1970 Gary played Hank Barton #3 in the CBS daytime drama “As The World Turns”, and the same year he played Randy Buchanan in the NBC show “Another World” (also called “Another World: BayCity.” From 1970 to 1972, he played Randy in another NBC series, “Somerset” (also called “Somerset: Bay City” and “Another World: Somerset”).
From 1973 to 1974, he played Stace Reddin in CBS’s “The Secret Storm”, and the following year Doc Barker in the ABC television movie, “The Kansas City Massacre,” and a Bellhop in the CBS television movie, “The Shell Game.” In 1977 he was Dan Kincaid in “All That Glitters”, the syndicated series written by Norman Lear, with critics praising Gary’s performance in the show.
From 1978 to 1982, he played Andy Travis in “WKRP in Cincinnati” – his character was the new program director of the struggling radio station WKRP. Hugh Wilson created the show and based it on real-life experiences of several people in the radio industry, including himself.
Gary was grateful that he got to play the lead role, who is an all-American ‘nice guy’, however, his character was often overshadowed by Loni Anderson, a leggy blonde, and Howard Hesseman, a ‘hip’ DJ. Andy Travis is the focus in the theme song, and although he was the lead, the show shifted to an ensemble comedy later in the first season. Instead of Andy leading the episodes, any one of the eight regulars would carry the episode. Even though the show became an ensemble, Gary still remained the highest-paid actor in the cast for the four seasons. In 1991 the show returned in syndication, but Gary and most of the cast didn’t return.
In 1979 he appeared in a special of “The Muppets Go Hollywood” alongside his “WKRP in Cincinnati” co-star, Loni Anderson.
In 1981 he played Frank Ford in the NBC television movie, “Nashville Grab”, and in 1996 he played Charlie in the CBS television movie “Unlikely Angel.”
In 2001Gary played Luke in the PAX television movie “Lightning: Fire from the Sky,” (also known as “100 MillionenVolt -Inferno am Himmel and Wenn die Welt untergeht—Des Wetter Inferno”). In 2004 he played Dr. Douglas ‘Doc’ Hamilton in the Hallmark Channel television movie “A Place Called Home,” and before returning to theater, he made multiple television appearances, including in “The Young Riders,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “F.B.I. The Untold Story”, and “Diagnosis Murder.”
In 1972 he played a young man in “I Used to See My Sister” at the Library and Museum of the Performing Arts, New York City.
— Silver Age Television 📺 (@SilverAgeTV) December 25, 2018
In 1973 at the Theatre de Lys, New York City, he played Geoffrey in “The Children’s Mass,” which was produced by Sal Mineo. His Broadway debut was in 1974 as Federico in “Saturday, Sunday, Monday”, the comedy performed at the Martin Beck Theatre and directed by Franco Zeffirelli.
From 1981 to 1982 he played in “The Pirates of Penzance,” first at the Minskoff Theatre and then at the Uris Theatre, both in New York City, replacing Kevin Kline in the role of The Pirate King. In 1984 he played Chance Wayne in “Sweet Bird of Youth” at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Cincinnati, Ohio., and the following year was Hildy Johnson in “Windy City” at the Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, New Jersey; the play was adapted from “The Front Page.”
From 1986 to 1987, he played Mortimer Brewster in “Arsenic and Old Lace” at 46th Street Theatre, New York City – from the fiftieth anniversary, he replaced Tony Roberts and continued on the North American tour, co-starring with Marion Ross and Jean Stapleton.
In 2001 he starred in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” opposite Ann-Margret – the stage production toured for two years. In 2004 he appeared in “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” a musical Texas-version of Shakespeare’s play, and at the John Houseman Theatre in “Lone Star Love” as Frank Ford.
Gary has performed in more than one hundred theatrical productions; the roles he’s most proud of include the title role in “Barnum,” Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire”, and Billy in “Billy Bishop Goes to War.”
The latter was particularly spectacular, because he was the star of a one-man show in which he needed to play 17 roles. At the Drury Lane Theatre, Oakbrook Illinois, in 1989 for his role in “The Music Man,” Gary was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role in a Musical. He has also won numerous awards for his work in live radio drama.
In a 2017 interview with Tampa Bay, Gary spoke about/of his plans to work at the Marcia P. Hoffman School of Arts located in the Ruth Eckerd Hall Murray Theatre, where he will teach theater at their drama summer camps.
Currently, he still appears in various theatrical productions.
Gary played Jim Paine in 1971’s “Some of My Best Friends Are…”, also known as “The Bar.”
In 1973 he played Tom in “Hail to the Chief,” Chief Leitner in “Against the Law”, and Charlie La Pere in “The Last of the Cowboys” in 1978 opposite Jane Fonda’s father, Henry Fonda. The following year he played Barry ‘Duke’ Tabor in “Troll.”
In 1999 he was Sandefur’s lawyer starring with Russel Crowe and Al Pacino in the Academy Award-nominated film, “The Insider”, directed by Michael Mann; Mann and Eric Roth adapted Marie Bremmer’s Vanity Fair 1996 article “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” The film is loosely based on a true story about a whistleblower in the tobacco industry, Jeffrey Wigand, and follows Jeffrey’s struggles working under his former employer, and the problems/troubles/unrest both him and CBS News producer, Lowell Bergman face after exposing the tobacco industry.
The film wasn’t a box office hit, but received critical praise, particularly for Michael’s direction and Russel’s performance. The film received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Picture.
In 1989 Gary married actress Laura Soltis, but they divorced in 1995. There is no record of him remarrying, or if he has children
Gary has brownish-blond hair and brown eyes. He is 5ft 10in (1.78m) tall.
Net worth and salary
His net worth is estimated at over $1.5 million, as of mid-2020.