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Actor and theater director Robert Drivas devoted the bulk of his shortened career to the stage, becoming a familiar figure in Off-Broadway circles by the early 1960s, and going on to direct and/or star in high-profile works by writers such as Terrence McNally and Edward Albee. But, like many New York stage actors, Drivas supplemented the often-low wages of serious theater by taking guest spots on television series. He was particularly well-liked by the casting agents at the popular crime drama "The F.B.I.," where he was cast in seven different roles over the course of the show's nine-year run. Drivas made his first major film splash in the small but pivotal part of fellow inmate Loudmouth Steve in Paul Newman's classic prison drama "Cool Hand Luke." This led to starring roles in a trio of countercultural films during the late '60s and early '70s--the trippy Ray Bradbury adaptation "The Illustrated Man," the generation-gap comedy "Where It's At," and the bleak trucker drama "Road Movie." But by the mid-'70s, Drivas was working steadily as an award-winning stage actor and director and no longer needed the easy paychecks of film and TV work; his last major movie role was in Larry Cohen's '76 thriller "God Told Me To." Drivas died of AIDS-related illness in '86; his longtime creative partner McNally dedicated his '87 Off-Broadway hit "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune" to him and to another recently deceased friend, actor James Coco.
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