This beefy, genial-looking character actor was born John Kevin Fishburn in Los Angeles. Performing as a child from age 10, Tighe initially attended Pasadena City College. He later obtained a Masters Degree in Theater, then taught drama at USC. Living Bohemian-style out of a suitcase after he decided to pursue acting professionally, he was in the United Kingdom trying to obtain work at various prestigious theater companies when producer Jack Webb acquired his services for the "Emergency!" (1972) medical series alongside Robert Fuller, Julie London, Bobby Troup and Randolph Mantooth.
Tighe gained moderate TV stardom as paramedic Roy DeSoto and the series lasted a financially lucrative six years. Along with that came a spin-off animated series and some follow-up TV-movies. He returned to acting study in order to refresh his skills during the slow "post-Emergency" period and managed to work with such inspiring notables as Stella Adler. His perseverance paid off with a steady stream of gray-haired character roles starting in the 80s -- predominantly in rugged fare. Although he made his Broadway debut with "Open Admissions" in 1984, the show folded after only a couple of weeks. On film, however, Kevin did quite well by appearing in such high-profile movies as Matewan (1987), where he first played a "bad guy," Eight Men Out (1988), Road House (1989), Another 48 Hrs. (1990), City of Hope (1991), Newsies (1992), What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Jade (1995) and Mumford (1999).
On TV he has had a number of prime support rules over the years playing everything from Thomas Jefferson and William Randolph Hearst to the Kansas patriarch who was senselessly slaughtered along with his family by the "In Cold Blood" killers. Known for his serious-minded roles, Kevin has tackled a number of generals, attorneys, governors, doctors, coaches, even psychics during his long career. He won the Canadian "Genie" Award for his supporting role in I Love a Man in Uniform (1993). His only child, Jennifer Tighe, is also an actress.
|Rebecca||(? - ?) 1 child|
Father of Jennifer Tighe.
He is the godfather of Kate Mulgrew's sons.
Acting mentor was Julie London.
Best known by the public for his role as Paramedic Roy DeSoto on "Emergency!" (1972).
I grew up in downtown L.A. on West 7th Street near Lafayette Park. When I was 5 we moved to Pasadena. My father was a bit actor. He got me going when I was about 9 or 10 - I auditioned for something at the Pasadena Playhouse and I started playing juvenile leads.
[If he was embarrassed over his role on "Emergency!" (1972) opposite Julie London, Bobby Troup and Randolph Mantooth, who would later be his best friend, who in turn played Johnny Gage]: No, I feel a great deal of pride that I was able to be a paramedic. Randolph and I have stayed good friends. I was the best man at his wedding. I didn't want to scurry away from it. But it was something I did in my 20s. It didn't require a lot of acting. It didn't require a lot of great dialogue ... I don't list it in the program because it doesn't really link with what I am doing now.
We were supposed to do it in New York, but something happened. So I went to Europe. I worked at Cambridge for a while. I ran out of money.
[Who admitted he had a serious problem with his celebrity status prior to his days on "Emergency!" (1972)]: I didn't know how to deal with it. I couldn't small talk. I would go to parties and my glasses would fog. I was truly miserable. I am a character actor. I am not a celebrity.
[on the deaths of Bobby Troup and Julie London]: They were very special to the cast and crew and they became good friends and that it hurt deeply when Bobby and Julie died. Their friendship could never be replaced.
[on his professional on- and off-screen chemistry with Julie London and Bobby Troup, who played both Dixie 'Dix' McCall, RN & Dr. Joe Early, M.D., respectively]: Working with Julie and Bobby. Never a dull moment. Great wrap parties. The opportunity of working with such a wonderful cast and crew!
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