PROFILE
Name:
John Kassir
Birth Date:
October 24, 1957
Birth Place:
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Nationality:
American
BIOGRAPHY
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Crypt Keeper

Background:

First coming to public attention as the “Star Search” Comedy Champ of 1984 in which he defeated Sinbad in the final round, American character actor, voice actor and comedian John Kassir is best known for playing the voice of the Crypt Keeper on the hit HBO show “Tales from the Crypt” (1989-1996) and its movie spin-offs “Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood” (1996) and “Tales from the Crypt Presents: Revelation” (2001). He has also done voice over work for animated films like “Pocahontas” (1995) and such TV projects as “Earthworm Jim” (1995-1996), “The Flintstones: On the Rocks” (2001), “Rocket Power: Race Across New Zealand” (2002) and “Danger Rangers” (2005), as well as for various video games. Kassir played Zagreb Shkenusky in the HBO series “1st & Ten” (1984-1990), The Atom on the made-for-TV adaptation of DC Comics' “Justice League of America” (1997), Shemp Howard on the biographical TV film “The Three Stooges” (2000) and Ralph Wiley/Uncle Sam on the award-winner “Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical” (2005). In addition, he has acted in dozens of motion pictures and guest starred in countless TV series.


Halo

Childhood:

John Kassir was born on October 24, 1957, in Baltimore, Maryland. He married actress Julie Benz on May 30, 1998. They both have done voice over work in the Xbox game “Halo 2.”


1st & Ten

Career:

Maryland-born John Kassir had years of professional stage performances in NYC as well as extensive street performances in front of the Metropolitan Museum before being shot to prominence in 1984 when he became the winner of the stand-up comedy talent competition on Ed McMahon's “Star Search.” He beat out Rosie O'Donnell and Sinbad in the semi-finals and the finals respectively and brought home the $100,000.00 Grand Prize. He went on to act on television by guest starring in such series as “The Facts of Life” (1988) and “Tour of Duty” (1989) and then started his six-year tenure as the Bulgarian football player, Zagreb Shkenusky, on the HBO comedy series “1st & Ten,” which ran from 1984 to 1990.

After the demise of “1st & Ten,” Kassir found himself a fruitful voice-over artist, though he sporadically made live-action appearances on television. He was seen as a guest in TV series like “Dream On” (1992, starred Michael McKean and Paul Dooley), “The Single Guy” (1995-1996, with Mark Moses and Olivia d'Abo), “Malcolm & Eddie” (1996-1997, with Tucker Smallwood), “Sliders” (1998) and “Friends” (1999), and had supporting roles in movies like “Monster Mash: The Movie” (1995), “Cyber-Tracker 2” (1995), the comedy spoof “Spy Hard” (1996), “Encino Woman” (1996, TV), “Justice League of America” (1997, TV), as Ray Palmer/The Atom, and “The Glass Jar” (1999, as John). He also starred as Johnny on the 1997 comedy show “Johnnytime,” which aired for two seasons on the USA network and was credited as a regular performer on the popular Nickelodeon sketch comedy series “The Amanda Show” (1999).

Kassir became known to cartoon fans as Crypt Keeper in the HBO horror anthology series “Tales from the Crypt,” a gig he held from 1989 to 1996. He also recreated the role for the subsequent movie spin-off “Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood” (1996), “Tales from the Cryptkeeper,” which ran from 1993 to 1997, and “Secrets of the Cryptkeeper's Haunted House” (1997). He also voiced Meeko in the animated feature “Pocahontas” (1995) and Henchrat in episodes of “Earthworm Jim” (1995-1996).

Entering the new millennium, Kassir showed his dramatic and comedic flair with his role as Shemp Howard in the made-for-TV biopic “The Three Stooges” (2000), opposite Paul Ben-Victor as Moe Howard and Evan Handler as Larry Fine. The film was produced by Mel Gibson.

The same year, he also appeared as Gar in the “Star Trek: Voyager” episode of “Critical Care” and went on to make a series of guest appearance in shows like “Philly” (2002), “CSI” (2003), “Joan of Arcadia” (2003), “Cold Case” (2004), “CSI: Miami” (2004) and “Charmed” (2005). His voice could be heard in episodes of such TV series as “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command” (2000, as Marl), “As Told by Ginger” (2000-2001, as Winston) and “Time Squad” (as Alfred Nobel), and in the movies “Tales from the Crypt Presents: Revelation” (2001), in which he reprised his coveted role of The Crypt Keeper, “The Flintstones: On the Rocks” (2001, TV) and “Rocket Power: Race Across New Zealand” (2002, TV).

Kassir teamed up with “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” star Armin Shimerman for a short film called “Who Slew Simon Thaddeus Mulberry Pew” (2002), which cast the actor in the title role. Three years later, he portrayed Moe Moebius in the horror film “Dr. Rage” (2005). Telling about his character in the movie, John said, “Moe Moebius is a weird strange character with coke-bottle glasses for the movie Dr. Rage, which was made for around half a million dollars. I was approached by a friend, another actor, who’d worked on the script and produced it and I have a buddy directing it, Jeff Broadstreet, and it was such a fun character I couldn’t turn it down. It has Karen Black in it and Andrew Divoff, who plays the bad guy. I’m his sidekick. I’m like the Igor to his Dr. Frankenstein, but it’s got a different feel to it than most horror films I’ve seen; a very unique feel. I’ll be really interested to see how it comes out. My character seems kind of meek and quirky, but there’s an underlying rage below his character as well.”

He then was cast by Andi Fickman as Ralph Wiley/Uncle Sam on the Emmy-winning “Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical” (2005), opposite Kristen Bell, Christian Campbell, Neve Campbell and Alan Cumming, and acted in the TV film “McBride: Tune in for Murder” (2005), as Danny Doyle. He maintained his busy voice acting career by working on a number of video games as well as in TV and film projects, such as “Danger Rangers” (2005, TV), “The Wild” (2006) and “Casper's Scare School (2006, TV).” More recently, in 2007, he provided the English version of Soshun on the TV miniseries “Afro Samurai” and contributed to the video game “Spider-Man 3.”

Currently, Kassir has completed filming the romance film “Channels,” directed and written by and starring Nat Christian. The movie also stars Kimberly Oja, Taylor Negron, Edward Asner and Joan Van Ark.

“I was a busy guy! It was really a fun time in my life. You know, you want some time off, but at the same time, I love what I do, so gimme all the work I can get.” John Kassir


Awards:
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