Kevin Dobson, ‘Kojak’ and ‘Knots Landing’ Star, Dies at 77

The actor and U.S. Army veteran was active in veterans’ causes

Last Updated: September 7, 2020 @ 6:38 PM

Actor Kevin Dobson, a star on beloved CBS dramas “Kojak” and “Knots Landing,” died Sunday of a heart attack. He was 77.

Dobson’s death was announced via Facebook by the United Veterans Council of San Joaquin County, which the actor had previously served as chairman.

He is best known for two long-running roles on primetime TV: first for playing opposite Telly Savalas as Detective Bobby Crocker, Theo Kojak’s younger partner, on “Kojak” from 1973 to 1978, and then as patriarch M. Patrick (“Mack”) McKenzie on the soap “Knots Landing” from 1982 to 1993.

Born on March 18, 1943 in Jackson Heights, New York, Dobson worked as a trainman, brakeman and conductor on the Long Island Railroad in New York followed by a few years as a waiter before he decided to start his acting career.

Dobson’s first acting jobs included a series of uncredited appearances on daytime drama “The Doctors” in 1969 and in the 1971 Jane Fonda film “Klute.” After a round of guest spots on dramas “The Mod Squad,” “Emergency!” and “Cannon,” he got his big break, signing a deal with Universal in 1972 which led to his five-season stint on “Kojak.”

Dobson joined “Knots Landing” in the fourth season, playing a federal prosecutor who quickly marries Michelle Lee’s Karen and becomes a central figure in the series’ many dramas. He won five Soap Opera Digest Awards for his work on the series and later reunited with his “Knots Landing” co-stars for a miniseries, “Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac” in 1997, and again in the 2005 nonfiction special “Knots Landing Reunion: Together Again.”

He later made appearances on daytime soaps such as “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “Days of Our Lives” as well as series like “Cold Case,” “House of Lies,” “C.S.I” and “Anger Management.”

In addition to serving in the U.S. Army, Dobson was active in veterans’ causes such as the Veterans Committee of the Los Angeles Screen Actors Guild and the VA’s National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans. For his efforts, he received the AMVETS Silver Helmet Award for Americanism, the highest recognition given by a veteran organization.

He is survived by his wife Susan and his three children, Sean Dobson, Patrick Dobson and Mariah Dobson.