Dobson was well-known for his roles in the TV series Kojak and Knots Landing as well as the movie Midway.
Dobson Came From Humble Beginnings
According to IMDb, Dobson was one of seven siblings. He was born in New York City on March 18, 1943, and raised in Jackson Heights, Queens.
He also had many jobs over the years besides making it as an actor. Dobson was a conductor for Long Island’s Railroad, a military police officer in the U.S. during the Vietnam war and a semi-pro-baseball player. Both of his sons appeared to inherit their father’s baseball talent, with Sean playing college baseball at Santa Barbara City College and Patrick playing as an All-American third baseman at the University of Las Vegas.
Dobson may have even channeled the spirit of his Irish immigrant grandfather, a “decorated New York City policeman,” during his roles as a member of law enforcement.
Dobson Was a Beloved Character From ‘Kojak’ & ‘Knots Landing’
Dobson started out working in The Doctors in 1969 and he was also a guest star on the TV shows Emergency! and Cannon, The Wrap reported.
Dobson was a “surrogate son” to Telly Savalas, the famous lead of the series Kojak, who helped mentor him; Dobson played Kojak’s partner, Detective Bobby Crocker, throughout the series. “Look, ‘Telly Savalas is doing this and I’m right for him,’ you know, and he did and he made the arrangements,” Dobson said of his acting agent, according to IMDb. “At that time, I had nothing, and a friend of mine, he had a vest, suit, everything.”
Dobson described Savalas as his friend and mentor. “Telly was as soft as they come, he was like lemon meringue pie, he was a terrific guy,” Dobson said, according to IMDb. “Very good family man, always had family, his mother was around, his brother [of course] worked with him on the show, and there were always people around. You know, when you met Telly, you know, you walk away, you feel like your best friend. You just renew the relationship. He’s very gracious, and he lived life to his fullest!”
Dobson went on to star in Knots Landing in 1982 as Patrick (“Mack”) McKenzie, Soaps.com reported. He was a “nice guy,” who played the love interest of the character Karen Fairgate (played by actress Michele Lee), who would go on to marry McKenzie. “They would say, ‘You’re the lawyer on the show,’ and I said, ‘No, I play the husband.’ I wanted to bring family responsibility to the show,” Dobson said in an interview with Boomer magazine.
Dobson won four awards from the Soap Opera Digest Awards and an Anniversary Award, all for his role in Knots Landing.
According to his filmography on IMDb, Dobson had a prolific acting career, appearing on other TV series such as Hawaii Five-0, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Cold Case and Anger Management, soap operas including as Mickey Horton on Days of Our Lives and Judge Devin Owens on The Bold and the Beautiful and in movies including Bering Sea Beast, Christmas at Cadillac Jack’s and Midway).
Dobson Was an Avid Supporter of Veterans
According to Stockton newspaper The Record, Dobson was asked to chair a Veterans Day event while he was still working on the set of Kojak and never stopped doing work to support veterans since then. According to Boomer magazine, Dobson was the chairman of The National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans twice and the long-time chairman of the SAG-AFTRA’s (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) Military Personnel and Family Committee.
Dobson also hosted two Veterans Inaugural Balls, one for President Bill Clinton and another for President George Bush. He also received an AMVETS (American Veterans) Silver Helmet Peace Award and an American Legion Award for his work with veterans, Soaps.com reported.
“The idea was to bring ‘The American Soldier’ here to Stockton make the public more aware,” Dobson told The Record. “Veterans show up for veterans stuff, but I want the public to become more aware of veterans’ plights. This show … gives a better understanding of the mindset of being a veteran, being a combat veteran. The more aware we become, the better our chances of helping veterans get the benefits they need.”