Robert W. Tessier (June 2, 1934 - October 11, 1990) was an American actor and stuntman who was best known for playing heavy, menacing characters on film and television.
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts of Algonquin descent, Tessier served as a paratrooper in the Korean War earning both a Silver Star and Purple Heart.
Tessier was an accomplished motorcycle rider doing stunts in the circus. These skills helped him secure his first movie role in The Born Losers directed by Tom Laughlin.
With his shaven head, size and threatening-looking appearance, Tessier went on to play a series of villainous roles on both TV and in film. He later formed a stunt troupe called Stunts Unlimited with director Hal Needham.
Although Tessier starred in many films and TV roles over his career, probably two of his best remembered movie roles were as the menacing, karate-wielding convict "Shokner" in the 1974 comedy-drama The Longest Yard with Burt Reynolds (whom he counted as one of his friends) and as Kevin in The Deep. He also played a bare knuckle fighter in the Charles Bronson film Hard Times.
In his spare time, Tessier was an accomplished cabinet maker often making pieces for his co-stars.
Tessier died of