Newswire: R.I.P. Robert Z’Dar, cult actor and Maniac Cop

Robert Z’Dar, the cult-movie actor famous for portraying sci-fi and action-movie heavies—a persona enhanced by his signature jawline—has died. Z’Dar was hospitalized after experiencing chest pains while attending the Pensacon comics convention in Pensacola, Florida; there, according to his manager and friend Jim Decker, he went into cardiac arrest and died Monday night. He was 64.

Born Robert J. Zdarsky in Chicago, Illinois, Z’Dar studied acting at Arizona State University, where he also played on the football team. After college, Z’Dar held a variety of jobs, including as a Chicago police officer, the singer/guitarist/keyboardist for the band Nova Express, a commercial jingle writer, and, according to Time, a Chippendales dancer before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a movie career.

Z’Dar’s first movie role was in the 1985 B-movie Hellhole, about a young woman tortured in a mental asylum after …

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