David Rasche is an American theater, film and television actor possibly best known for starring in the short-lived 1980s satire known as "Sledge Hammer."
Born August 7, 1944 in Belleville, Illinois, the son of a minister and farmer, he came from a Evangelical family of ministers and pastors. He studied at Elmhurst College in 1966 where his grandfather was an alumnus and later attended the University of Chicago Divinity School for two years before leaving to pursue a graduate degree in English from the University of Chicago.
Also studying acting under Sanford Meisner, he performed for two years in Chicago's Second City improvisation group while studying there. Working as a writer and teacher for two years at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, he also helped found Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. After Second City, he starred in the Organic Theater's 1974 production of David Mamet's "Sexual Perversity" in Chicago, which established the playwright's characteristic blend of earthy, sometimes brutal dialogue. Appearing on television and films in 1977, he made his film debut in 1978 in "An Unmarried Woman," directed by Paul Mazursky, ad later recieved a small part in Woody Allen's "Manhattan."
In 1983, he played a terrorist in the television film "Special Bulletin" and the role of Petruchio in a production of Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew" directed by Zoe Caldwell at the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut in the Mid-Eighties. He also appeared in the TV shows "Miami Vice," "Ryan's Hope, "Search For Tomorrow," "Sarah" and "Kate and Allie" before landing the role of detective Sledge Hammer in the short-lived TV satire, "Sledge Hammer." A spoof of police dramas, the series made Rasche a huge television star, and after the series ended, he starred in the Broadway production of Mamet's "Speed-the-Plow" to critical acclaim, later appearing in an off-Broadway revival of Mamet's "Edmond."
His later film roles included the movie "Cobra" with Brigitte Nielsen, "Barbarians at the Gate," "An Innocent Man," Delirious, "The Big Tease," "The Sentinel," "Flags of Our Fathers" directed by Clint Eastwood, "Burn After Reading," "Men In Black 3" and "Amira and Sam." In the Fall 2008, he starred in the ill-fated Broadway adaptation of "To Be or Not to Be" in a reprisal of Jack Benny's role as Joseph Tura.
In recent years, Rasche returned to TV in the TVLand series "Impastor" with Michael Rosenbaum, which despite decent reviews was cancelled after two seasons. In 2017, he played George Antrobus a production of Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth," opposite Kecia Lewis. Rasche has been married for forty years to acting teacher Heather Lupton from the University of California Santa Barbara. They have three children.