Terry Kiser

Terry Kiser (born August 1, 1939) is an American actor. He is known for portraying the deceased title character of the comedy Weekend at Bernie's and its sequel, Weekend at Bernie's II. He has more than 140 acting credits to his name, with a career spanning more than 50 years. He is the co-founder of an acting school in Austin, Texas, "The Actors Arena".

Terry Kiser
Kiser in New Jersey, April 2015
Born (1939-08-01) August 1, 1939
Years active1963–present
Sylvie Marmet
(m. 1987; div. 2004)

Early life and education

Kiser was born in Omaha, Nebraska on August 1, 1939. He attended the University of Kansas, where he received a football scholarship. He graduated in 1962 with a degree in industrial engineering. Returning to Omaha, he worked as an engineer for three years while acting on the side. During these years, Kiser acted as an amateur in more than 50 plays. On the advice of a drama teacher, he made the decision to pursue acting full-time and moved to New York City in 1965. He joined the Actors Studio and worked with Lee Strasberg.[1]


Kiser's first two years in New York included an array of small parts, ranging from theater to television to commercials. By 1967, Kiser gained significant recognition for his work, winning both an Obie Award and Theater World Award for Fortune and Men's Eyes.[2][3]

Becoming a life member of The Actors Studio,[4] Kiser was a regular on several soap operas, The Secret Storm and The Doctors. In 1978, he starred on the short-lived sitcoms The Roller Girls, and Sugar Time!. It was during the 1970s and early 1980s that Kiser appeared in Three's Company, One Day At A Time, The Love Boat, Night Court, 227, Maude and The Golden Girls.

One of his roles was on the TV drama Hill Street Blues, where he played comedian Vic Hitler (aka, "Vic the Narcoleptic Comic"). He was a cast member on the syndicated sketch comedy show Off the Wall and a part of the ensemble on Carol Burnett's Carol & Company, which aired in 1990. In the 1990s, he appeared on Walker, Texas Ranger, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (as H. G. Wells) and Will & Grace.

His film appearances include Fast Charlie... the Moonbeam Rider (1979), Rich Kids (1979), Steel (1979), An Eye for an Eye (1981), Making Love (1982), Six Pack (1982), Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land (1983), Surf II (1984), From a Whisper to a Scream (1987) and Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988).

Kiser is best known for starring in Weekend at Bernie's (1989), in the title role of Bernie Lomax, the corrupt insurance executive who is dead for most of the film. Bernie's young employees, played by Jonathan Silverman and Andrew McCarthy, attempt to convince people that Bernie is still alive. He reprised the role in Weekend at Bernie's II (1993). Since 2012, several YouTube videos featuring "The Bernie Dance" generated more than 17 million views collectively by April 2016.

Other film appearances include Mannequin Two: On the Move (1991), Into the Sun (1992), The Pledge (2011), and A Christmas Tree Miracle (2013).

In the early 2010s Kiser began work on The Accidental President, which led to his participation in the second season of Johnny Dynamo. That show was followed with Kiser's lead role in the feature The Body Sculptor as Dr. Jason Stone. The film was scheduled for completion and release in 2016.

In 2013, Kiser moved to Austin, Texas, where, with his partner, actress Joy Leigh, he co-founded an acting school, The Actors Arena. Instruction is open to students of all ages and experience levels.

In mid-2016 Kiser moved back to his ranch in Colorado.





  1. "Terry Kiser". Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  2. "67 - Obie Awards". Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  3. "TERRY KISER". July 28, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  4. Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
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