Born: September 19, 1945
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States
Randolph Mantooth (born Randy DeRoy Mantooth, September 19, 1945), is an American actor who has worked in television, documentaries, theater, and film for more than 40 years. A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he was discovered in New York by a Universal Studios talent agent while performing the lead in the play Philadelphia, Here I Come. After signing with Universal and moving to California, he slowly built up his resume with work on such dramatic series as Adam-12 (1968), Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969), McCloud (1970), and Alias Smith and Jones (1971).
He was chosen to play a lead role as Fireman/Paramedic John Gage in the 1970s medical drama, Emergency!, (opposite Julie London as Nurse Dixie McCall, Bobby Troup as Dr. Joe Early and Kevin Tighe as Roy DeSoto). The show aired six seasons (129 episodes) and six two-hour television movie specials. Since this experience, Mantooth has spoken regularly at Firefighter and EMS conferences and symposia across the United States, while maintaining an active acting career. He is a spokesperson for both the International Association of Firefighters and the International Association of Fire Chiefs for fire fighter health and safety, and he has been honored over the years with numerous awards and recognitions.
Mantooth has appeared in numerous films and television series in lead and supportive roles including mini-series adaptations of Testimony of Two Men (1977) and a starring role as Abraham Kent in The Seekers (1979-80). Through the 1990s and 2000s he appeared in daytime soap operas, earning him four Soap Opera Digest Award nominations. He has frequently returned to theater in the productions Footprints in Blood, Back to the Blankets, Wink Dah, The Independence of Eddie Rose, The Paper Crown, The Inuit and Rain Dance, among others.
Mantooth, the oldest of four children, was born as Randy DeRoy Mantooth in Sacramento, California, in 1945, to Sadie (née Neddenreip) and Donald (Buck) Mantooth. He is of Seminole, Cherokee, Potawatomi, Scottish, and German descent. His mother was of German descent; his father was from Oklahoma. His siblings are Don Mantooth, Nancy Mantooth and Tonya Mantooth. Because of their father's job in the construction industry, Mantooth lived in 24 states, finally settling in Santa Barbara, California, where he grew up.
Mantooth attended San Marcos High School and participated in school plays. Following his studies at Santa Barbara City College, he received a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York . It was there that he chose to change his first name from "Randy" to stage name "Randolph", keeping his last name. His performance as "Gar" in the play Philadelphia Here I Come earned him the Charles Jehlenger Award for Best Actor, an honor he shared with fellow actor Brad Davis.
Mantooth's earlier jobs included work as an elevator operator at the Madison Avenue Baptist Church and as a page at NBC Studios at Rockefeller Center in New York City. His very first paying job in life was as a newspaper boy for the local paper, the Coatesville Record, in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.
On April 2, 2013, Mantooth lost his mother, Sadie Mantooth, age 90, at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California. The Los Angeles County Fire Museum received a special donation from him to dedicate the memory of his mother.
In 2015, he revealed that he was both diagnosed with cancer earlier that year and had completed treatment, heading towards a recovery.
Mantooth was discovered in New York by Universal Studios’ talent agent Eleanor Kilgallen while playing the lead in the play Philadelphia Here I Come. After signing with Universal and moving back to California, he slowly built up his resume with work on such dramatic series as Adam-12 (1968), Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969), McCloud (1970), and Alias Smith and Jones (1971). This led to TV stardom on the popular Emergency! series in 1972 which ran over six seasons. He earned further series roles as Lt. Mike Bender on Operation Petticoat (1977) and as Eddie Dawkins on Detective School (1979), as well as guest starring on episodics such as Sierra, Cos, The Love Boat, Battlestar Gallactica, and Vega$.
Producer Robert A. Cinader saw Mantooth in a small role on The Bold Ones opposite Hal Holbrook that led to his decision to cast him as Firefighter/Paramedic John Gage on the TV series Emergency! opposite Robert Fuller and actors-singers, Julie London and Bobby Troup. Mantooth and Tighe were part of a paramedic team assigned to Squad 51 of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Responding to accidents or dangerous rescues in an “emergency room on wheels” with directions via biophone from medical personnel back at the hospital, the paramedics performed Advance Lifesaving (ALS) techniques to stabilize injured, ill, and dying patients before transporting them to a medical facility.
To train for their parts, the actors, Mantooth along with Kevin Tighe, "...sat in on paramedic classes" (although they never took any written exams) "and rode out on extensive ride-a-longs with LACoFD". In an interview with Tom Blixa of WTVN, Mantooth said that the producer wanted them to train so that they would at least know the fundamentals and look like they knew what they were doing on camera. Mantooth mentioned that unless you take the written course you are not a paramedic and that "if anyone has a heart attack, I'll call 911 with the best of them". According to authors Richard Yokley and Roxane Sutherland who wrote the book, Emergency! Behind the Scenes, the show Emergency! is an important chapter in television history. When the world premiere was first broadcast in 1972, there were only 12 paramedic units in all of North America. Ten years later, more than half of all Americans were within ten minutes of a paramedic rescue or ambulance unit, due to the influence of the show. The program introduced audiences from all over the world to the concept of pre-hospital care, along with fire prevention and CPR.
The show ran six seasons (129 episodes) with seven two-hour television movie specials including the pilot film (The Wedsworth-Townsend Act). with a national audience that averaged 30 million viewers each week. Mantooth directed two episodes of Emergency!; "The Nuisance" (1976) and "Insanity Epidemic" (1977), and also directed the movie Greatest Rescues of Emergency (1978). Mantooth and Tighe did many of their own stunts in the early years with the rule of thumb, "if you could see our faces, it was us doing the stunts, if you couldn't, it was our stunt double." He was offered an opportunity after Emergency! went off the air to be an actual fire fighter, but decided to continue with acting.
Nearly 30 years after Emergency! debuted, the Smithsonian Institution accepted Emergency! memorabilia into its American History Museum in the public service division and not entertainment on May 16, 2000. Items inducted at the Smithsonian included their uniforms, scripts, helmets, turnouts, biophone, and defibrillator. In conjunction to the induction of the equipment from Emergency! at the Smithsonian, Project 51 was created as a way to raise funds for a children's burn charity, and show the restored squad around the country. Mantooth along with Marco Lopez, Tim Donnelly, Ron Pinkard, and Mike Stoker embarked on a 10-city tour with the squad to raise funds for charity on their way to Washington, DC, with their final destination being the Smithsonian. Project 51 folded after the equipment was inducted into the Smithsonian and the funds were distributed to burn centers, fire education projects, and museums.
In 2012, Mantooth and Tighe were presented with the traditional white leather cairns helmets by the Los Angeles County Fire Department as Honorary Fire Chiefs of the department. The honor was bestowed on the men for their contributions to the fire service and emergency medicine through educating and inspiring kids and adults to be firefighters, EMTs, or paramedics. The show contributed to the revolution in emergency medicine and mobile health across the country.
The series was sold into syndication in 1977 as Emergency! One to some local stations in the late 1970s. It was called Emergency! One because the show was still filming in the United States. After the show ended filming, the name reverted to Emergency! The show was sold overseas and aired in a number of countries, including Germany where it was renamed Notruf California, in addition to being dubbed in Spanish in the United States. In the late 1990s and 2000s, Emergency! began airing cable and digital sub-channels networks that included TV Land, RTV, and MeTV. Emergency! spun off an animated version called Emergency +4 which ran on NBC Saturday mornings from 1973 to 1976, of which Mantooth's voice was used, along with Kevin Tighe's. Starship Rescue aired in 1973 to promote NBC's fall lineup of Saturday morning programs focusing on Emergency! and Star Trek: The Animated Series and it was hosted by Mantooth and Tighe. Tighe and Mantooth also presented the work of firefighters and paramedics from the Los Angeles County Fire Department on the NBC Saturday morning's children's show, Go!.
Mantooth's and Tighe's likeness were used for games, puzzles, lunch boxes, action figures, and comic books connected to the show. The comic books for Emergency focused on the primary actors from Rampart Hospital, along with Johnny and Roy. The four comic books, and four magazines, were issued by Charlton Comics in 1976. Some of the issues were drawn by John Byrne and Neal Adams. Emergency! +4 and Emergency! both had coloring books that were created to promote the show to young viewers using the likenesses of the five principal characters. Viewmaster released a series of reels that had film stills of the show arranged in a story or photo montage.
Mantooth and Kevin Tighe's characters John Gage and Roy DeSoto appeared on another Robert A. Cinader created show, Sierra. The show focused on National Park Service Rangers in the Sierras. Mantooth and Tighe appeared in the episode, "Urban Rangers". Mantooth's character also appeared on a crossover episode of Adam-12 called "Lost and Found".
The on-screen camaraderie between Mantooth and Tighe, as well as with both London and Troup, carried over to real life as well. Before London's and Troup's deaths, all four remained close friends after the series came to a close, and Tighe served as a best man at Mantooth's second wedding in 2002. While talking with Tom Blixa of WTVN, Mantooth said that at first it was a little intimidating working with Robert Fuller, Bobby Troup, and Julie London, because they were all big stars but after doing a show with them for seven years they all became like family. In the same interview while discussing happenings behind the scenes and blooper reels, Mantooth also said that there was "a lot of salty language though"..."and we learned every bad word from Julie London"...”I love her to death but she herself said 'I'm a broad'". In a 2013 interview with the Tolucan Times, Mantooth said of his decades-long colleague, "Julie London was a mentor to all of us. She let the words work for her, rather than emoting; that’s all anybody needed."
While Mantooth has been a working actor for forty years, he has remained an advocate of firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, and other emergency medical providers. He makes speeches and personal appearances each year at events across the country, discussing the "inside story of the development of the television series Emergency! and its impact on the EMS system development". Having worked closely with the nation’s first certified firefighter/paramedics, who served as technical advisors on the set of Emergency!, Mantooth brings a perspective and insight into the startup and history of pre-hospital treatment in the field. He worked alongside influential men who made a difference … men he greatly admired … the late Robert A. Cinader, creator and executive producer of Emergency!, and the man known as the Father of Modern Emergency Medical Services, close friend and mentor, the late James O. Page. According to A.J. Heightman, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS), "Randy Mantooth is one of the strongest reminders of how America turned the dedicated delivery of basic emergency care into a systematic approach to EMS and Advanced Life Support".
Mantooth's dedication to promoting and advocating for the fire service and EMS is shown through personal reasons, "I owe an incredible debt to firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics... so that's a debt that no on can really pay back, but you can try. That's why it's so important for me to do what I do." Mantooth references his own life being saved from carbon monoxide poisoning at home during the run of Emergency!, in addition to paramedics and a flight nurse saving his sister's life after she was involved in a car accident. Mantooth also advocates for the health and safety of firefighters and education them on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and secondary effects of low level CO poisoning. In association with Masimo Corporation, he speaks on carbon monoxide poisoning nationwide. Masimo Corporation funded a video, narrated by Mantooth, regarding carbon monoxide to educate firefighters.
He also serves as spokesperson for the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) on Health and Safety. He has been honored over the years with numerous awards and recognitions, most recently the James O. Page Award of Excellence from the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), EMS section. He is a lifetime member of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) and a lifetime member of the Washington DC-based Advocates for EMS. He "accepts the accolades with gracious deference to those he considers our true heroes". Mantooth serves as honorary chairman and spokesperson for the non-profit County of Los Angeles Fire Museum Association.
Mantooth's work as an advocate for firefighters and EMT also extended to the Native peoples. In May 2012, he filmed an Emergency Preparedness video to be distributed to tribal leaders with Monte Fronk in Minnesota at the Mille Lacs Ojibwe Reservation. The project was funded through a public health education grant through the University of Minnesota. Mantooth served as moderator recently in a project done in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Fire Museum, Pioneers of Paramedicine, and is an effort to document and record the history of the paramedicine program. Originally filmed in 2001, with additional scenes filmed in 2013, this features discussions with four doctors: Eugene Nagel, MD from Miami; Leonard Cobb, MD, Seattle; J. Michael Criley, MD, Los Angeles; and Walter Graf, MD, in Los Angeles. These doctors pioneered the idea of mobile medicine and paramedics based on early ideas in Northern Ireland and Russia.
Mantooth appeared in the mini-series adaptations of Testimony of Two Men (1977) and The Seekers (1979-80), the latter with a starring role as Abraham Kent, based on the John Jakes novel.
Through the 1980s, Mantooth made guest-star appearances on shows such as Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island, three appearances on The Fall Guy, Dallas, Murder, She Wrote, and L.A. Law.
He moved back to New York where he explored a new direction in his career with daytime soap operas, earning him four Soap Opera Digest Award nominations. He played Clay Alden in the soap opera, Loving from 1987 through 1990. It was during this time, that the character, Clay Alden, was actually Alex Masters. Mantooth described the character as a "good guy with an edge." Mantooth left for personal reasons in 1990, before returning to the show in 1993, this time in the role of Alex Masters. The show was later revamped and titled The City, lasting for two more years before folding in 1997. His character, Alex Masters, did several crossover episodes on One Life to Live in 1997. Mantooth appeared on General Hospital, One Life to Live, and As the World Turns, where he played both good guys and villains. In 2003, Mantooth joined the cast of As the World Turns as a temporary replacement for Benjamin Hendrickson in the role of Hal Munson. When Hendrickson left the show in 2004, Mantooth returned to show as Munson, in a recurring position until Hendrickson returned to the program in 2005. In 2007, Mantooth landed the recurring role of Kirk Harmon on One Life to Live.
Besides his work on daytime in the 1990s, Mantooth starred in television movies such as White Cobra Express and portrayed Bing Tupper in both the movie Before the Storm and the series Under Cover. He also starred in a CBS Schoolbreak Special as Mr. Leland in "Please, God, I'm Only Seventeen". In 1999, he played Solonsky in the feature film Enemy Action. Mantooth also made guest appearances in shows such as China Beach, MacGyver, Baywatch, Diagnosis Murder, JAG, Promised Land (TV series), and Walker, Texas Ranger during the 1990s.
In 2000 Mantooth played Ken Crandall in the television movie Bitter Suite (original title Time Share) and in 2007 he played Dutch Fallon in the television movie Fire Serpent. Feature film roles include Admiral Edwards in Agent Red (2000), Dr. Willis in He Was a Quiet Man (2007), Ambassador Cartwright in Scream of the Bikini (2009), Richard Cranehill in Bold Native (2010), and Detective Bodrogi in Killer Holiday (2013). Mantooth also starred in series such as ER, Criminal Minds, Ghost Whisperer, and most recently as Charlie Horse in Sons of Anarchy in 2011. Mantooth is marketing a screenplay that was written about Indian gambling, called The Bone Game.
Mantooth has frequently returned to his theatre roots in such productions as Arsenic and Old Lace (play) at the Alhambra Dinner Theatre in 1983, and The Man With The Dirty Mind with Don Knotts and Rue McClanahan. In 1984, Mantooth worked with David Carradine and Will Sampson, along with other Native actors, in a production of Black Elk Speaks for the American Indian Theatre Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mantooth continued to do theatre with roles in a variety of plays including Edith Villareal's Crazy from the Heart at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1986, and Mark Kaufman's Evil Little Thoughts at the Denver Center Theatre in 1991, Mantooth, along with James Van Der Beek performed Lanford Wilson's Rain Dance off-Broadway at the Signature Theatre. Mantooth has also performed in two works written by William S. Yellow Robe, Jr.: Wink-Dah and The Independence of Eddie Rose.
Mantooth performed with Donne Coteau in Footprints in Blood for the American Indian Theatre Company (AITCO) at the Old Lady of Brady Theatre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mantooth portrayed Dr. Charles Western in Gary Leon Hill's Back to the Blankets at the Denver Center Theatre in 1991. Mantooth performed in two additional plays: The Paper Crown, and The Inuit.
Mantooth is an Associate Artist of The Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea, Michigan, founded by Jeff Daniels, since 2003. Mantooth completed a three-month run of Tracy Letts' Superior Donuts in 2012 at the theater. Mantooth will perform in Carey Crim's Morning after Grace at the Purple Rose Theatre in Fall 2016.