Robert Newman is perhaps best known for his 28-year run as Joshua Lewis on the longest running program in broadcasting history, Guiding Light. The role garnered him 2 Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
Born in Los Angeles on June 27, 1958, Robert grew up in the San Fernando Valley. One of 7 children, Robert attended Birmingham High School and then entered Cal State University Northridge to pursue a degree in psychology with an emphasis on family dynamics, having come from a large, somewhat dysfunctional family himself. Midway through his time there, he took an acting class as an elective and realized that acting and psychology are similar in that they both focus on human behavior. They both ask why we make the choices we make, often freely choosing the less healthy path even though we know there will be consequences. In the works of Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neill, William Shakespeare and Edward Albee, Robert found reflections of his own family and eventually changed his major and focus. Trained primarily in both Classics and Modern Classics, he took a BFA in Theatre in 1981. That summer, he went for the first time to The Barn Theatre in Augusta, MI to work as an apprentice and eventually earn his Equity card understudying Tom Wopat in the musical Carousel.
From the Barn, Robert went New York City on the advice of his agent for what was supposed to be 10 days to meet the New York office and maybe audition for a few things. Within just a few days, he was asked to audition for a role on a soap opera. Having never watched one, and having never even acted on camera, Robert auditioned, did a screen test the next day, and then the following day was offered a 3-year contract and a stipend to move to New York to play the role of Josh Lewis.
He had 6 days to go back to LA, where he had not been in 4 months, pack up his life and move.
A year later, Kim Zimmer was hired to play Reva Shayne and the “Supercouple” of Josh and Reva (or Jeva, as the fans call them) was born. He didn’t know it then, but over the next 27 years, Josh and Reva would become one of the top couples in Daytime history…married to and divorced from each other 3 times, married to others in between (Josh was married 9 times to 5 different women), Reva returning from the dead twice, a cloning, time travel, etc, etc, etc.
Robert left the show twice for two-year periods during his run on Guiding Light. The first time, in 1984, he moved back to LA to pursue nighttime work. At a Christmas Party in 1985, Robert met then Britt Helfer, an actress in independent films, through a mutual friend. 9 months later, on September 27, 1986, they were married. (And no…she was not pregnant, as Britt likes to say.) Robert was invited back to Guiding Light a short time later. He had missed his beloved New York City and so they made the move east. Britt quickly landed the role of Lily Slater on the ABC soap Loving, which she played for 2 years. Their first child, Connor, was born in NYC on April 3, 1989. A short time later, after 4 years back on GL, Robert again left the show and they moved back to LA. During those 2 years in LA, their daughter, Kendal, was born on May 13, 1992. Once again, GL asked Robert to return and the now family of 4 said goodbye to LA and made their way back East, where Britt and Robert raised their kids in Westchester County, NY. Robert stayed with the show until it was canceled in 2009. It’s estimated that Robert did around 3500 of the show’s 15,762 episodes in his 24 years under contract over a 28-year period. Since the end of GL, Robert has done many guest spots on primetime shows, worked on films big and small, appeared in several web series, done commercials and voice overs, and even made an appearance recently in his first video game as the drunken father, Mr. Gillis, in Red Dead Redemption II.
He has recently guest starred on House of Cards, Chicago Fire, Homeland, Criminal Minds, NCIS, and Law and Order: SVU. His film credits include Amazing Spider-Man 2, Dracano, and the short film Deadline, which earned him the Best Actor award at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival in 2015.
Robert has also served his fellow actors through his union work, spending seven years on both the National and Local boards of AFTRA and then four years on both boards in SAG-AFTRA, including a two-year stint as the very first National Vice President for Actors and Performers in the newly merged unions. He left union work a few years ago, but still engages when needed.
Robert’s great love is and always has been live theatre. He performs in plays and musicals (he is a vocalist as well) all over the country, often four or five productions a year, including off-Broadway work. Robert’s off-Broadway credits include Perfect Crime, She’s of a Certain Age, Sessions: The Musical, and Quiet on the Set.
His most recent regional credits include the title role in Sweeney Todd and MacMillian in Big: the Musical at the Barn Theatre; Warbucks in Annie at both Cape Fear Regional Theatre and Ogunquit Playhouse; Fred/Petruchio in Kiss Me Kate at Broadway Theatre of Pitman; Edna in Hairspray, Noises Off and The Civil War at The Barn Theatre; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at Theatre Workshop of Nantucket (With Kim Zimmer); The Lion In Winter (With Kim Zimmer) and Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame at The Barn Theatre; the world premiere of Naked Influence at Capitol Rep in Albany; Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together at Delaware Theatre Company; Other Desert Cities at Cape May Stage; Man of La Mancha and Gypsy (with Tovah Feldshuh) at Bristol Riverside Theatre; Love Letters, Fiddler on the Roof, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Deathtrap, Peter Pan, Shenandoah, and Man Of La Mancha at the Barn Theatre; Curtains at Paper Mill Playhouse and Theatre Under The Stars; Annie at North Carolina Theatre; Nine at North Shore Music Theatre; Gypsy (with Kim Zimmer), A Little Night Music and The Full Monty at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. Other stage credits include Picnic, Barefoot in the Park, Romantic Comedy, Sylvia (which he also directed), and The Glass Menagerie.
Robert and Britt now live in Stamford, CT, where Britt runs her own interior design business: Britt Newman Design Concepts (BNDC). When Robert is not working on stage or television, he works with Britt in her business, where she pays him for his services in “martinis and golf,” as he likes to describe it. They have been married for 34 years. Their daughter Kendal is the general manager of a Starbucks in town and their son Connor, who married Carolyn Dias from Providence RI in September of 2019, lives near Boston. Connor and Caroline are expecting their first child in mid-October 2020.
So… as of this writing, Robert is about to become a grandfather, and couldn’t feel more blessed. Blessed in work, in family and in friends. He never forgets how lucky he has been to have made and continue to make a living doing what he loves so much:
Making people laugh, weep, think, consider, smile, and maybe-just maybe-see the world in a different way through the many characters he has played and continues to play.
quote-leftThere is no guaranteed path to succeeding in this business. In fact, the odds are that you won’t succeed. There is no method… no path that you can look to in another successful working actor’s career that will work for you. You have to find your own path.
You will probably have one great turning point on your journey that could shift everything for you and start your career. Be ready for that moment. If you miss it and are not prepared, you may not get another.
Be kind to your everyone you work with. Not just fellow actors, but everyone. Don’t think for a minute that the actor is above anybody. Whether on a set or a stage, everyone around you has a job to do and most are very good at that job. Be good at yours.
Never. Stop. Learning. Seek out the roles that scare you the most. Take risks. Push yourself. Find the teacher or teachers that will help you grow. Every role I play teaches me something else about my strengths and weaknesses as an actor. If I think I know it all…well…I just don’t."
Theatrical Talent Agent
Commercial Talent Agent
Mr. Gillis (voice)
Admiral Wayne Hargrove / Navy Admiral Wayne Hargrove
Joshua Lewis / Josh Lewis / Josh Newman / ...
Dr. Alex Turner
Prescott Harrell (1985)
Self - Actor (segment "Guiding Light")
Self - Presenter
Self / Joshua Lewis
|Oliver Warbucks||"Annie"||Ogunquit Playhouse, ME|
|Sweeney Todd||"Sweeney Todd"||Barn Theatre, MI|
|MacMillian||"Big the Musical"||Barn Theatre, MI|
|Oliver Warbucks||"Annie"||Cape Fear Regional Theatre , NC|
|Fred/Petruchio||"Kiss Me Kate"||Broadway Theatre of Pitman, NJ|
|Edna||"Hairspray"||Barn Theatre, MI|
|Lloyd Dallas||"Noises Off"||Barn Theatre, MI|
|Union Captain||"The Civil War"||Barn Theatre, MI|
|George||"Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf"||Theatre Workshop of Nantucket|
|Henry||"The Lion in Winter"||Barn Theatre, MI|
|Frollo||"The Hunchback of Notre Dame"||Barn Theatre, MI|
|Quixote||"Man of La Mancha"||Bristol Riverside Theatre, PA|
|Dennis||"Naked Influence (WP)"||Capital Rep, Albany, NY|
|Herbie||"Gypsy" (Kim Zimmer)||Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, PA|
|Andrew Makepeace||"Love Letters"||Barn Theatre, MI|
|Man #1||"Putting it Together"||Delaware Theater, DE|
|Lyman Wyeth||"Other Desert Cities"||Cape May Stage, NJ|
|Tevye||"Fiddler on the Roof"||Barn Theatre, MI|
|Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd||"Best Little Whorehouse"||Barn Theatre, MI|
|Inspector Ascher||"Perfect Crime"||Snapple Theater Center, NYC|
|Sidney Bruhl||"Deathtrap"||Barn Theatre, MI|
|Capt. Hook||"Peter Pan"||Barn Theatre, MI|
|Herbie||"Gypsy" (Tovah Feldshuh)||Bristol Riverside Theatre, PA|
|Quixote||"Man of La Mancha"||Barn Theatre, MI|
|Lt. Frank Cioffi||"Curtains"||Paper Mill Playhouse, NJ|
|Lt. Frank Cioffi||"Curtains"||Theater Under The Stars, TX|
- Michael Howard, Michael Shurtleff, Margie Habor, Jack Wetherall
- American Conservatory Theatre San Fransisco, CA
- Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute , Los Angeles, CA
- California State University, Northridge . BA - Theatre Arts
VOICE:Marianne Challis, Jan Callner, Tad Motyka, Brad Garside
- Guiding Light: 1981-84; 86-90; 92-2009 (EMMY NOMINATION – LEAD ACTOR, 2002, 2006)
- Deadline: Winner, Best Actor, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, 2014
- Joseph Jefferson Award / Best Actor (1986)
* Kent Smith - ©2013 Showtime
** J. Michael Bloom Ltd. Agency Headshot