“I was fortunate to discover the world through the words of Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, and to discover in myself a love for the theater that has shaped my life.” Ken Jenkins
A television staple since the mid-1980s, actor Ken Jenkins portrays Dr. Bob Kelso on the popular NBC series “Scrubs” (2001-present). Prior to the role, the character actor played the regular role of Mike Sloan on the short lived series “Homefront” (1991-1993) and had recurring roles in such series as “Wiseguy” (1988-1990), “Beverly Hills, 90210” (1999-2000) and “Family Law” (2000). He has also acted in countless TV films, most notably HBO's “And the Band Played On” (1993), and guest starred in numerous TV shows, including “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Cybill,” “Chicago Hope,” “NYPD Blue” and “Murphy Brown.” His big screen credits include John Sayles' “Matewan” (1987), James Cameron's “The Abyss” (1989), Mike Binder's “Crossing the Bridge” (1992), Walter Hill's “Last Man Standing” (1996), “Courage Under Fire” (1996), “Executive Decision” (1996), Gus Van Sant's “Psycho” (1998), “Gone in 60 Seconds” (2000), the Sean Penn starring vehicle “I Am Sam” (2001), “The Sum of All Fears” (2002) and “Welcome to Paradise” (2007).
A veteran of American theater, Jenkins helped start the prominent Actor's Theatre of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1960s. In addition to serving as the Associate Artistic Director, he also collaborated with the theater as an actor, director and writer. Jenkins' Broadway credits include his debut, “The Moon Besieged” (1962), the musical “Big River” (1985) and Tennessee Williams' “Summer and Smoke” (1996).
Outside the limelight, Jenkins is a passionate woodworker and an accomplished dog trainer. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Katharine Houghton. He is the father of three sons, Joshua, Daniel and Matthew.
Childhood and Family:
Ken Jenkins was born on August 28, 1940, in Dayton, Ohio. After graduating high school, he attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he majored in the liberal arts. After completing his degree, Ken moved to Louisville and stayed there until the mid 1980s, when he headed to Los Angeles.
On January 1, 1970, Ken married actress Katharine Houghton (born on March 10, 1945), the niece of four time Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn (born in 1907, died in 2003). The couple has three sons, Daniel, Joshua and Matthew.
Ken Jenkins began his acting career performing in high school theater productions. Throughout college, he honed in on his craft by joining numerous regional companies and performing in Broadway plays. In this capacity, Jenkins was exposed to the works of such big names as Tennessee Williams, Shakespeare, Arthur Miller and George Bernard Shaw, whom he credits as shaping his life.
After moving to Louisville, where he became part of a community of young actors and playwrights, Jenkins established the elite Actor's Theatre of Louisville with John Jory in 1964. He served as their Associate Artistic Director for three years and also worked as a director, writer and actor until 1983.
Jenkins headed to Los Angeles in the mid 1980s. Once in L.A, he continued his stage career while also taking small roles on television. His first major screen debut arrived in 1987 when John Sayles cast him in a supporting role of Sephus Purcell in the critically acclaimed “Matewan,” which starred Chris Cooper and James Earl Jones. He then appeared in such films as “The Wizard of Loneliness” (1998), James Cameron's “The Abyss” (1989, starred Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and the Bruce Willis “In Country” (1989), which was directed by Norman Jewison.
The 5' 7½” performer began landing a series of TV guest spots in the late 1980s. He played the recurring role of Paul Beckstead on the CBS series “Wiseguy” from 1988 to 1990 and from 1988 to 1989, appeared in episodes of “Newhart,” “Knots Landing” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” to name a few. He also acted in several TV movies, including ABC's “Disaster at Silo 7” (1988), CBS' “The Outside Woman” (1989) and TNT's “Breaking Point” (1989).
Jenkins became even busier during the 1990s when he appeared in the CBS films “Dark Avenger” and “Shattered Dreams” and HBO's “Descending Angel.” The same year, he also supported Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. in the action comedy “Air America.” From 1991 to 1993, Jenkins played the reoccurring role of Mike Sloan, a racist factory owner coping with the death of his soldier son, on the ABC critically praised, but short lived series “Homefront.” While working on the show, he also received supporting roles in the movies “Edge of Honor” (1991) and Mike Binder's “Crossing the Bridge” (1992) and acted in such TV movies as the NBC true crime films “In Broad Daylight” and “Love, Lies and Murder” (both 1991). He then appeared in the fact based HBO presentation “A Private Matter” and the CBS drama “A House of Secrets and Lies” (both 1992).
The following years saw Jenkins appear in such TV films as the HBO acclaimed AIDS themed drama “And the Band Played On” (1993, as Dr. Dennis Donohue), “In the Best of Families: Marriage, Pride and Madness,” “The First Gentleman,” “A Time to Heal” (all 1994), the Showtime original TV movie presentation “Hiroshima” (1995), “Thirst” (1998) and the fact based “Mutiny” (1999). He also appeared in big screen movies, such as Walter Hill's “Last Man Standing” (1996, again with Bruce Willis), the 1996 popular drama “Executive Decision,” opposite Kurt Russell, Steven Seagal and Halle Berry, and “Courage Under Fire,” which starred Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan. He was next seen in the drama “Last Dance” (1996), the action comedy “Fled” (1996), the remake of “Psycho” (1998, as the district attorney) and the action thriller “The Last Marshal” (1999, played a judge). He also made guest appearances in numerous TV series, including “Cybill,” “Chicago Hope” (both 1995), “NYPD Blue,” “Murphy Brown” (both 1997) and “Pensacola: Wings of Gold” (1999).
After playing recurring roles in “Beverly Hills, 90210” (1999-2000, as Pastor Neal) and “Family Law” (2000, as Judge William Jankowski), the veteran actor enjoyed the television spotlight with his regular role of Dr. Bob Kelso on the NBC hit medical comedy “Scrubs” (2001 - present), alongside Zach Braff as Dr. John 'J.D.' Dorian, Sarah Chalke as Dr. Elliot Reid and Donald Faison as Dr. Christopher Turk. His recent film credits include “Gone in 60 Seconds” (2000, with Nicolas Cage, Giovanni Ribisi and Angelina Jolie), Nora Ephron's “Lucky Numbers” (2000, starred John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow), “The Tailor of Panama” (2001), “I Am Sam” (2001, starred Sean Penn), Jonathan Frakes' “Clockstoppers” (2002) and “The Sum of All Fears” (2002, opposite Morgan Freeman, Ben Affleck and James Cromwell). In 2007, he could be seen portraying Sheriff Bernie in the short film “I-Nasty” and Reverend McNamara in the family feature “Welcome to Paradise,” which was directed by Brent Huff.