Born in Washington, D.C. his childhood included two years in Salonica, Greece (where he learned to speak Greek fluently) and two years as a college student in Munich, Germany. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 1967 with a minor in German and a major in Speech/Television Production. Tucker began directing television for WBAL in Baltimore and in late spring of 1967, was drafted into the Army.
Following his training and commissioning as an Infantry Officer, and six more months as an Infantry Tac Officer at Ft. Benning, he attended Jump School, Special Warfare School at Ft. Bragg and Vietnamese Language School at Ft. Bliss. He then commanded a 5-man Advisory Team (MAT-36) to Vietnamese Regional Force troops in the Mekong Delta. Following months of hospitalization, surgeries and recovery, he extended his Army commitment for three more months to teach patrolling and counter-insurgency tactics to Engineer Officer Candidates at Ft. Belvoir, in Virginia. (The mission of Army Engineers is to fight as Infantry, when needed.)
In September of 1970, Tucker resigned his commission and moved to New York to study acting. He began at the Neighborhood Playhouse (thanks to the G.I. Bill) under the tutelage of Sanford Meisner. Sixteen months later, having been cast as a continuing character in the NBC soap opera Somerset, he was asked to leave the Playhouse, for students were not allowed to work professionally. In the mid-70’s, he resumed his studies with Stella Adler and worked on soaps, children’s TV (Jabberwocky) and public affairs programming. He was the Emmy-nominated host of CBS’s news magazine, CHANNEL 2: The People, in 1974.
He also developed an enduring relationship with Joseph Papp’s Public Theater, creating characters in six productions over the next eight years, along other roles on Broadway and in regional theater productions. Additionally, he filmed more than 100 television commercials and PSA’s during that decade. During the ‘80’s, he appeared in several feature films, such as The Cotton Club and Presumed Innocent, did yet more theater and was the spokesman for more than 1000 television and radio commercials.
In 1991, he moved to Los Angeles and began his work in prime time television. After several years of guest-starring roles on dramas and sit-coms, he chanced into the universe of science fiction and enjoyed considerable success on such series as SPACE: Above and Beyond, The X-Files and Babylon 5, as well as in the films CONTACT and DEEP IMPACT. Theatrically, he performed in several productions for the Mark Taper, Cast Theater and Odyssey Theater. The 1993 Stages Theater Center production of “Don’t Blame the Bedouins” (with Grace Zabriskie) was historic: the very first appearance of American actors on-stage in Romania.
In this new millennium, he has continued to create an eclectic body of work, both in drama and comedy, including a physically challenging season as the Xindi Primate Diplomat on Star Trek: Enterprise. His most cherished experiences in recent years have been film projects for emerging artists (independent films), allowing him to explore characters rarely available to him on big budget studio productions. He generated some recent controversy as GOD on The Sarah Silverman Program.
In late summer of 2006, following his return to Vietnam at Christmas of 2004, he published an anthology of essays entitled RETURN TO EDEN. It is available both in soft cover and as an audio book MP3. Each continues to garner praise from both veteran and civilian readers. More information is available at: Lulu.com/tuckersmallwood
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