Name a soap opera and invariably character actor Nicholas Pryor has appeared on it. Playing the quirky professor Victor Collins on the daytime drama Port Charles (1997), the tall, rangy, silver-haired player was born Nicholas David Probst and is a native of Baltimore, with early training received from his many productions with the local Drummond Players.
Pryor made his TV debut on the New York-based soap drama "The Brighter Day" in 1958, while studying at Yale University. Around the same time he earned some roles on the Broadway stage with "The Egghead" (1957), "Love Me a Little" (1958), "Howie" (1958) and "The Highest Tree" (1959).
He became a sturdy, familiar face on 1960s and 1970s TV soap dramas with Young Dr. Malone (1958) as Ernest Cooper; Another World (1964) as Tom Baxter; The Secret Storm (1954) as Johnny Ellis; The Nurses (1965) as Ken Alexander; All My Children (1970) as Lincoln Tyler and The Edge of Night (1956) as Joel Gantry. In the evening he appeared in several anthology series such as "Kraft Theatre," "Armstrong Circle Theatre," "Dupont Show of the Month" and "Startime." He also graced a number of popular TV shows including "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Coronet Blue."
It wasn't until his mid-career that Nicholas started checking out films. He began as the starring protagonist undergoing a mid-life crisis in the little seen film The Way We Live Now (1970). From there he served as a support actor with parts in such films as Man on a Swing (1974) and The Happy Hooker (1975). One of his best roles came as Barbara Feldon's hapless husband in the cult film Smile (1975). His parts have varied but he did play a number of father figure parts. He played Tom Cruise's dad in Risky Business (1983) and Robert Downey Jr.'s in Less Than Zero (1987). Nicholas also returned to Broadway in the early 1970's with replacement roles in both "That Championship Season" and "Thieves."
From the 1980's on, Nicholas' movie output has been sporadic, appearing as professional or authoritarians (doctors, ministers, judges, attorneys, politicians) in such offerings as Airplane! (1980), The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), Pacific Heights (1990), Hoffa (1992), Sliver (1993), Hail Caesar (1994), The Chamber (1996), Molly (1999).
Television, however, has been a strong medium of choice with hundreds of appearances on such shows as "Trapper John," "Simon & Simon," "Little House on the Prairie," "Silver Spoons," "Crazy Like a Fox," "Hill Street Blues," "Dallas," "Dynasty," "The Colbys," "St. Elsewhere," "Falcon Crest," "Moonlighting," "Who's the Boss," "227," "Growing Pains," "Murder, She Wrote," "L.A. Law," "Matlock," "Picket Fences," "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," "Diagnosis Murder." He also had a regular role on The Bronx Zoo (1987) and recurring ones on Eight Is Enough (1977), Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990) and Party of Five (1994). He graced such acclaimed mini-series as The Adams Chronicles (1976), Washington: Behind Closed Doors (1977) and East of Eden (1981).
He continues a steady pace into the millennium, particularly on TV, with parts on the popular shows "American Tragedy," "That's Life," "Gideon's Crossing," "The West Wing," "NYPD Blue," "Nashville" and "The Outsider." Feature film work includes the Arnold Schwarzenegger action thriller Collateral Damage (2002); the supernatural thriller The List (2007); the dramedy A Short History of Decay (2014); the mystery thriller Buster's Mal Heart (2016) starring Rami Malek and the horror fantasy Doctor Sleep (2019).
Married four times, he is married to actress Christine Belford, a prominent TV actress.