Actor Jere Burns is perhaps best known to somewhat younger audiences for his role as Wynn Duffy in the Western crime drama “Justified”. He performed a fantastic job as the vicious, cold-blooded Duffy, a middleman in the Dixie Mafia.
However, Burns has been a part of the entertainment business since 1970. If you watched sitcoms in the 1980s, you definitely recall him as the sleazy Kirk Morris in the tv show Dear John.
The actor, who was born in Massachusetts, is still going strong today. In fact, he recently made a statement on something that has been confusing his fans for years.
Jere Burns was born in 1954 in Cambridge, Massachusetts; his first name is pronounced Jerry. Jere grew up with no obvious link to acting since his father worked in the clothing industry and his mother was a stay-at-home housewife.
Instead, he engaged in a wide variety of athletic pursuits and saw himself as an athlete. Before he began attending an elite secondary school in Cambridge, he had absolutely no interest in acting or the performing arts. There, he was presented with an opportunity that would have a huge impact on his life.
“There was this wonderful little drama program that we participated in. And I really enjoyed it. I loved the focus that was placed on me, the responses that were given, the company of the girls, and the whole experience. But I had also been an athlete, so there was a little tension there,” Jere remarked when he was questioned on the Chat Show that was hosted by Kevin Pollak.
Following his graduation from high school, Jere continued his education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he majored in English. He lacked the courage to pursue a career in acting or theatre, in part because he couldn’t envision himself earning a good income from it. Additionally, he believed that he didn’t grow up with any entertainment-based role models to look up to.
“If you’re from Boston, Massachusetts, you know that everyone there is a successful doctor, lawyer, businessman, or anything else. I didn’t know anybody who had ever worked in the entertainment industry.”
But towards the end of his time in college, Jere came to the conclusion that he just couldn’t give up on his dream of becoming an actor.
By 1970, he had already made an appearance on The Psychiatrist, a drama series that was broadcast on NBC, and had participated in one of the show’s episodes. He spent his last years at the University of Massachusetts taking acting classes and “muzzled” his way into a number of well-known roles.
Jere was lucky that he would soon be able to learn from two great actors. He had the chance to understudy for John Malkovich and Gary Sinise in 1982. Jere worked closely with Gary and John and observed them onstage every night when they were acting in the Steppenwolf production of Sam Shepard’s True West at the time.
Jere couldn’t have asked for a finer set of teachers, as you can obviously guess. He undoubtedly benefited from seeing two actors who went on to become some very well-known actors in the nation.
It would take Jere six years to finally win the TV part that many saw as his big break. Jere became well-known on the streets after portraying the sleazy Kirk Morris in the comedy Dear John. The man himself described the program as “a great learning platform.”
His character was a brazen, self-styled ladies’ man; in modern times, many people certainly refer to Kirk Morris as a “jerk” or a “creep.” But Jere enjoyed playing him on the NBC program that ran from 1988 to 1992.
“I don’t think of Kirk as a loser, a jerk, or annoying. I approach Kirk as a vulnerable person because everything he says and does is kind of the contrary of that,” he said during an interview in 1990.
Jere went on to feature in a large number of other TV shows and motion pictures after Dear John was cancelled in 1992. On the critically acclaimed television show Breaking Bad, he played a rehab counselor for the twelve-step program that Jesse Pinkman attended. His portrayal on the show was praised by a great number of viewers.
Jere’s acting abilities were brought to the attention of a younger audience owing, in no little part, to the character he played in this series, which is widely regarded as one of AMC’s most commercially successful shows of all time.
In his lifetime, Jere has been married three times. Early in the 1980s, Jere married Melissa Keeler, a real estate broker, while attempting to break into the industry. The couple welcomed three children into the world: Gillian, Jake, and Luke.
His first marriage, however, was destined to end in divorce. In 1996, Jere and Melissa got divorced.
The actor and Kathleen Kinmont later got married in 1997. The Los Angeles-born actress has worked as a writer and director in addition to being most recognized for her roles in horror movies. Kathleen was previously married to renowned actor Lorenzo Lamas before she met Jere.
The couple split up in 1999 without having any children.
In 2008, Jere rediscovered love and wed an actress named Leslie Cohen who was from from Detroit, Michigan. She had a few TV roles, although she wasn’t as well known as her husband. Despite having one kid together, the couple chose to divorce in 2018.
Supposedly, Jere loves extreme skiing, wakeboarding, and surfing; maybe this is how he spends his money. In any scenario, according to Celebrity Net Worth, the beloved actor’s performing career has contributed to a net worth of about $5 million.
Jere is most known for his acting, but in contrast to many of his on-screen characters, he also appears to be a good person in overall.
Off-screen, Jere seems to have a rather quiet life. He sometimes participates in interviews, although he generally maintains a low profile.
He has Twitter and Facebook accounts, but he hasn’t updated either platform since 2016. Prior to 2022, he often used his social media profiles to promote his new series, but he no longer does so.
He’s keeping himself busy at work instead. As previously reported, he recently appeared as “Arnold Baines” in an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles.
Jere Burns is an actor we’ve always admired; I believe he’s underestimated and has played some excellent roles over the years.
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