Heavyweight American actor Robert Middleton trained for a musical career at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Carnegie Tech. His deep, booming voice enabled Middleton to secure steady work as a radio actor and announcer. After appearing on Broadway in Ondine and in several live TV dramas, Middleton entered films in 1954. He was most effectively cast as burly, bullying villains, notably the sadistic prison escapee Dobish in The Desperate Hours (1955) and "grim and grisly Griswold" in Danny Kaye's The Court Jester (1956). That he could leaven his skullduggery with humor was proven in his many appearances on the Jackie Gleason shows of the mid-'50s as Ralph Kramden's boss, Mr. Marshall. Television continued to make good use of Middleton's talents into the 1960s; there was hardly a Western series in existence which didn't at least once feature the massive actor as a brutish mountain patriarch, smirking town boss, or grim-faced lynch mob leader. Shortly before his death in 1977, Robert Middleton was featured as inordinately sinister Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in the speculative feature The Lincoln Conspiracy (1977).