Jerry attended Moorehead State University in Minnesota, planning to be an English teacher. However, he wound up in the theater department, where he says he "developed the seven-year undergraduate program." Actually, one of those years was spent in London, studying at Studio 68, an acting academy founded by Sean Connery and other British actors.
Soon after graduation, Jerry was cast in a New Jersey production of the play Black Elk Speaks. The show moved to Washington's Folger Theater, where he was spotted by a manager, who urged him to come to New York City. He did go eventually, but first, he returned home for a season of summer theater and married his college sweetheart, Beth, on June 4, 1977.
In 1977, he was invited to appear at Rutgers University as a guest artist in a production of Eric Bentley's play Are You Now or Have You Ever Been? After 11 weeks, the play moved, first to the off-Broadway Promenade Theater, and three months later, to Broadway.
Simultaneously, Jerry understudied George Grizzard in the lead role of Shaw's Man and Superman at Circle in the Square, and played matinee performances for three months. Guiding Light casting people saw him in the play, and he joined the show as Ross. In addition to his two Emmys, he has been nominated three other times.
In 1982, Jerry and his wife reorganized the Playhouse on the Mall in Paramus, New Jersey, where their company, Fourstar Productions, presented a season of plays. In November of the same year, Jerry appeared in the play The Star-Spangled Girl. He also played his Guiding Light character in the motion-picture-for-television The Cradle Will Fall on CBS.
The ver Dorns have two sons, Jacob and Peter. The blue-eyed actor was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, one of four children, but due to his father's job as a salesman, the family relocated often, living in various parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. His birthday is November 23.
Star Spangled Girl
Black Elk Speaks
in New Jersey, then at Washington's Folger Theater
Are You Know or Have You Ever Been?
at Rutgers University, then the Promenade Theater
Man and Superman
at Circle in the square