Teaching Students About Terry Kiser

Engaging students with the diverse world of performing arts is critical in fostering creativity, empathy, and cultural understanding. One way to do this is by focusing on actors with long, diverse careers such as Terry Kiser. This article aims to provide an insightful look into Terry Kiser’s career and how to teach students about his achievements and versatile acting experiences.

A Glimpse into Terry Kiser’s Life and Career

Terry Kiser was born on August 1, 1939, in Omaha, Nebraska. His passion for acting started at a young age. He then developed his craft by attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. As a professional actor, Kiser has appeared in over forty films, numerous television series, and countless theater productions.

Kiser is best known for his role as Bernie Lomax in the cult classic comedy “Weekend at Bernie’s” (1989) and its sequel “Weekend at Bernie’s II” (1993). However, that is just the tip of the iceberg when considering his long-lasting career. Kiser has worked in both dramatic and comedic productions in film, television, and theater contexts. Some other notable performances include roles in “Three’s Company,” “The Golden Girls,” “Night Court,” “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman,” and theatrical works such as “The Rainmaker.”

Teaching Strategies: Exploring Terry Kiser’s Multifaceted Career

1. Video Clips and Movie Sessions: To provide students with a clear understanding of Kiser’s acting abilities, show video clips or entire movies displaying his different roles. Examples include scenes from various television shows and films like “Weekend at Bernie’s,” “Mannequin: On the Move,” and stage performances such as “The Rainmaker.”

2. Discussions and Analysis: Following the movie sessions, host discussions about the clips and Terry Kiser’s portrayal of his characters. Encourage students to analyze not only his talent but also his versatility in seamlessly transitioning between roles in various genres. These discussions will create an opportunity for debate and sharing opinions on the actor’s performances.

3. Comparison with Contemporary Actors: To further illustrate Kiser’s impressive career, have students compare his work with that of contemporary actors. Comparisons can include how different artists approach different roles or their capacity to display a diverse range of abilities successfully.

4. Creative Writing Exercise: As a class or small group activity, ask students to write a short scene or monologue, envisioning Terry Kiser portraying a character of their choice in an unusual or unexpected situation. This exercise will encourage imagination, creativity, and understanding of Kiser’s acting style.

5. Inspiring Guest Speakers: Invite local actors or directors with personal experiences working alongside Terry Kiser to share their stories and insights about him and the acting profession. These in-person interactions will allow students to get firsthand accounts of Kiser’s work ethic and dedication to his craft.


Teaching students about Terry Kiser is not only an excellent way to expose them to a versatile actor but can also inspire them to pursue their passions in performing arts or other creative fields. Through various teaching strategies, including video clips, discussions, comparisons, creative writing exercises, and guest speakers, educators can help shaping students into well-rounded individuals ready to appreciate and celebrate the arts’ limitless potential.

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