Bob Elkins is an American character actor who has appeared in movies, plays and television productions. He is sometimes credited as Robert Elkins.
Bob Elkins was born in 1932 in Mount Hope, West Virginia, the son of a struggling coal miner. At age four, he moved with his father, mother and two sisters to Muncie, Indiana, where his father took a job at a lawnmower company. At about that time, the elder Elkins inexplicably became withdrawn and stopped talking to his son. Bob Elkins now believes that the lack of communication with his father influenced his acting abilities, although he would not realize it for many years.
"I learned to listen to silence," he says. "I developed a sensitivity to understanding what people are thinking or feeling without hearing them speak."
When Elkins was 12, he and his family moved to Covington, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. Shortly thereafter, his father disappeared and was never heard from again. Devastated and confused, the younger Elkins rebelled by skipping school and dabbling in petty crime, including working as a collector for a bookie. He was later arrested after breaking into an office. Although no charges were filed, he received a stern lecture from the arresting police officer, and never committed another crime.