- Began acting in neighborhood theater in Albany during his high-school years.
- Gained attention in the 1967 Off-Broadway play MacBird, playing a character inspired by Robert Kennedy.
- Received Emmy nomination for portraying John F. Kennedy in 1974's The Missiles of October; also played Jacqueline Kennedy's father, "Black Jack" Bouvier, in 1991 TV-movie A Woman Named Jackie.
- Claimed identification with JFK role cost him parts in the films The Deer Hunter (1978) and Apocalypse Now (1979).
- Starred in Alfred Hitchcock's final film, Family Plot (1976).
- Joined Knots Landing in its fifth year and stayed for the remaining 10 seasons.
- Has a polo facility on his 140-acre ranch.
- Owns the California restaurant Devane's along with his son.
- 1987, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama: Nominee
- 1976, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama or Comedy Special: Nominee
- 1975, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Special Program: Nominee
- Josh Devane — Son
- Jake Devane — Son
- Eugenie McCabe Devane — Wife
- Kate Devane — Mother
- Joseph Devane — Father
- American Academy of Dramatic Art, New York, New York, United States (1961)