Seaman 1/c Herbert B. Remsen was a crew member on the destroyer USS Laffey during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II. On April 16, 1945, the USS Laffey was attacked by 22 Japanese kamikaze planes during an 80-minute period. Remsen suffered burns during the battle but was able to return to duty and survive what the US Navy called, "one of the great sea epics of war".
He also appeared in various television guest-starring roles, including the role of Jim Ford in the episode "Pete Henke" of the 1958 NBC western series, Jefferson Drum, starring Jeff Richards. He was a regular in the cast of the short-lived 1976 NBC dramatic television series Gibbsville, and appeared in Dallas as Harrison 'Dandy' Dandridge.
He played character roles in numerous films directed by Robert Altman, including Brewster McCloud (1970), McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Thieves Like Us (1974), California Split (1974), Nashville (1975), Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976) and A Wedding (1978).
Other film credits included Fuzz (1972), Baby Blue Marine (1976), Uncle Joe Shannon (1978), Fast Break (1979), Carny (1980), Borderline (1980), Inside Moves (1980), Second-Hand Hearts (1981), Lookin' to Get Out (1982), The Sting II (1983), Places in the Heart (1984), Code of Silence (1985), TerrorVision (1986), Eye of the Tiger (1986), Miss Firecracker (1989), Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat (1989), Daddy's Dyin': Who's Got the Will? (1990) and Only the Lonely (1991). His last film was the posthumously released The Sky is Falling (2000).