Jerry Hardin was born in Dallas on November 20, 1929. His father was a rancher, and Jerry spent his youth actively involved with his local church and performing in school plays. He attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, on a scholarship before going on to study at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, earning a scholarship there through the Fulbright Program. He spent several years there before returning to the United States to begin acting in New York, performing in regional theatre for twelve years.
As well as being an actor, Hardin is also a sculptor. He states that he uses sculpting as a way to remain more or less sane.
Hardin began sculpting in an effort to give full-blown form to the etchings of Jacques Callot, a fifteenth-century artist who captured the bizarre actions of the actors of the Commedia Del Arte. To lift these wild human bodies off the page and have them stand on their own two feet hooked him.
Over the years, he has remained particularly interested in the human form, faces, and an occasional digression into animal forms.
Many artists have influenced his work, including Brancusi, Barlach, Lehmbruck. Bone is his medium of choice, having been carving it for over 35 years.