This week the Los Angeles Convention Center is host to Pop Con. Nuke the Fridge and Frank and Son Collectible Show are represented in full force at the show. During the course of the day, Nuke the Fridge had a chance to catch up and interview legendary television and film actor/producer Richard Anderson. Anderson is probably most familiar to audiences for portraying OSI Director of Operations Oscar Goldman on the “Six Million Dollar Man,” and “The Bionic Woman” television series.
Here’s what he discussed at the show:
After seeing Gary Cooper in a movie, Richard Anderson decided that he would like to try his hand at acting. Born in Long Branch, New Jersey, he came west with his family at the age of ten and settled in Los Angeles. After graduating from University High School and serving in the army in World War II he studied at the Actors’ Laboratory in Los Angeles, which later became the Actors Studio in New York. After a season of summer stock in Laguna Beach and Santa Barbara, he went into live television where he was spotted by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and screen tested. Ironically he chose for his screen test a scene from Gary Cooper’s “The Cowboy and the Lady. ” From the test he was signed as a contract player. He gained valuable film experience working with Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, William Holden, Clark Gable, and Walter Pidgeon. He made twenty-nine films over a six year period.
With the studio star system ending, he asked to be released from his contract in 1957 in order to appear in Stanley Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory” which has since become an anti-war film classic. “I have been lucky to be invited to work in well made motion pictures,” he says. “But there was also fun in making ‘Curse of the Faceless Man,’ a horror film now on the late night circuit.” Adding it up, he has made over 40 motion pictures including — “The Long Hot Summer” and “Compulsion” at the same time getting a taste of the “golden age of television” appearing in “Playhouse 90″ with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in Irwin Shaw’s “The Eighty Yard Run. ” He moved on to co-star in five different network television series creating his most popular character in 1973 as Oscar Goldman, OSI Washington boss of the “Six Million Dollar Man.” Out of it came “The Bionic Woman.” Anderson became the first actor ever to portray the same character in two different television series running concurrently on two different networks (ABC-NBC). He was nominated for an Emmy in the 1976-1977 season.
From 1988 until 1994, Richard helped Universal Studios, CBS and NBC to make three highly rated two-hour specials, “The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman,” “Bionic Showdown” (which introduced Sandra Bullock,) and “Bionic Ever After.”
Furthermore, Mr. Anderson related stories involving actors Walter Huston, John Huston, Angelica Huston, Debbie Reynolds, MGM producer Dory Sherry, James Harris, Stanley Kubrick, Mickey Rooney, Sir Laurence Olivier, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Betsy Drake, and Jonathan Winters. Nuke the Fridge asked him if he had written a book about his life and times in Hollywood, and Mr. Anderson mentioned that there is one in the works.
Nuke the Fridge’s own Louis Love continued the interview by asking Mr. Anderson about the Bigfoot episodes on the “Six Million Dollar Man.” Richard replied that those shows earned the highest ratings for the series, and it is one focal point of the show that most fans want to discuss.
It was a real treat to sit down with Richard. He is a warm and kind person who loves to travel. Conventions are one of his favorite destinations. If you have a chance to meet him at a show, don’t hesitate to chat him up. He enjoys meeting and greeting fans.
For more information about Richard Anderson, check out his website at www.bionik.com.
Sources: Richard Anderson, www.bionik.com