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Richard Anderson interview and win a copy of The Six Million Dollar Man the Complete Collection

Interview

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#1 of 207 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted November 15 2010 - 05:23 PM

Enter to win a copy of the Six Million Dollar Man on DVD by posting in this thread.  Full details can be found in our current contest wiki.


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I had the chance to speak with Richard Anderson recently about his time on The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman and his time in Hollywood.  I recorded the first part and took notes for the second half which I will be posting later this week.  The recording was fairly faint, so I may be making minor edits to these answers.  Mr. Anderson was a delight to talk to and had many great stories and memories.


Part One:

What made you interested in the role of Oscar Goldman?

It was more than just a script.  We were in a war at that time and Paul Newman (who I had worked with previously) was in some dark movies during that period.  What I saw in this show was the hero was coming back---that was number 1. For number 2, happy endings.  And number 3, the medical message.  And those 3 things, I said, this is gonna change the whole country.  And it did!  That’s exactly what happened.  Everybody had a hero to look at.   Bond was about the same time and that changed everything.  My thought about it, and I noticed this as we went on, Time magazine-- they took it and said “it’s a kid show”. 


What was it like working on both The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman at the same time?

We were on Friday nights and someone was killing us with a half hour of TV, a comedy.  So they moved us to Sunday night and it just went through the roof, it was fantastic and everyone loved it!  So for the next season, they decided to add a woman in the show since there were just two guys so they brought Lindsay Wagner in, she’d just been released from Universal.   ABC said ”that’s the one” and she went on to do an absolutely wonderful job, parachuted to her death and they said “bring her back”.  I thought she was marvelous!  That’s what the network would do, if something worked, they’d try to do more.  They moved me onto the Bionic Woman because they wanted to bring the audience. 


How did you get involved with the series TSMDM in the first place?

I got a call from my agent one day saying that the network was interested in putting me in a series called The Six Million Dollar Man.  I said $6 million, you bet, that sounds good!  I stayed up all night looking at stuff, I had to work the next day and I ended up putting on dark glasses because I hadn’t slept.  I did a scene with Lee Majors when he was in the hospital and the next day I got a call because we were shooting some other scenes and they said “the network saw you and you’re absolutely great for the part.”  I was delighted to hear it, but I didn’t get much sleep for the next 5 years.


It seemed like the Oscar Goldman on The Bionic Woman was a little “softer” character than he was on The Six Million Dollar Man…

The first day I worked with Lindsay I knew we were in for something very different.  She had a different sense of humor about her and the way she paused.  I said we have an actress here and a beautiful lady.  And then I had to figure out how to talk to her and I had to work with Lee a certain way and I had to change my whole attitude when talking to her.  With Majors it was “I don’t want to do this anymore” and I had to set him down and get him going we had a good relationship because I realized how difficult it was for him and I got on personally very well with him.  My relationship with both of them was always one of respect and we also had a lot of fun.  We were once shooting at Indian Wells North of town where we used to do a lot of our stunt work and I got there on a late call.  There I saw Lee standing on a platform and above him a helicopter was coming in for a landing with a cable hanging down with a piece of triangular metal.  Just as I get there, he looks at me and grins puts his hands on the triangle metal piece and the helicopter takes off.  I’m standing there feeling like Oscar Goldman, it comes back lands on the platform and I said are you crazy?  What are you trying to do?  Close us down?  He did it.  He did close to 70% of his own stunts, it was just crazy.  We had fun with it too.  We had a prop master who had been doing it for years, some of the things he didn’t quite get….it became kind of a joke we figured he was going to blow us all up one day.


What was your role in getting the Six Million Dollar reunion movies made?

My role was simply this:  We were invited by Princess Margaret to come to London for blind children, and afterwards we went to Paris for a couple of days.  We went on a river cruise and each night we would stop and Lee went for a run and I went to ride a bike and as I was coming down a hill I said “hey, Steve” and (we do this all the time) he said “What is it Oscar, what do you want now?”   “We gotta do one more mission”  “No we’re not gonna do that, I just bought a sailboat”   --- he comes up with this, you know.  I said “It’s time”, so I went to the head of the studio, I had a very good reputation with them…I was always on time.  I once asked Spencer Tracy when I was under studio contract with MGM when I made 24 movies there “how do you do it” and he said simply “don’t bump into the furniture and learn the lyrics.”  They really respected what I was doing.  All I ever ordered from the commissary was grapefruit juice to keep me going every day.  They offered me a trip around the world, no one else does it but Alfred Hitchcock, it’s called the Hitchcock trip.  They let me go around the world and I had their respect.   So I went upstairs and said “I think we ought to do a 2-hour movie” and we got the first movie done, big hit, so the studio said “we’ll do another one right away” and on the 3rd one we moved over to CBS and after that, producing them all, I realized how tough it is.  Producing, that’s not easy---in most cases it’s money, and we had money, although at some points we needed extra money to pay the actors (us!) and at one point the studio didn’t want to do it but I went to the network and they put up the extra cash.  So that’s how we got it done.  Lindsay had a job somewhere else, the network found out where she had to go (Australia) and they found another woman to play that part. It was an extraordinary experience for me because I didn’t realize how much producers had to do, how much effort and time it took to get everything together.  And they were all really successful and Lindsay said “There is only one thing you have to do” and I said “What’s that?” and she said “you got to get them married”, so I did.



#2 of 207 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted November 15 2010 - 05:23 PM

Reserved for part 2 of the Richard Anderson interview: more on The Six Million Dollar Man and his time in Hollywood.



#3 of 207 OFFLINE   James_Garner

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Posted November 15 2010 - 07:46 PM

I'm in for the contest :)



#4 of 207 OFFLINE   Duane Alford

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Posted November 15 2010 - 07:49 PM

Same here



#5 of 207 OFFLINE   Ron_B

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Posted November 16 2010 - 12:11 AM

Me as well! :)



#6 of 207 OFFLINE   Saunders

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Posted November 16 2010 - 12:25 AM

I want it!



#7 of 207 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted November 16 2010 - 12:38 AM

I still have my Oscar action figure!  I won't let him hang on to a plastic toy helicopter and fly around the room like I'd do a 6MDM action figure!  :D

I hope I win this set.

Silly Party Candidate: Tarquin Fin- tim- lim- bim- whin- bim- lim- bus- stop- F'tang- F'tang- Olè- Biscuitbarrel

#8 of 207 OFFLINE   AndyMcKinney

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Posted November 16 2010 - 12:38 AM

Sign me up for the contest, too!



#9 of 207 OFFLINE   Greg Chenoweth

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Posted November 16 2010 - 12:41 AM

Please enter my name in the contest.



#10 of 207 OFFLINE   cajunhillbilly

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Posted November 16 2010 - 01:12 AM

Please enter my name in the contest.  Willard Onellion aka cajunhillbilly.  Thanks



#11 of 207 OFFLINE   Gary Seven

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Posted November 16 2010 - 01:53 AM

Please add me to the entries.  Thanks :)



#12 of 207 OFFLINE   Scamp

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Posted November 16 2010 - 02:29 AM

Count me in, too!



#13 of 207 OFFLINE   smithb

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Posted November 16 2010 - 02:36 AM

This is my best chance of getting this set anytime soon, so sign me up. Thanks.



#14 of 207 OFFLINE   TV_Fan

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Posted November 16 2010 - 02:49 AM

Count me in please Posted Image 



#15 of 207 OFFLINE   AppleSpider

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Posted November 16 2010 - 03:11 AM

Please enter me into the contest, too!! Thanks.



#16 of 207 OFFLINE   Hasslein

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Posted November 16 2010 - 03:14 AM

I'm in.



#17 of 207 OFFLINE   Doug^Ch

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Posted November 16 2010 - 03:40 AM

I've bought All of the other TimeLife sets, but I've never seen this show, and I can't really justify $200+ for a blind buy, but if I win itPosted Image



#18 of 207 OFFLINE   Terry Hickey

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Posted November 16 2010 - 03:45 AM

Count me in.


 

#19 of 207 OFFLINE   JohnMor

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Posted November 16 2010 - 04:14 AM

Please enter me, too!  Thanks! This would be awesome!



#20 of 207 OFFLINE   Karl Pozorski

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Posted November 16 2010 - 04:21 AM

Sign me up.