Saturday, 22 August 2015

Richard Dean Anderson

Richard Dean Anderson  Born 23 January 1950  Actor  Producer  Composer

Seems timely to write this now, what with the 30th anniversary of MacGyver this year.  Can't believe it's been that long! As they say can't get too much of a good thing!!

Richard, also known as Rick, RDA was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Growing up in Roseville, Minnesota, he attended Alexander Ramsey High School.  His parents: Stuart Jay Anderson, a jazz musician, school teacher and Jocelyn Rhae Carter, who was an artist/sculptor.  So you can see where he gets his creativity from.  It's in the genes!  He is the eldest of four brothers, Jeffrey, Thomas, James.  He is of Scottish, Norwegian, Swedish and Mohawk descent.  The Swedish/Norwegian part is obvious cos of his name, Anderson.

Richard studied acting at Clouds State University, Minnesota and Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. But he left before receiving his degree, feeling tired of it.  When he was 17 he embarked on a bike trip with friends to Alaska (as he recently mentioned at London Film and Comiccon in July 2015.  His ambition was to become a professional hockey player which ended sadly when he broke both his arms.  He has metal pins in them.  Which was a bit timely for us otherwise we'd never have known him.  Not everyone is into sports/hockey!  Maybe that sounds horrible but it isn't meant to be! Far from it!  But it must've been havoc on him when playing such an energetic role as MacGyver.

His interests include music, art and acting which gripped him at an early age and he also had ambitions to become a jazz musician.  It was apparent in his brief stint of playing guitar in MacGyver.  In the season 3 episode The Negotiator.  Quite simply beautiful, would've liked to have seen/heard more.  Especially since he also wrote the piece, entitled Eau d'leo.  As well as singing that song Dinah.  Would like to see his artwork though, out of curiosity and interest! In 1985 he was voted Sexiest Survivalist by People Magazine.

Rick moved to North California and then to Hollywood and had jobs as diverse as a street mime and juggler, mammal handler in a marine show, which would explain his love of nature and animals as well as a musician in a medieval dinner theatre production.  Sold shoes, forklifts, curtains.  Such a varied repertoire, at least he got his hands dirty, so to speak, but dived in and had a go at everything, most people and let's face it, certain actors wouldn't give  a second thought to!  He would have liked to have taught his skills, such as juggling and other circus pursuits to disadvantaged youth.

His first role was as Dr Jeffrey Webber in US soap General Hospital.  Most actors going down the route of starting out in such soaps.  Good publicity and giving the grounding in working such long hours in some prolific productions.  Which would've been ample training for MacGyver since that was gruelling.  It's tough being a lead on such a hit show, cos it's constant screen time.  Even when there are co-stars/guests, he had the responsibility and burden of carrying the show on his shoulders!! No mean feat!  No wonder he is so widely loved around the world  But also cos he is a genuine good guy and caring and compassionate person.

Other roles included Adam in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  He would've been great in the musical!  He also starred in the CBS series Emerald Point NAS, the Dennis 'McCloud' Weaver show where he played Lt Simon Adams.  Seems like playing military men was in his blood too.  As he also played one in the hit movie Ordinary Heroes about an ordinary man drafted to fight in the Vietnam war.  In later years, he was considered for the roles of Jeremy Sisko in Star Trek Deep Space Nine, John McClane in Die Hard, Sonny Crockett in Miami Vice, oh that would've been one to see!! He had the hair for it and the looks!!

The role as we all know which propelled him onto our radar and a household name around the world was  MacGyver.  The ABC hit (which doesn't seem the right word to use, cos it was far more than that!)  A secret agent who was much more than that.  Inventor extraordinaire, ladies man and all round good guy with an enormous heart.  Pretty much Rick himself!! Always there for his friends and strangers alike! Yeah my kinda man, I mean brains, intelligence and looks, who else could think on the spot and sometimes not even on his feet (!) and come up with so many creations!!  Not one!! ha. Also his first name was highly secretive and Angus wasn't revealed until sometime later.  I know it states in season seven, but I'm sure it was mentioned before that.  Will have to check that out!

There's not much happening for the 30th anniversary of MacGyver since the show aired on 29th September 1985 and ran for seven successful seasons!! Yeah seven being one of those influential numbers!  Didn't even realize this big 30 until recently otherwise I'd have written plenty on the show and Rick, maybe I can still get that done!!??!! But more cos of the charismatic lead. Well credit where credit is due.  Also Henry 'the Fonz' Winkler was executive producer.

Rick did make for a sexy hero, but he was is in real life too!! Or should I say on screen!  That hair and that jacket!! Wonder if he got to keep the tan coloured jacket from the show, looked good on him, but then anything looked good on him!  He really had a dress dense very stylish on and off screen!! Especially those collarless shirts and the colourful patterned ones too!! Yeah, he carried off that look where none could!  Also later riding a bike on the show, demonstrating his love of motorbikes.

I still say that Ziva's "18 ways to kill with a paperclip" in NCIS, was an homage to MacGyver and his trusty paperclip!! Not to mention Dean using one in Supernatural to release himself from his cuffs!! Hmm, Rick in handcuffs...Okay I won't go there, but admit, I put the image in your head and you can't get rid of it now!! ha.

Rick later said that playing MacGyver was " years of being in virtually every frame that was shot and having absolutely no life at all.
He would get up at 5am and go to bed at midnight.  He is known for doing his own stunts, such as climbing, driving, jumping.  In 1987 he injured his back after a fall, so couldn't do that much, and also stated he, "is getting a little older so I don't do as many as I used to."  Case in point the helicopter scene in season 1.2 The Golden Triangle was Rick who jumped onto it.  He used to have a Harley Davidson motorbike and a CJ-7 jeep. A bit like MacGyver, not sure if he still has those, even just for memento purposes!

The show advocated the avoidance of using guns and was more about taking down the villain in other, inventive ways.  In part due to MacGyver's own experience with a gun when he was a teen and his friend was killed by one.  Though he has handled guns on the show, he hasn't used one.  Yet he came close to using one in the ep The Challenge in season 4.12, not to fire but on an abhorrent racist murderer who killed his friend, Booker, founder of the Challenger's Club for boys and girls, to keep them off the streets and away from drugs and crime.  The Club is a real charity.  This ep was directed by his co-star the late Dana Elcar (Pete Thornton on the show) and brought out some of his finest emotional acting on screen, when he discovers his friend, brutally killed!  At least in my opinion it was and showed how close MacGyver came to using violence himself!

[I have this signed photo]
Perhaps the message from this show about the dangers of guns needs to be highlighted and brought back today with the number of violent gun deaths and crime in the USA.
Rick also said, "the show is starting to make some contributions that are important.  There is subject matter that people need to be aware of.  "  This would primarily have been conservation, the environment and animal welfare.  Season 3 concerned many eps relating to poaching wild animals, pollution.

He said he is like MacGyver in many ways, "the producers were intrigued enough by my personality quirks that they developed some attitudes.  We are both 6' 2".

His message for the 100th ep of MacGyver:

Said John Pike, President of Paramount's Network Television Division. "While very few leading men are able to carry action-adventure shows, Anderson had the potential to be a television star."

Henry Winkler: "I think it translates well internationally because of Ricky Dean.  He has a personality on the screen that translates across with a vulnerability. He is quiet when he has to be. And his thoughtfulness is international because those are all silent communications. You don't have to understand a particular American idiom in order to go with MacGyver. You can actually watch and understand his vulnerability and cleverness. And...he's extraordinarily good-looking."  Swoon!!

Though he did have quite a romantic off screen life too, being associated with names such as Teri Hatcher, Sela Ward (who was great in CSI:NY) Katerina Witt.  He always wanted marriage and a family.  Although he didn't marry, he got his wish and his daughter Wylie Quinn Annarose Anderson was born in 1998. And he is every bit the devoted and doting ada!  Ahh and he talks of her every chance he gets! "Being a father, well, I don't know if this is a change, but it makes me want to get out of here faster.  get off the clock.  Just 'cause the baby is my reason for living, my reason for coming to work."  Which he said when he was on Stargate.

MacGyver was briefly 'revived' in an Mastercard ad for the 2006 Superbowl XL.  As well as in web episodes, MacGyver and the New Citan in 2012.

After MacGyver ended Rick starred and produced the show Legend, which only ran for 12 eps in 1995.  This was under his own production company, Gekko Film Corporation along with Michael Greenburg.  Wondered why he didn't do much with that company. He played Ernest Pratt/Nicodemus Legend, a womanizer in his own words and who was initially a dime novelist.  Which Rick described as one of his best roles.  Also to critical acclaim, especially that of NY Times writer John Connor.

In 1997-2005 Rick appeared in the TV show Stargate SG-1 and played another beloved character in the role of Col Jack O'Neill.  He agreed to the part on the proviso he could have more comedic input than the original character in the Stargate movie.  The late Don S Davis (who appeared in two eps of MacGyver as did as a lot of other co-stars/guests in SG-1) later advised him to get O'Neill promoted to commander of the team and so spend less time on screen.  This also allowed him to spend more time with his newly born daughter, and in the end it was Rick's decision to leave the show, so he could do this full time!  Well he didn't leave so early considering the show didn't run that many years after he left and he did make appearances in spin-offs Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe.  As well as in Stargate: Continuum in 2008.

In 2004, Rick was made honorary Airforce Brigadier Commander for showing the Airforce in such a positive light.  He also got to voice MacGyver in The Simpsons in the ep, Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore, after expressing his fondness for the show and as we know, Patty and Selma being longtime fans of his.

Other films/TV shows he's starred in include:  In the Eyes of a Stranger, Through The Eyes of a Killer which marked notable departures from his clean cut good guy image and his foray into the dark side of his characters. Beyond Betrayal, Past The Bleachers,  Pandoras' Clock, where he played a pilot, Capt James Holland or in my bad joke referring to him as 'the Flying Dutchman' you know, Der fliegende Holländer,  cos of his last name Holland, Dutchman, okay it may sound lame!  Oh never mind!  Firehouse, Fairly Legal in 2010 for 5 eps.  As well as the shows, The Love Boat, Raisin' Hope, Don't Trust The Bi**h in Apartment 23.

He should carry on with composing now.  Also I said he and Bruce Greenwood should get together to make some sweet, soulful music together on their trusty guitars!! Demonstrating their love of music too and they're both so talented!  Rick's band in the '70's was called Ricky Dean and the Dante, where he sang and played guitar.

His charitable pursuits include being a supporter of Waterkeeper Alliance, In 1995 he was recipient of the Celebrity Award from the make A Wish Foundation and he is part of the Special Olympics. He is on the Board of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, amongst others.

Let me leave you with a most apt quote: Jewel from Foolish Games: " were always the mysterious one with dark eyes and careless hair..."  Sweeet and poetic!!