Interviews: Those 1970s Celebrities at ‘The Hollywood Show’

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StarRichard Anderson, Oscar Goldman on “The Six Million Dollar Man”

Richard Anderson
We Can Rebuild Him: Richard Anderson at at ‘The Hollywood Show,’ March of 2012
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for

Richard Anderson was not only the unflappable aide de camp to Steve Austin in the ‘70s classic “The Six Million Dollar Man,’ but also began his career in the studio system for MGM and has worked with directors as diverse as Stanley Kubrick, John Frankenheimer and William Wellman over his career. In his second interview with, we go deeper into his journey. When you were starting out in at Metro Goldwyn-Mayer, who was your mentor through those studio system days?

Robert Anderson: My mentor was Dore Schary [president of MGM], who was running the studio when I came in there. I was asked by his secretary to come in, because Schary had heard of me through the wife of Cary Grant, who at that time was Betsy Drake. I was on a TV show called ‘Lights, Camera, Action,’ which was a dancing show like they have today. I kept winning on that show, and Betsy Drake watched it and mentioned me to Cary. He was working at MGM at the time, and he told Schary about me.

That studio was amazing, they were technically amazing. When I joined it they were going down because of one word…’television.’ All of the time I was there, for six years, they were grooming me for a lead role, but everybody started leaving because it was breaking up. You had a significant role in ‘The Long Hot Summer’ and ‘Compulsion,’ both or which featured Orson Welles. What do you remember about those films, and what are your impressions about Orson Welles, having worked with him in that era?

Richard Anderson
Richard Anderson (right) in ‘Paths of Glory’
Photo credit: MGM Home Entertainment

Anderson: He was on his way down. Here is the man who made the supposed greatest movie ever made, and famously said ‘I started at the top and have been working my way down ever since.’ He physically and mentally was not the same when I was working with him. On ‘Compulsion’ he had a lot of trouble getting through it, but [producer] Richard Zanuck loved him, but he was on his way down. The world had lost him. What is different for you as an actor when you play a real person like Lyndon Johnson or General George Meade. Do you approach a real person character any differently?

Anderson: I like to get the accent first, especially in the case of Lyndon Johnson, and try to find a place when I can connect to him. In my case, it’s when he picked up the dog. Another was in a scene with J. Edgar Hoover, where I told him to get the hell out the office, that was a wonderful Lyndon Johnson moment. Finally, which of your films do you think will live on, and have an impact in subsequent generations of movie fans?

Anderson: ‘Paths of Glory,’ one of the greatest movies about war ever made. It was directed by Stanley Kubrick at the top of his game. I would say that will maintain it’s reputation, especially with any study of war on film. To see that movie is to realize the utter needlessness of war and generals, and the meaning of the men who had to do the actual fighting. I read an appropriate quote once from Douglas MacArthur, “The soldier, be he friend or foe, is charged with the protection of the weak and the unarmed. It’s his very existence for being.”

“The Hollywood Show” comes to Chicagoland on September 7th, 8th and 9th, 2012 (Saturday 9/8 and Sunday 9/9 are celebrity appearance days), at The Hilton Rosemont, 5500 N. River Road, Rosemont, Ill. For complete details, click here. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2011 Patrick McDonald,

Yves Thepot's picture

Went to school

I went to schol with his brother Chris,. the funniest thing I heard when was when we were playing poker & Eric walks in & fall to the floor-cracking up- WTF what;s up Chris asked, Eric relied: “You ain’t seen nothing till you see Shelly a WETSUIT!!” yikes….


Eric Shea

Loved you In the Poseidon Adventure. Just watched you on a Brady Bunch episode.
Decided to look you up!

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