Archive for the ‘Television Perfomers’ Category

Remembering Jack Klugman

Monday, December 24th, 2012

The Archive is sad to report that legendary actor Jack Klugman died today, December 24th, at the age of 90. Klugman has made over 400 television appearances — in comedies, dramas, and even in a game show (well, sort of – remember the “Password”episode of The Odd Couple?) He played a blacklisted actor, a medical examiner, and perhaps most famously, sportswriter “Oscar Madison” opposite Tony Randall’s “Felix Unger” in the 1970’s sitcom The Odd Couple. One roommate was a neat-freak, one was sloppy and sarcastic: Klugman played the messy one.

Born April 27, 1922 in South Philadelphia, Klugman got his start in acting in the drama department of the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon). Klugman soon moved to New York to pursue theater, securing roles in several off-Broadway plays and getting his big break in the 1948 Broadway production of “Mr. Roberts.” From there, Klugman began dabbling in the new medium of television, making appearances in the early 1950s on Actors Studio, (where he was directed by Yul Brynner), and on anthology dramas Studio One, Playhouse 90, and the 1955 Producers’ Showcase production of “The Petrified Forest,” opposite Bogey and Bacall. Klugman also wrote several scripts for Kraft Television Theatre in the late 1950s:

Klugman wasn’t restricted to theater and television, though. He appeared as “Juror #5″ in the 1957 film Twelve Angry Men, and continued to do theater, television, and film projects throughout his career. He was back on-stage in 1959’s “Gypsy” with Ethel Merman, and on TV again in the 1960s for four appearances on Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. In 1964, Klugman had a memorable role in “The Blacklist” episode of The Defenders, for which he won an Emmy:

Also in 1964, Klugman starred as the superintendent of a movie studio in his first sitcom, the short-lived Harris Against the World. Then in 1966, Klugman made his first appearance in Neil Simon’s stage play, “The Odd Couple:”

Garry Marshall was looking to make a television series of the play, which Klugman agreed to do after some initial resistance. He resumed his stage role of “Oscar Madison” for the sitcom, which ran from 1970-75:

CBS’ Fred Silverman tried to sell Klugman on a few other series after The Odd Couple ended, but it wasn’t until the chance to play muckraking medical examiner Quincy, M.E. came along in 1976 that Klugman agreed to helm another TV show. Quincy lasted eight seasons, through 1983:

Klugman appeared in the 1987 film I’m Not Rappaport with Ossie Davis and Walter Matthau, but was suffering from throat cancer and soon underwent surgery to remove his right vocal cord. His voice was quieted to just above a whisper, and Klugman worked hard to train his remaining cord to pick up the slack. He returned to acting at the urging of friend Tony Randall for a one-time stage performance of “The Odd Couple” in New York in 1991. The production was a huge success, leading to Klugman and Randall teaming up for productions of “Three Men On a Horse,” and “Sunshine Boys” on Broadway throughout the 1990s.

Klugman continued to act in small roles here and there, most recently as “Sam” in the 2010 horror film Camera Obscura. He was a proven success in film, television, and theater, and his perseverance in resurrecting his voice after surgery was an inspiration to his fans.

Watch Jack Klugman’s full Archive interview.

Mary Tyler Moore Honored at SAG Awards

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Actress Mary Tyler Moore received the Screen Actor’s Guild Lifetime Achievement Award at Sunday’s SAG Awards. Dick Van Dyke presented the award.

In her 1997 Archive interview, Moore reflects on some of her favorite moments with Van Dyke on The Dick Van Dyke Show:

The SAG Awards aired on TBS and TNT at 5pm PST/8pm EST on Sunday, January 29, 2012.

Everybody Loves Patricia Heaton

Monday, January 9th, 2012

With her success on Everybody Loves Raymond and now The Middle, Patricia Heaton is a household name. But that wasn’t always so. Heaton spent years as a struggling actress in New York and Los Angeles, doing bit parts and odd jobs to make a living. Her first appearance on a television show was on 1989’s Alien Nation; her first recurring role was on the critically acclaimed dramedy, thirtysomething, and her first starring role was on the short-lived 1992-3 series, Room For Two, opposite Linda Lavin. Several more years passed before she won the role of “Debra Barone” on Everybody Loves Raymond.

In her Archive Interview, Heaton describes her audition for Everybody Loves Raymond:

She speaks of her Everybody Loves Raymond family:

And discusses the show’s finale:

Watch Patricia Heaton’s interview here.

About this interview:

Patricia Heaton was interviewed for nearly two hours in Burbank, CA. Heaton talks of growing up a “daydreamer” in Cleveland and enjoying the attention she got as the daughter of Chuck Heaton, a well-known local sportswriter.  She describes her early years as a struggling actress in New York City and Los Angeles, picking up small roles in commercials and television series.  She discusses her recurring role in the hit dramedy series thirtysomething and her co-starring roles in the short-lived series Room for Two (opposite Linda Lavin, who mentored her) and Women of the House. Heaton then details the role and series for which she is best known, “Debra Barone” on Everybody Loves Raymond. She chronicles her work on the series from her audition, to shooting the series finale (which was delayed when she contracted laryngitis).  She describes the series’ shooting schedule, working with series’ directors Gary Halvorson and Will MacKenzie, and how her real-life pregnancies were covered up on the show. She also notes some of the moments of the show that garnered the biggest laughs, including: Debra’s desperate attempts to get a turkey in the oven, Raymond trying lift Debra onto the refrigerator in a moment of glee and slamming her into it, and Debra dropping ice cream on Raymond’s lap (eliciting a “minute and a half laugh”).  Lastly, she touches on her appearances as spokesperson for Albertsons grocery stores and on some of her post-Raymond television movies. Karen Herman conducted the interview on October 23, 2006.

Happy 75th Birthday, Mary Tyler Moore!

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

The lovely Mary Tyler Moore is 75 years young today! The actress, best known for her roles as “Laura Petrie” on The Dick Van Dyke Show, as “Mary Richards” on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and as “Beth Jarrett” in the film Ordinary People, spoke in depth about playing these characters in her Archive interview.

On getting cast as “Laura Petrie” on The Dick Van Dyke Show:

On the ensemble cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show:

On her role in Ordinary People:

Happy birthday, Mary!!

Watch Mary Tyler Moore’s full interview here.

About this interview:

Mary Tyler Moore always knew she’d have a career on stage, “I knew at a very early age what I wanted to do. Some people refer to it as indulging in my instincts and artistic bent. I call it just showing off, which was what I did from about three years of age on.” In her Archive interview, Mary Tyler Moore discusses growing up in Brooklyn before moving with her family to Los Angeles. She chronicles her first TV job, as “Happy Hotpoint” on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which she began right after graduating high school, and discusses her time as a chorus dancer before choosing to pursue acting. After she revealed that she had played the unseen “Sam” on Richard Diamond, Private Detective, her career began to take off. She turned to comedy when Carl Reiner cast her as “Laura Petrie” in The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Moore discusses the show, as well as meeting her future husband Grant Tinker on the set. She then talks about her next series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the first of many series produced by MTM Productions. She speaks of her later series and her acclaimed work in the film Ordinary People, and on stage in Whose Life is it Anyway? Mary Tyler Moore was interviewed in New York City on October 23, 1997. Diane Werts conducted the two-hour interview.

“The Garner Files” – Straight-Shooter James Garner Publishes his Memoir

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

According to early reviews, Archive Interviewee James Garner doesn’t hold back in his new memoir, The Garner Files. Television’s “Maverick” and star of The Rockford Files takes a keen look back at his personal life and career in this autobiography, co-authored by Jon Winokur. Garner shares childhood experiences, production tales of TV series on which he’s worked, and even critiques every movie he’s ever made. Some of his own reviews are far from kind. Of 1966’s Mr. Buddwing Garner states, “Zero stars. (‘Worst picture I ever made. What were they thinking? What was I thinking?’)”.

Fellow archive interviewee Julie Andrews penned the book’s introduction, and interviewee David Chase, who got his start in television on The Rockford Files, provides anecdotes of working with Garner.

Garner is both a successful film and television star, and the title of his memoir offers a nod to one of the TV shows for which he’s best known. In the following excerpt from Garner’s 3-hour Archive interview, he discusses the intense physical demands of shooting that popular detective program, The Rockford Files:

The Garner Files (Simon & Schuster), out today, is now available for purchase.

Watch James Garner’s full Archive interview here:

Backstage and red carpet interviews from the Emmys are now online!

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

The Archive was on the red carpet at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards and backstage during the show.

A full playlist of the red carpet interviews is online, and some excerpts below. Thanks to Pop Culture Passionistas for shooting and editing these interviews!

Martin Scorsese (Winner, Outstanding Direction for a Drama Series) discusses why he wanted to shoot Boardwalk Empire like a film:

Melissa McCarthy (Winner, Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series) discusses the appeal of her show, Mike and Molly:

Jim Parsons on his surprise Emmy win for Big Bang Theory (Winner, Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series):

Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen (Winners, Outstanding Supporting Actor/Actress in a Comedy Series) discuss their Emmy wins for Modern Family:

Producer Nigel Lythgoe talks about why he believes in his shows American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance:

Paula Abdul on being inspired by Gene Kelly as a young girl:

Matthew Weiner (Winner, for Oustanding Drama Series for Mad Men) talks about what he watches on TV:

Celebrate Father’s Day with Rob Petrie, Frank Costanza, Homer Simpson, and Mr. C.

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Happy Father’s Day! To celebrate we’ve highlighted interview clips from some of our favorite TV Dads:

Tom Bosley on playing Howard “Mr. C.” Cunningham on Happy Days

Jerry Stiller on playing Seinfeld’s “Frank Costanza”

Dan Castellaneta on the origin of Homer Simpson’s “d’oh”

Dick Van Dyke on The Dick Van Dyke Show’s Rob Petrie

Happy Birthday to Jerry Stiller!

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Archive Interviewee Jerry Stiller celebrates his 84th birthday today. We interviewed Jerry back in 2005 along with his wife, Anne Meara. The full interview with Jerry and Anne can be viewed online.

In this clip, Jerry discusses how he came to be cast as “Frank Costanza” on Seinfeld. He talks about how initially, Frank’s character was to be a meek man in a bald cap, subservient to Estelle Harris’s “Estelle Costanza”; but Jerry’s “Frank” wound up shouting back at her, just as loudly. And we thank him for it!

About this Interview:
Jerry Stiller was interviewed for three-and-a-half hours in Los Angeles, CA, consisting of two parts: over one hour with wife and comedy partner Anne Meara, and over two hours alone. Stiller and Meara described how they met as working actors in New York City. They talked about getting together as an act and their many appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. They described their comedy routines and the interaction that they had with Ed Sullivan himself. Stiller talked about his notable work in such long form productions as Seize the Day. He then spoke in detail about the role for which he is most associated, “Frank Costanza” on Seinfeld,as well as his regular appearance as “Arthur Spooner” on The King of Queens. For these series he gave his impressions of working with the regular cast members and for Seinfeld he talked about such notable epsiodes as “The Doorman,” “The Fusilli Jerry,” and “The Strike.” The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on December 12, 2005. Scroll upScroll down

Western star James Arness passes at 88

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Sad news to report: TV Legend James Arness passed away today at the age of 88.

He was best known for his longtime portrayal of Marshal Matt Dillon on the classic Western series Gunsmoke and later on How the West Was Won. The publicity-shy star was interviewed by the Archive of American Television in 2002. Here’s a clip from his two-and-a-half hour interview where he discusses his career success:

The entire interview is available at

Interview description:

James Arness was interviewed for two-and-a-half hours in Los Angeles, CA.  Arness spoke about his early years and experiences, which included serving in the army during World War II, and recalled his start in local radio in Minneapolis.  He noted his break into acting in movies and listed several in which he appeared.  He described his experiences in early television including anthology series that were done “live.” He then spoke in great detail about the role for which he is most known that of “Marshal Matt Dillon” on Gunsmoke.  For Gunsmoke, he talked about his initial reluctance to take the part (until convinced by John Wayne for whom he was under contract), described the series characters and their relationships with each other, and discussed working with the behind-the-scenes talent, including key producers and directors.  He also talked about later television roles including his appearance as a regular on the late 1970s western series How the West Was Won. The interview was conducted by Henry Colman on August 16, 2002.

Link to his New York Times obituary.

From his family: “Jim will be deeply missed by his family and friends. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donation be made to United Cerebral Palsy in Jim’s name.”

Andy Griffith turns 85!

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Wishing a very happy 85th birthday to TV legend Andy Griffith!

Andy Griffith, who was born on June 1, 1926, began his long career with the now-classic comedy bit, “What it was, was football” and then garnered his first success on Broadway in “No Time for Sergeants.” The two hits led to many appearances on live TV shows, including U.S. Steel Hour, The Steve Allen Show, and Playhouse 90. A guest appearance on The Danny Thomas Show served as the pilot for the eight-season run of The Andy Griffith Show. He continued to star in many TV and film productions including his successful crime series, Matlock.

The town of Mayberry featured in The Andy Griffith Show stemmed from Griffith’s own hometown of Mt. Airy, NC. In Archive his interview he notes:

“At first, producer Sheldon Leonard didn’t want it to be in North Carolina. He just wanted it to be somewhere in the south. And I hate these made up names. So we did have Mt. Pilot which there is a place called Pilot Mountain up near Mt. Airy, but I gradually started slipping in real towns in North Carolina like Asheville and Raleigh and Silver City. And so it became during that first year, it became a town in North Carolina.”

Here’s a special video (edited by Steve Wyant) of selections from Andy Griffith’s Archive of American Television 1998 interview: