Archive for the ‘Television Performers’ Category

Remembering Kathryn Joosten

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Today the Archive remembers actress Kathryn Joosten, who passed away on Friday, June 1st, 2012 from lung cancer. Joosten was 72 and best known for her roles as “Mrs. Landingham” on The West Wing and “Karen McCluskey” on Desperate Housewives. She began her acting career late in life, at age 42, yet still managed to win two Emmy awards (for her role on Desperate Housewives). In addition to her career as a performer, Joosten was active in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, where she served multiple terms as a governor of the Performers Peer Group and served on various committees.

The Archive interviewed Joosten on May 9th of this year. Below are some excerpts from the interview:

On playing “Mrs. Landingham” on The West Wing:

On Desperate Housewives and how her character’s death would mirror her own:

On acting:

On her advice to aspiring actors:

On how she’d like to be remembered:

Watch Kathryn Joosten’s full Archive interview here.

Read her obituary here.

Remembering Richard Dawson

Monday, June 4th, 2012

The Archive remembers Richard Dawson today, who passed away on Saturday, June 2nd, 2012 at the age of 79. Dawson was the long-time host of the game-show Family Feud, where he coined the famous phrase “survey says,” and from 1965-1971 played “Corporal Peter Newkirk” on Hogan’s Heroes.

Here are some selections from Dawson’s 2010 Archive Interview:

On how he got into show business:

On the beginnings of Family Feud:

On kissing the contestants on Family Feud:

On the cancellation of Family Feud:

On Corporal Newkirk’s accent on Hogan’s Heroes:

Watch Richard Dawson’s full Archive interview here.

Read his obituary here.

Richard Chamberlain On Stage in “The Heiress”

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Richard Chamberlain fans: Dr. Kildare himself will be starring as Dr. Austin Sloper in a production of “The Heiress” starting today at the Pasadena Playhouse. Heather Tom and Julia Duffy star alongside Chamberlain in the show, which runs from April 24 – May 20, 2012.

Here’s a description of the play from the Pasadena Playhouse website:

“Catherine Sloper, who stands to inherit a fortune from her ailing physician father, is a plain-looking young woman living under his malevolent scrutiny, as well as his well-meaning but cold-hearted demeanor. Dr. Sloper disapproves of Catherine’s passionate suitor Morris Townsend, certain that the penniless young man has proposed marriage to win Catherine’s inheritance. Catherine’s too much in love to consider this potential betrayal, and when circumstances lead her to misinterpret Morris’s intentions, THE HEIRESS reaches an unforgettable conclusion that brilliantly supports the richly psychological nuance brought to the preceding romance.”

Chamberlain talks about playing Dr. Kildare in his 2012 Archive interview. Let us know how Dr. Sloper compares!

For more info and to purchase tickets, click here.

Watch Richard Chamberlain’s full Archive interview here.

“Dark Shadows” Star Jonathan Frid Dies at 87

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The Archive just learned of the death of actor Jonathan Frid, who passed away on April 13, 2012. Frid was best known for playing vampire “Barnabas Collins” in the gothic melodrama Dark Shadows, and also held an M.A. in Directing from the Yale School of Drama. Frid’s final acting role was a cameo in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows movie (out May 4th) in which Johnny Depp tackles the role of “Barnabas.”

Here are some selections from his 2008 Archive interview:

On playing a psychiatrist on As the World Turns and how the role differed from “Barnabas Collins:”

It was maybe a couple of weeks, about three or four, maybe half a dozen episodes. I was pretty good at it. On Dark Shadows I was intimidated by the character, in a sense, although it fit me perfectly. I didn’t know that at the time, and I thought, “Oh, how do you play a vampire?” I was very unsettled about that one, but the doctor, other than just being nervous, like any other actor for his first crack at it, it was not that difficult, and I fit into it very well.

On getting his Masters in Directing at the Yale School of Drama:

I was a directing major there, but we all had to do parts anyway. Everybody had to do acting at one time or another. I’d already gone through acting, all kinds of teachers, and I was a perpetual student. I was going to everybody in those days. I had to go through it again and they gave me all these huge roles to play at Yale and it led to getting into the American Shakespeare Festival where I worked with Katharine Hepburn, and John Houseman was the director at the time. We had some very good people there at that time. That was 1956 or ‘57.

On getting cast on Dark Shadows:

That was through a friend of mine, Ron Sproat, who was at Yale with me, and he was a play-writing student. We knew each other and we were friendly and so forth and so on, and it turned out that he was one of the writers for Dark Shadows, so when they were searching for somebody he suggested that they get me.

On “Barnbas Collins:”

I was pretending I was an Englishman, going back to the original family in England, if you remember. The very first scene: “Tell Mrs. Stoddard that her cousin from England…” And I was just in the cemetery down the street, (laughter) been there for two centuries, but I said I was from England. My English accent is really kind of a fake stage one, perfect for the part, because he was lying anyway, and I was pretty good at it as a liar.

On his makeup for “Barnabas:”

It got down to a routine, but of course when I was an old man I had to go in at 4:00. They played me as an old man in my real age, supposedly, a couple of times. Dick Smith came in and I had to be there at 4:00 in the morning. It took four or five hours, at least, to get this makeup on. I had to do it for three or four days, too.

On Dark Shadows short run on television:

Dark Shadows had a short life, one of the shortest-lived of all of the great soap operas. It just had incredible reruns. But it never kept developing. It was a very short run. If it weren’t for the fact that they recorded it, it would’ve been long forgotten by now. It was just fortunate … That was what saved Dark Shadows was the fact that they had the tape, because actually, in fact, it was very short lived. There are soaps I can remember as a child when I had my appendix out listening to a soap. They’re still going! 60, 70 years ago. Imagine Dark Shadows if it were still going 70 years! Gosh.

On what he tapped into to play “Barnabas:”

I was supposed to be somebody who had been chained in jail for 25, 30, or 40 years. That’s as far as our imaginations go anyway. A person that’s been put away for 45 or 50 years or whatever in a prison and they come back into your life, I mean it’s pretty scary. They were just let loose, and it’s scary for them. It’s somebody that’s been tortured by a coffin … I remember the big scene with my father and all that business and, “You’re a vampire, you’ve got to do this, do this…” But I was put in, buried, and so the only way you can get the feeling from it is from scenes in your own life that happened that are similar, and it’s knowing people who had been so evil or been so screwed up that they’re ugly. There’s always ugly people in our lives. But I tried to be a nice guy, good guy.

Watch Jonathan Frid’s full Archive Interview.

Read his obituary in USA Today.

Comedian Brad Garrett on “Raymond,” “Ratatouille,” and Robert Barone

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

He’s best known for playing “Robert Barone” on CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond, but he’s also a prolific voiceover artist (he’s “Gusteau” in Ratatouille!), and co-star of another successful sitcom, ‘Til Death, with Joely Fisher. Brad Garrett sat down with us in 2007 for quite an entertaining interview. (Be prepared for lots of jokes and silly side conversations with those off-camera!)

Garrett on winning the role of “Robert Barone:”

Watch Brad Garrett’s full Archive interview.

About this interview:

In his two-hour Archive interview, Brad Garrett discusses his early comedy influences and breaking into stand-up comedy as a teenager. He talks about his first appearance on television on Norm Crosby’s Comedy Shop and his contest-winning turn on Star Search. He describes two short-lived sitcoms on which he appeared before landing the role for which he is most known, that of “Robert Barone” on Everybody Loves Raymond. He speaks in detail about the show’s nine season run — describing his character, commenting on the ensemble cast and series creator Phil Rosenthal, and recalling favorite episodes. Garrett also discusses his next sitcom success, playing twenty-years-married “Eddie Stark” on ‘ Til Death — a series on which he was also a producer. He speaks of playing comic icon Jackie Gleason in the 2002 made-for-television movie Gleason, and touches on then-current projects including voicing “Gusteau” in Pixar’s Ratatouille. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview in Malibu, CA on April 26, 2007.

Dancing with Melissa Gilbert

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Tonight Week Three of Dancing with the Stars Season 14 kicks off, with Archive interviewee Melissa Gilbert and professional partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy doing the jive. Tennis star Martina Navratilova was the first of the twelve contestants to go home last week, but the remaining dancers return tonight for “Personal Story Week.” Still in the competition: Gilbert and fellow actors Jack Wagner, Jaleel White, Roshon Fegan, and William Levy; hosts Sherri Shepherd and Maria Menounos; singers Gladys Knight, Gavin DeGraw, and Katherine Jenkins; and football player Donald Driver.

In her 2011 Interview, Gilbert reminisces about the first celebrity competition show on which she appeared, Battle of the Network Stars:

Tune in to ABC tonight at 8pm ET/PT to watch the next episode of Dancing with the Stars, and learn more about “Personal Story Week” here.

Watch Melissa Gilbert’s full Archive interview.

He’s Catching Up to The 2000 Year Old Man: Carl Reiner Turns 90!

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

He’s a boy from the Bronx who’s had a hand in some of film and television’s most memorable moments. Carl Reiner turns 90 years young today, and he’s spent over 80 of those years entertaining people in one medium or another, from stage plays, to radio, to the small screen and the large.

Born Carl Reiner on March 20, 1922, Reiner caught the acting bug early in life. After performing in school plays throughout his elementary and high school years, Reiner’s older brother encouraged him to take an acting class sponsored by the Public Works Administration during the Depression years. He enjoyed honing the craft and began acting in off-Broadway plays straight out of high school; performed in summer theater in Rochester, NY; toured with a Shakespeare company; and wrote and performed plays as part of the Special Services Unit during World War II.

After his discharge from the Army in 1946, Reiner performed in the famed Borscht Belt circuit, and began his career in television in 1948 with a spot on Maggi McNellis Crystal Room, and appearances on The Fashion Story and The Fifty-fourth Street Revue. Reiner continued to do stage work, when producer Max Liebman caught one of his performances and approached Reiner about joining the cast of a new sketch variety show he was putting together with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, Your Show of Shows. Reiner became a cast member in the 1950-51 season, memorably starring in the recurring “Professor” sketch with Caesar, and often displaying his double talk skills, mimicking foreign languages or delivering Shakespeare-esque dialogue. In his 1998 Archive Interview, Reiner discusses working with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca:

Reiner soon began writing for Your Show of Shows, alongside writers Neil Simon, Mel Tolkin, Lucille Kallen, and Mel Brooks, and stayed on to become a part of Sid Caesar’s next show, Caesar’s Hour, where he won his first Emmy:

Reiner and Brooks struck up an immediate friendship, which in turn led to the creation of some fantastic comedy. The pair dreamed up the now infamous “2000 Year Old Man” (which became both a record/radio and TV hit) in Max Liebman’s office in the early 1950s:

After Caesar’s Hour Reiner hosted the game show Celebrity Game, and secured dramatic parts in several Golden Age dramas including Playhouse 90, and Kraft Television Theatre. He tried his hand at writing novels and penned Enter Laughing, and even took a stab at writing a television series. He wrote what he knew, and in 1958 created thirteen episodes of Head of the Family, a show about a family man who commutes into the big city to write for a television show. Reiner starred in the pilot, which failed to get picked up, until Sheldon Leonard saw it, convinced Reiner to step out of the spotlight, re-cast Dick Van Dyke in the lead and Mary Tyler Moore as his wife, and renamed the program The Dick Van Dyke Show:

The Dick Van Dyke Show enjoyed five seasons on air (1961-66), with Reiner as creator, producer, writer, and actor on the show — on-screen he stepped out of the lead role and into that of the star’s boss, “Alan Brady”. Reiner’s movie career revved up in the 1960’s, as he starred in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming. He soon began directing, too – he directed the film version of Enter Laughing in 1967, and wrote the pilot for and directed several episodes of 1971’s The New Dick Van Dyke Show. He directed Steve Martin in four films, including 1979’s The Jerk and 1984’s All of Me, and also directed 1987’s Summer School.

Reiner won several Emmys for The Dick Van Dyke Show, and added another to his mantle when he revisited his Dick Van Dyke Show character, “Alan Brady”, for a memorable guest appearance on a 1995 episode of Mad About You. Throughout the ’90s and 2000s Reiner continued to stay active in both film and television, with roles on the 1999 series Family Law, 2002’s Life With Bonnie, and as the voice of “Sarmoti” in 2004’s Father of the Pride. He also starred alongside George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon in the 2001 hit film, Ocean’s Eleven, and reprised his role of “Saul Bloom” for 2004’s Ocean’s Twelve and 2007’s Ocean’s Thirteen. He currently has recurring roles on two popular television shows: TVLand’s Hot in Cleveland and FOX’s The Cleveland Show.

A few additional Carl Reiner trivia tidbits: he has appeared on all major versions of The Tonight Show – with hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, and even Conan O’Brien; he’s the father of another quite famous actor/writer/producer/director – Rob Reiner; and much like Carol Burnett, when he was starring on a variety show, he used a secret signal to communicate with family members. Son Rob shared what that signal was in his 2004 Archive Interview:

Happy 90th birthday, Carl! Here’s to many, many more!

Watch Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks do their “2000 Year Old Man” sketch:

Reiner was honored by the Television Academy in October of 2011, and several of his colleagues and friends were in attendance to pay tribute to the TV legend. You can watch the webcast of “An Evening Honoring Carl Reiner” here, and check out our full Archive interview with Reiner here.

- by Adrienne Faillace

Rita Moreno To Receive Jackie Robinson Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Tonight Archive interviewee Rita Moreno will receive the Lifetime Achievement ROBIE Award from the Jackie Robinson Foundation. The ceremony will take place at New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel at 6:30pm, with Bill Cosby as host. The ROBIE Awards recognize “individuals who embody the humanitarian ideals of Jackie Robinson and raises funds for the Jackie Robinson Foundation.” The Foundation provides college scholarships, grants, and mentoring to “academically-distinguished minority students with financial need and leadership capacity.”

Moreno will be honored not just for her legendary performances (she’s one of only a handful of people to win an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, AND Grammy) , but also for her dedication to bringing awareness to women’s health issues, diabetes, and heart disease. Ricky Martin will present Moreno with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Watch Rita Moreno’s full archive interview.

For more on the ROBIE Awards, click here.

Danny DeVito Speaks For the Trees

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax hits the big screen today, with Archive Interviewee Danny DeVito starring as the voice of the Lorax, a furry little fellow who fights for the forest. The film also stars the voice talents of Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, and fellow Archive Interviewee Betty White as Grammy Norma.

The Lorax is based on Dr. Seuss’ children’s book of the same title, first published in 1971. It tells the story of the Once-Ler, a greedy creature who chops down Truffula trees for a profit-making venture; angers the Lorax, (the self-proclaimed protector of the trees), and subsequently leaves the forest barren. Ed Helms provides the voice of the Once-Ler in the film, and a love story between characters Ted and Audrey, voiced by Zac Efron and Taylor Swift, is an addition to the original story.

Watch the trailer for The Lorax:

You can catch Devito and White’s voice talents in theaters starting today, and click on the links to watch Danny DeVito and Betty White’s full Archive interviews.

2012 Television Academy Hall of Fame

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Two and a Half Men star and Emmy winner Jon Cryer will host tonight’s 21st Annual Television Hall of Fame Gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Performers Vivian Vance and Bill Frawley, executive Michael Eisner, show creator-producer Chuck Lorre, executive producers Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray, host Mario Kreutzberger (aka Don Francisco), and lighting director Bill Klages will become the newest inductees into the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame.

Presenters at tonight’s ceremony include: Gail Berman presenting to Mary-Ellis Bunim & Jonathan Murray, Garry Marshall presenting to Michael Eisner, Sofia Vergara presenting to Mario Kreutzberger, Walter Miller presenting to Bill Klages, Peter Roth presenting to Chuck Lorre, Doris Singleton presenting to Vivian Vance, and Barry & Stan Livingston presenting to William Frawley. Mary-Ellis Bunim, Vivian Vance and William Frawley will be inducted posthumously.

The Archive of American Television has conducted interviews with several of the new honorees, and with many of their colleagues. Below enjoy selections from Archive interviews with or touting this year’s Hall of Fame inductees:

Congratulations to all of the honorees!

More from our Featured Story on the 21st Annual Hall of Fame Inductees.