Wednesday 24 July 2013

Richard Dean Anderson

Perhaps better known as either MacGyver or Jack O'Neill, Richard was born in Minnesota on 23 January 1950. In his youth, Richard dreamed of being a professional hockey player, but two broken arms subsequently caused him to alter his dreams.

After dropping out of college because he wasn't feeling it, Richard eventually settled in Los Angeles (in the early 1970s). He worked a variety of jobs including: marine mammal trainer, musician at a medieval dinner theatre (sweet!), and juggler. Apparently, Richard really loved juggling, and once mentioned that he would like to teach circus arts to disadvantaged youths. (FYI: circus school is real. I have a friend who attends - she is learning the trapeze, among other things).

In 1976, Richard got his first big television role. He was cast as Dr. Jeff Webber on General Hospital. Richard played that part until 1981, after which he was on a series of short-lived shows.

Richard rocketed to fame in 1985 when he started playing MacGyver, lead character of the eponymous show. MacGyver's first name is Angus, but apparently viewers weren't privy to that fact until the last season. MacGyver ran for seven seasons (1985-1992), and was a very busy time for Richard. Since he was the star (along with his Swiss Army knife), he was in almost every frame. According to him, he had very little time for a life during those seven years.

From 1997 to 2005, Richard played Jack O'Neill in the television show Stargate SG-1. The show was based on the movie Stargate; Richard played the character initially played by Kurt Russell. The president of MGM asked Richard to act in the show, which Richard agreed to after careful consideration. Richard had two requests: he could portray his character in a more comedic way than Russell had in the movie and the show would be an ensemble cast. Richard did not want to be as busy as he had been when filming MacGyver. I think those were reasonable requests. Comedy rules, and ensemble shows are great. They give more actors a chance to shine. I realize Richard was primarily thinking of himself when making that request, but it's nice for a more-established actor to request more screen time for the lesser-knowns.

Richard had a daughter in 1998. As she grew, he wanted to spend more time with her. Consequently, Richard reduced his appearances on Stargate, becoming a frequent guest star rather than a permanent cast member. He has also appeared in Stargate follow-ups Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe.

Richard was made an honorary brigadier general by the Air Force in 2004 because Stargate portrayed the Air Force in a positive light. He has also received awards from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he avidly supports the Special Olympics, and he works to combat water pollution and multiple sclerosis.

Overall, Richard sounds like a cool guy. He enjoys The Simpsons and happily stars in commercials that mock MacGyver. What a good sport.


Richard Dean Anderson Comic Con 2008.jpg
Richard in 2008

1 comment:

  1. My question is if you are going to be a guest star in the MacGyver reboot to give you another chance to skewer the character?

    I hope so. My kids love your deadpan humor.