Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"You stupid cop! Don't you know he's innocent?"

I'm still cleaning out the studio. Still have lots to throw away. One thing I got years ago was a copy of the "Richard Kimble" wanted poster from the '60's tv show, "The Fugitive." No. It won't be thrown away. It will be framed, finally, and put on my studio wall. Which now brings us to the segue for today...

Sometimes an actor will do such a good job in a singular role and/or performance that it seems to define them, or at least, some have for me. Most roles they do afterwards, no matter how well they do will not shake me out of that brain niche I have them in. Case in point--Andrew Robinson's character of "Scorpio" in "Dirty Harry," Leonard Nimoy as "Spock," Clayton Moore as "The Lone Ranger," James Gandolfini as "Tony Soprano," etc. Even though Kurtwood Smith was great as "Red," he will always be "Clarence Boddicker" from "RoboCop." While I know it is unfair, and some actors have even become bitter at points for "type-casting," it seems that's the way it is. So it was with my memories of Barry Morse.

Mr. Morse passed away on Saturday,February 2, this past week. From his obit, his career actually spanned into 7 decades. Quite an achievement. Yet, for me, he will be always known as he man most of the country hated for 4 years. Hate maybe too strong. Let's say "disliked." He was, as William Conrad put it in the opening credits, "... the police lieutenant obsessed with his(Richard Kimball's) capture..." "Lt. Philip Gerard." Stoic, methodical, brooding, and driven, he provided the most excellent antagonist to David Janssen's sympathetic Kimball.

Yes, I admit to being a fan of "The Fugitive." As as other did, loyally watched the final episode to see the famous handshake.

Maybe in finality, it would be better to give Mr. Morse a higher kudo--he was an actor. A very fine one, who cared about his art and craft. In today's world of "stars," "celebrities," and "mega-stars," there is something to be said for those who love what they do and are able to make a living from it. Or just love what they do. The musician who just enjoys playing and jamming. The artist who doodles on napkins. Actors who cannot wait for the next rehearsal and performance.

All the 3 principles from "The Fugitive" are gone now. And while I've blathered on about a 4 year tv show, I get the impression that Barry Morse wasn't like the Gerard persona, but seems to have been a very warm, friendly person. A most excellent actor.

No comments: