It is with a heavy heart that I bring the news that we have lost another classic movie and television great and Perry star. Richard Anderson passed away last night at age 91. He had just celebrated his 91st birthday on the 8th of August. An anonymous reader on the blog let me know the sad news earlier tonight and I immediately looked up the news articles posted so far. Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner have both delivered moving tributes to Richard and I imagine there will be many more over the coming days, each one completely deserved. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.
Richard was a kind, gracious, dignified man and a highly talented actor. He very often stole the show with his multi-faceted characters, even if he didn't have much screentime in a particular production. For both me and my mom (and many more), he was the best thing about The Student Prince, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman and many others. And he was certainly one of our favorite elements of Perry. As the genuinely friendly yet by-the-book police lieutenant Steve Drumm, he added a fascinating presence to the final season of our show.
The end of August has long been a time for me to think about and honor several great character actors who passed on succeeding days. Simon Oakland died on the 29th, while both William Talman and Wesley Lau died on the 30th in different years. It gives me pause that the actor who succeeded Wesley on Perry has now passed on the 31st.
I've been aware of Richard most of my life, first encountering him in The Student Prince and loving him and his character. He brought a definite sweetness to the role of Lucas that I picked up on even at that young age. I knew he was something special. I rediscovered that every time I watched him in the years since. Of course, I love watching him play good guys the most, but he was adept at playing the most nefarious villains as well. And yet, even with some of them, there was sometimes a very three-dimensional and human aspect that made them very complex and not completely unsympathetic. Others, however, were indeed absolute cads without any apparent redeeming qualities. Richard could do it all!
Richard was often asked why he didn't write a book about his life, to which he would reply, "Why? I'm still living it!" I'm so glad he finally agreed to write one and share the experiences of his wonderful life that he was indeed still living. His memoir is such an invaluable treasure for his loved ones and fans alike, a beautifully narrated piece that feels like an intimate fireside chat. Add to that his legacy of movie and television roles and he will always live on.
We love you, Richard, and we miss you. Thank you for giving us so much through the years.