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Tim Matheson Net Worth, Biography, Wiki in 2017-2016

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Tim Matheson net worth:
$7 Million

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Tim Matheson Net Worth, Biography, Wiki 2017-2016

Timothy Lewis Mathieson was born on 31 December 1947, and is an American actor, producer and director, who became famous for his roles in the movie “National Lampoon’s Animal House”, and also from the series “The West Wing”.

So how much is Matheson’s net worth? As of late 2016, based on authoritative sources it is reported to be $7 million, acquired from his more than 50 years in Hollywood.

Tim Matheson Net Worth $7 million

Born in Glendale, California, Matheson entered the world of acting at a very early age. When he was 13 years old, he was cast to become part of the show “Window on Main Street”, and his career as an actor had officially started.

After two years in the show, Matheson also did a short stint as a voice talent, lending his voice to a number of animated series in the ‘60s including “Jonny Quest”, “Sinbad Jr. and his Magic Belt” and “Space Ghost”. His early projects as a young actor helped his career and also his net worth.

In 1968, he went back to acting and starred alongside Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda in the movie “Yours, Mine and Ours”. During this time he also became a frequent face on television and appeared in a number of series, including “The Virginian”, “The Quest” and “Bonanza” to name a few. His net worth grew steadily.

During the late ‘70s, Matheson had a career breakthrough when he appeared in the movie “National Lampoon’s Animal House”; his role as Eric “Otter” Stratton hit the right cord with fans, and his partnership opposite actor John Belushi made the movie a hit. The success of the movie not only improved his career but also increased his wealth.

Matheson continued on as an actor, and appeared in many more projects including the series “Tucker’s Witch”, “To Be or Not to Be”, “Fletch” and “Up the Creek”. He was also cast in the movie “A Very Brady Sequel”, one of the movies in the Brady Bunch franchise.

Up until the early 2000s, Matheson was still very much active in acting. He even garnered an Emmy Award nomination for his portrayal of Vice President John Hoynes in the series “The West Wing”.

Aside from acting, Matheson also ventured into directing, being responsible for episodes of some of the most well-known series on television, including “Without a Trace”, “Burn Notice”, “The Last Ship”, “Drop Dead Diva”, “Numbers”, “Cold Case”, “White Collar”, and “Eureka” to name a few. His directorial work also helped in his career and net worth.

Today, Matheson is still active as an actor, in the series “Hart of Dixie” as one of his most recent projects, playing Dr. Brick Breeland in the show which lasted for four seasons ending in 2015.

In terms of his personal life, Matheson has been married twice, firstly to Jennifer Leak from 1968 to 1971, and later on to Megan Murphy from 1985 to 2010. Despite his failed marriages, he is the father of three children from his marriage with Murphy.


More about Tim Matheson:

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Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Batman: The Brave and the Bold 2009 TV Series Jarvis Kord
Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia 2009 Video Carl Dobbs
Body Politic 2009 TV Movie Senator Webster
To Love and Die 2008 TV Movie James White
Entourage 2008 TV Series Steve Parls
The Prince 2008 TV Movie Soloman
The World According to Barnes 2007 TV Movie
Redline 2007 Jerry Brecken
Shark 2007 TV Series Judge Andrew Bennett
The West Wing 1999-2006 TV Series Vice President John Hoynes John Hoynes Senator John Hoynes
Augusta, Gone 2006 TV Movie Ben Dudman
Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D 2005 Documentary short Houston Capcom (voice)
Don't Come Knocking 2005 Producer 1
Justice League 2004 TV Series Maxwell Lord
Judas 2004 TV Movie Pontius Pilate
The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay 2003 TV Movie Al Dodge
Martha, Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart 2003 TV Movie Andy Stewart
Ed 2003 TV Series Peter Evashavik
Without a Trace 2003 TV Series Dr. Aaron Morrison
Where Are They Now?: A Delta Alumni Update 2003 Video short Dr. Eric 'Otter' Stratton, OB / GYN
Breaking News 2002 TV Series Bill Dunne
The King of Queens 2002 TV Series Dr. Farber
Wolf Lake 2001-2002 TV Series Sheriff Matthew Donner / Sheriff Jack Kohanek
Van Wilder 2002 Vance Wilder Sr.
Mom's on Strike 2002 TV Movie Alan Harris
Second Honeymoon 2001 TV Movie George Weston
Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis 2000 TV Movie John F. Kennedy
Sharing the Secret 2000 TV Movie John Moss
Chump Change 2000 Simon 'Sez' Simone
Hell Swarm 2000 TV Movie Kirk Bluhdorn
Navigating the Heart 2000 TV Movie John Daly
At the Mercy of a Stranger 1999 TV Movie John Davis
The Story of Us 1999 Marty
She's All That 1999 Harlan Siler
Catch Me If You Can 1998 TV Movie Norm
The New Batman Adventures 1998 TV Series Michael Vreeland
Forever Love 1998 TV Movie Alex Brooks
Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Families 1998 TV Movie Adolf Althoff (segment "We Are Circus")
A Very Unlucky Leprechaun 1998 Howard Wilson
Dead Man's Gun 1998 TV Series Reverend Jeremiah Early
Buried Alive II 1997 TV Movie Clint Goodman
Sleeping with the Devil 1997 TV Movie Dick Strang
The Legend of Calamity Jane 1997 TV Series Capt. John O'Rourke
A Holiday for Love 1996 TV Movie Jacob (Jake) Peterson
Buried Secrets 1996 TV Movie Clay Roff
A Very Brady Sequel 1996 Roy Martin Trevor Thomas
Twilight Man 1996 TV Movie Jordan P. Cooper
An Unfinished Affair 1996 TV Movie Alex Connor
Black Sheep 1996 Al Donnelly
Jonny Quest Versus the Cyber Insects 1995 TV Movie 4-DAC (voice)
Midnight Heat 1995 Tyler Grey
Tails You Live, Heads You're Dead 1995 TV Movie Detective McKinley
Fast Company 1995 TV Movie Det. Jack Matthews
Cybill 1995 TV Series Teddy
While Justice Sleeps 1994 TV Movie Winfield 'Win' Cooke
Target of Suspicion 1994 TV Movie Nick
Harmful Intent 1993 TV Movie Dr. Rhodes
A Kiss to Die For 1993 TV Movie William Tauber
Shameful Secrets 1993 TV Movie Daniel
Fallen Angels 1993 TV Series Howard Hughes
Batman: The Animated Series 1993 TV Series Gil Mason
Dying to Love You 1993 TV Movie Roger Paulson
Trial & Error 1993 TV Movie Peter Hudson
Relentless: Mind of a Killer 1993 TV Movie Dr. Peter Hellman
Quicksand: No Escape 1992 TV Movie Scott Reinhardt
Charlie Hoover 1991 TV Series Charlie Hoover
The Woman Who Sinned 1991 TV Movie Michael Robeson
The Legend of Prince Valiant 1991 TV Series Marcus
Drop Dead Fred 1991 Charles
Sometimes They Come Back 1991 TV Movie Jim Norman
Joshua's Heart 1990 TV Movie Tom
Solar Crisis 1990 Steve Kelso
Buried Alive 1990 TV Movie Clint Goodman
Nikki and Alexander 1989 TV Movie Alexander
Little White Lies 1989 TV Movie Dr Harry MacRae
Body Wars 1989 Short Captain Braddock
The Littlest Victims 1989 TV Movie Doctor James Oleske
Speed Zone 1989 Jack O'Neill
Just in Time 1988 TV Series Harry Stadlin
Trying Times 1987 TV Series Mitch
Bay Coven 1987 TV Movie Jerry Lebon
Warm Hearts, Cold Feet 1987 TV Movie Mike Byrd
Blind Justice 1986/I TV Movie Jim Anderson
George Burns Comedy Week 1985 TV Series
Fletch 1985 Alan Stanwyk
Obsessed with a Married Woman 1985 TV Movie Tony Hammond
The Best Legs in Eighth Grade 1984 TV Movie Mark Fisher
The House of God 1984 Roy Basch
Impulse 1984 Stuart
Up the Creek 1984 Bob McGraw
To Be or Not to Be 1983 Lt. Andre Sobinski
Tucker's Witch 1982-1983 TV Series Rick Tucker
Listen to Your Heart 1983 TV Movie Josh Stern
Bus Stop 1982 TV Movie Bo Decker
A Little Sex 1982 Michael Donovan
1941 1979 Capt. Loomis Birkhead
The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again 1979 Pvt. Jeff Reed aka Capt. Phillips
Dreamer 1979 Dreamer
Almost Summer 1978 Kevin Hawkins
Animal House 1978 Eric Stratton
Insight 1972-1978 TV Series Kevin Crowley / Chris (Jesus) / Don Talbot / ...
How the West Was Won 1978 TV Series Curt Grayson
Black Sheep Squadron 1978 TV Series Lt. Cmdr. Bud Warren
What Really Happened to the Class of '65? 1977 TV Series Jay Miller
Mary White 1977 TV Movie William L. White
Hawaii Five-O 1977 TV Series Brent Saunders
The Captive: The Longest Drive 2 1976 Quinton Bodeen
The Quest: The Longest Drive 1976 TV Movie Quentin Beaudine
The Quest 1976 TV Series Quentin Beaudine
Visions 1976 TV Series Amy's Husband
The Quest 1976 TV Movie Quinton Beaudine
The Hemingway Play 1976 TV Movie
Jigsaw John 1976 TV Series Nick Pappas
Rhoda 1976 TV Series Michael Stearns
Petrocelli 1976 TV Series Mike Fisher
Three for the Road 1975 TV Series Tom Aberling
The Runaway Barge 1975 TV Movie Danny Worth
The Last Day 1975 TV Movie Emmet Dalton
Remember When 1974 TV Movie Warren Thompson
Police Story 1974 TV Series Allen Rich
The Magician 1974 TV Series Jerry Purcell
Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law 1971-1974 TV Series John Peterson / Gerry Collier / Jim McGuire
Magnum Force 1973 Sweet
Kung Fu 1973 TV Series Lt. Bill Wyland
Medical Center 1973 TV Series Sam Miller
The Wide World of Mystery 1973 TV Series Tommy
Bonanza 1972-1973 TV Series Griff King
The Smith Family 1972 TV Series Mark
Ironside 1972 TV Series Darryl Podell
Here's Lucy 1972 TV Series Peter Sullivan
Night Gallery 1971 TV Series Henley (segment "Logoda's Heads")
The Bold Ones: The Lawyers 1971 TV Series Miles Baker
The D.A. 1971 TV Series Howard Goodman
Lock, Stock and Barrel 1971 TV Movie Clarence Bridgeman
Hitched 1971 TV Movie Clare Bridgeman
Room 222 1971 TV Series Jerry Cates
Matt Lincoln 1971 TV Series
Bracken's World 1970 TV Series Teek Howell
San Francisco International Airport 1970 TV Series
The Virginian 1969-1970 TV Series Jim Horn
How to Commit Marriage 1969 David Poe (as Tim Matthieson)
Adam-12 1969 TV Series Leroy Samuel Rutherford
Trial Run 1969 TV Movie Delivery Person
Yours, Mine and Ours 1968 Mike Beardsley (as Tim Matthieson)
Young Samson & Goliath 1967-1968 TV Series Samson
NBC Children's Theatre 1967 TV Series Randy
The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Chinese Junk 1967 Joe Hardy (as Tim Matthieson)
Divorce American Style 1967 Mark Harmon (as Tim Matthieson)
Space Ghost 1966 TV Series Jace
Summer Fun 1966 TV Series Eddie Thompson
Thompson's Ghost 1966 TV Movie Eddie Thompson
O.K. Crackerby! 1965 TV Series Huntington Hawthorne III
Jonny Quest 1964-1965 TV Series Jonny Quest
Sinbad Jr. 1965 TV Series Sinbad Jr.
The Farmer's Daughter 1964 TV Series Jimmy
My Three Sons 1962-1963 TV Series Wheels / Gibbs / Alan Edgerton
Leave It to Beaver 1962-1963 TV Series Michael Harmon
Ripcord 1963 TV Series David
Window on Main Street 1961 TV Series Roddy Miller (1961-1962)
Fantasia 1940 Narrator (1985 version) (voice, uncredited)
6 Balloons 2017 post-production
Snowfall 2016 TV Movie filming George Miller
Killing Reagan 2016 TV Movie Ronald Reagan
Motive 2016 TV Series Brent Rodman
Last Chance for Christmas 2015 TV Movie Reginald Buckley
Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest 2015 Video The President (voice)
Hart of Dixie 2011-2015 TV Series Dr. Brick Breeland
Tom Green Live 2014 TV Series
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 2013 TV Series Oliver Tate
Burn Notice 2008-2013 TV Series Larry Sizemore
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 2012-2013 TV Series Brad Chiles / Deputy / Evil Fred / ...
Talker 2011 TV Movie Ronald Reagan
No Strings Attached 2011/I Eli's Dad #2
White Collar 2010 TV Series Edward Walker
American Pie Presents the Book of Love 2009 Video Alumnus Guy #4 - Special Appearance

Director

Director

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Taken 2017 TV Series 1 episode
Person of Interest 2016 TV Series 1 episode
Lucifer 2016 TV Series 1 episode
The Last Ship 2015 TV Series 1 episode
Hart of Dixie 2012-2015 TV Series 8 episodes
Wild Card 2014 TV Series episode director - 1 episode
Drop Dead Diva 2011-2012 TV Series 2 episodes
Criminal Behavior 2011 TV Movie
Suits 2011 TV Series 1 episode
Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior 2011 TV Series 1 episode
Persons Unknown 2010 TV Series 1 episode
Covert Affairs 2010 TV Series 1 episode
White Collar 2010 TV Series 1 episode
Burn Notice 2007-2010 TV Series 5 episodes
The Good Guys 2010 TV Series 1 episode
Greek 2009 TV Series 1 episode
Dirty Sexy Money 2009 TV Series 1 episode
Psych 2007-2009 TV Series 3 episodes
Criminal Minds 2006-2009 TV Series 2 episodes
Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia 2009 Video
True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet 2008 TV Movie
Bionic Woman 2007 TV Series 1 episode
Eureka 2007 TV Series 1 episode
Traveler 2007 TV Series 1 episode
Just Legal 2006 TV Series 1 episode
The West Wing 2006 TV Series 1 episode
Augusta, Gone 2006 TV Movie
Killer Instinct 2006 TV Series 1 episode
E-Ring 2005 TV Series 1 episode
Threshold 2005 TV Series 1 episode
Las Vegas 2005 TV Series 2 episodes
Cold Case 2004-2005 TV Series 4 episodes
Numb3rs 2005 TV Series 1 episode
Without a Trace 2003-2004 TV Series 3 episodes
Third Watch 2003-2004 TV Series 3 episodes
Ed 2003 TV Series 1 episode
Threat Matrix 2003 TV Series
The Twilight Zone 2003 TV Series 1 episode
Hell Swarm 2000 TV Movie
In the Company of Spies 1999 TV Movie
Buried Alive II 1997 TV Movie
Tails You Live, Heads You're Dead 1995 TV Movie
Breach of Conduct 1994 TV Movie
St. Elsewhere 1984 TV Series 1 episode

Producer

Producer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Augusta, Gone 2006 TV Movie executive producer
Cold Case 2004-2005 TV Series producer - 11 episodes
Breach of Conduct 1994 TV Movie executive producer
Blind Fury 1989 producer

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Entertainment Tonight 2016 TV Series Himself
The Doctors 2016 TV Series Himself
Home & Family 2013-2016 TV Series Himself - Guest / Himself
Today 2016 TV Series Himself - Guest
DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: The Story of the National Lampoon 2015 Documentary Himself / Actor / Director / ...
National Geographic Explorer 2011 TV Series documentary Narrator
John Belushi: Dancing on the Edge 2010 Himself
Texas Monthly Talks 2010 TV Series Himself - Interviewee
Biography 2010 TV Series documentary Himself
15 Unforgettable Hollywood Tragedies 2009 TV Movie documentary Himself
To Be or Not to Be: Brooks and Bancroft - A Perfect Pair 2009 Video documentary short
Animal House: The Inside Story 2008 TV Movie Himself
Dinner: Impossible 2007 TV Series Himself
Nature 2005 TV Series documentary Narrator
101 Most Unforgettable SNL Moments 2004 TV Movie Himself
Unseen + Untold: National Lampoon's Animal House 2003 TV Movie documentary Himself - Interviewee
VH1 Goes Inside 2003 TV Series documentary Himself
The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn 2002-2003 TV Series Himself
E! News Live 2002 TV Series Himself
Telling the Story of Us 1999 TV Short documentary Himself
Sam Kinison: Why Did We Laugh? 1998 TV Movie documentary Himself
The Yearbook: An 'Animal House' Reunion 1998 Video documentary Himself
E! True Hollywood Story 1998 TV Series documentary Himself
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno 1996 TV Series Himself
Showbiz Today 1996 TV Series Himself
One on One with John Tesh 1992 TV Series Himself
CBS This Morning 1989-1991 TV Series Himself
Into the Night 1991 TV Series Himself
The Horror Hall of Fame 1990 TV Movie documentary Himself - Presenter
Steven Spielberg: An American Cinematheque Tribute 1989 TV Movie Himself
The Pat Sajak Show 1989 TV Series Himself
Stand-up Comics Take a Stand 1988 TV Special documentary Himself
The Merv Griffin Show 1985 TV Series Himself - Interviewee
The Making of 'Up the Creek' 1984 TV Short documentary Himself
Dinah! 1979 TV Series Himself
The 5th Annual People's Choice Awards 1979 TV Special Himself - Winner: Favourite Non-Musical Motion Picture
The Hollywood Squares 1976 TV Series Himself
Battle of the Network Stars 1976 TV Special Himself - NBC Team
Shindig! 1964 TV Series Himself - Commercial Spokesman

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
What If...? 2009 TV Series Voice Talent
The Making of '1941' 1996 Video documentary Himself (uncredited)
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1982 TV Series Private Jeff Reed

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
2003 Primetime Emmy Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series The West Wing (1999)
2002 Primetime Emmy Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series The West Wing (1999)


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#Fact
1 He played Lieutenant Andrei Sobinski in To Be or Not to Be (1983) while his 1941 (1979) co-star Robert Stack played him in the original version To Be or Not to Be (1942).
2 Shot his entire part in Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia in two days.
3 Lives in Los Angeles, California.
4 He met his first wife Jennifer Leak when they were co-stars in the movie Yours, Mine and Ours (1968).
5 When he originally auditioned for Animal House (1978), the producers wanted him to play one of the no-nonsense. straight-laced Omegas. However, he adamantly refused, saying, "I'm tired of playing it straight," and sought a role as one of the hard-partying, fun-loving Deltas. He succeeded and got the role of Otter, one of the most fun-loving Deltas of the whole film.
6 Shares his birthday with Val Kilmer.
7 Played a character with the surname Stratton in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) and then a character trying to romance a beautiful young woman whose surname was Stratton in 1941 (1979).
8 Worked with John Belushi, John Candy, Sam Kinison, and Chris Farley, all (legendary) overweight comic actors who died at a young age
9 For years after playing ladies'-man Otter in Animal House (1978), he had to explain to disappointed fans that, no, that was only a character he played, and he couldn't really offer them sexual advice.
10 Son: Cooper Matthieson (b. 1994).
11 Daughters: Molly Matthieson (b. 1986), Emma Matthieson (b. 1988).
12 Served in the USMC reserves.
13 Was the voice of Jonny Quest in the Jonny Quest (1964) series.
14 Born at 9:00pm-PST.

#Quote
1 (2009, on The West Wing) So dear to my heart. The finest group of actors, the best directors, the best writers... as good as any that I've ever worked with. The funny thing about it is-and I don't know what Aaron Sorkin says about it-but I'm convinced it was a comedy. It's a very intellectual and cerebral comedy, but it was SportsNight in the White House. It had an energy and a vitality and an intelligence and a passion that's rare. And it was extremely difficult to do, because they were so demanding about the dialogue. You had to say it exactly as written, to the punctuation. And if you didn't, you'd do it again. But it was so worthwhile. It was one of the few times you realize, "I should say this dialogue the way it's written, because it's exactly right."
2 (2009, on The Quest) I learned a hell of a lot from my co-star, Kurt Russell. He's one of my closest friends and was one of my best teachers. He was the pro. He approached it like a baseball player. Acting is a contact sport to him. He's one of the most optimistic, fun, wiseacre type of guys I've ever have run into. You can't be pompous around him. I used to take acting so seriously, but after we did the Quest pilot and the show sold, Kurt said, "You know, you work too hard. You'll make yourself sick. You can't work that hard doing a series, because it goes on so long. It's like a baseball season. You've got 162 games. You can't just go all-out the first week or two. You can't maintain that pace." And it's true. Then he said another brilliant thing. He had starred in umpteen movies by that point. And he said, "Generally speaking, in every film I've done, there are only about three or four scenes that I can really do something with. For the rest of it, it's not so much that you don't have to prepare, but there's not much you can really do. You just do what is asked of you in those scenes. You don't want to do too much." He's so smart. It was a great insight. You don't hear technical stuff like that taught in acting school. It's the kind of sage wisdom coming from a guy who was 25 at the time, but already had 20 years of experience. He's a wonderful actor and a great guy. The Quest was a treat.
3 (2009, on Charlie Hoover) That could've been a good show if we'd done it before an audience. Sam Kinison was so charismatic, but he needed an audience. It would've been so much better if we'd gotten away from all this special-effects nonsense of having him be on my shoulder. It was cute, and maybe they used that device to sell it, but we should've just done it with a live audience, because Sam was amazing in front of a live audience. What a tragic character. I just adored him, but you could just see the train wreck coming. He was one of the most compulsive people I'd ever seen. Belushi was that way, and Chris Farley was that way. He was incredibly talented and made me laugh so hard, and there was nothing he wouldn't say. Such a unique, amazing, cynical, realistic, but still optimistic look at life he had. It was great fun to get to know him.
4 (2009) I was born and raised in L.A. My father was born and raised in L.A. So we're old hands here... I always wanted to be an actor. I was one of those lucky kids-or cursed kids-who always knew what he wanted to do. My wife too. She's a ballet dancer, and she's known what she wanted to do since she was 5. My mother used to tell this story about how our TV set had been taken to be repaired, and back then, they took the set out of the console. So there was this empty console with an empty TV screen in it, and I would climb inside and be like, "I'm on TV!"
5 (2009, on Animal House) That wasn't too long after The Quest. I was just dying to get out of the constraints of television, and the constraints of the parts I'd been playing. I had taken a bunch of improv classes and was performing with The Groundlings. I wanted to get into more adult, risky stuff. I had read the Animal House script, and by hook and crook, I finally got an audition. I'd been turned down by them a couple of times, and offered a lesser role as one of the asshole Omegas. I said, "No way." Then I finally got the audition, and it was a great one. John Landis followed me out into the hallway afterward and said, "I've never done this before, but you've got the job. Now don't tell anyone!" I've never had a director do that. It was one of those Hollywood-dream-come-true stories. They saw me as a surfer or cowboy, not a preppie, but someone begged and borrowed me an audition, and I went in and got it. And it was one of those dream jobs where the cast came together and you looked around and were like, "Wow, this is great."
6 (2009, on Leave It To Beaver) I was so star-struck, meeting Jerry Mathers. He invited me to his house for a party after I did like three episodes over the course of a season, and I remember thinking, "This is it, man. This is the Hollywood life! I'm an actor and I'm going to Jerry's party. This is how it begins!" I was 13 or 14, and I thought this was the beginning of something. And I kept thinking that with all those first jobs, "This is the beginning of something!" And then nothing would happen. That's the real Hollywood.
7 (2009, on Jonny Quest) That was one of the most fun things I ever did, and I gotta tell you, I worked with some of the best actors I've ever worked with: Mel Blanc and Don Messick. They could play a scene against themselves. Think of the characters that Mel created, and they're as good or better than any performance anyone has ever given. I mean: Daffy Duck! Think of the specific voice Mel gave Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny or Porky Pig... It's just astonishing. When I did Jonny Quest, I was in that gawky stage between kid and adult. I wasn't working much. So I focused on studying, and I really learned what it means to be an actor. And here I was on Jonny Quest,working with all these great people from back in the golden age of Hollywood, who came up doing radio. These were journeymen, working actors. It made me proud, and gave me some insight into what acting was really about if you weren't a star. Though you know, they used to send a car for Mel and Don every day. Don lived up here in Santa Barbara. They would drive him down and he would go from studio to studio and job to job all day long. Then the limo would drive him home at night, because he was such a valuable commodity. Mel was equally as talented or even better. It was a great education.
8 (2009, on 1941) It had a lot of us Animal House guys in it. And working with Spielberg, how bad could it be? But it was one of those excessively big movies where every action scene was done and re-done and re-done again. It was so overproduced and overly expensive. And it wasn't terribly funny. I must say Steven was great to me, and I loved working with him. He called me up on the phone and was like, "I want you to be in this movie. There are a couple of parts. You can take whichever one you want. One of them is a main character who is involved in everything, and there's another character who has his own storyline and goes off on his own. He's probably the funnier, more unique character." I said, "Well let me do that second one." When we started shooting and I read the script, I realized "They could cut this part out in a second." But he's great. Steven's one of the most visually talented and character-oriented directors I've ever worked with. And I learn from him every time I watch one of his movies. Good or bad-and he has made some awful movies-they're never uninteresting. He's made four or five of the greatest movies of all time. Perfect movies, like E.T. or Schindler's List or Saving Private Ryan. I also think Duel is perfect for a television movie. I liked Munich a lot too. So whenever I study a genre of filmmaking, he's the first guy I go to. Even Catch Me If You Can, which is a very lightweight kind of thing, if you just look at the economy of the way he designs his shots and works around actors, the craft is amazing.
9 (2009, on Fletch) I got to work with one of my dear friends, Michael Ritchie, who ended up being my next-door neighbor for several years. And Chevy Chase, finally. I'd known Chevy a bit, but I'd never gotten to work with him. Chevy had been a bad boy with a drug problem, and had never really realized his potential. Fletch was the first movie he sort of straightened up on. And Michael was Harvard-educated, 6'6", a brilliant director and political thinker. He was the guy the studio thought could handle Chevy, and keep him in check. And he could. He'd shoot the movie the way he wanted it, then do one take for Chevy. When I worked with Chevy, he'd say, "Just ad lib and try to break me up. Just insult me. Anything." When we were doing his close-up, or when my back was to the camera, I would come up with jokes or quips or anything, to get a real reaction out of him. He was smart enough to know that was gold. So it was great fun working with him and Michael, and getting to see how the two worked together. I think Fletch and Clark Griswold were Chevy's two best roles. He's so incredibly talented and still vastly underused. I don't even know what he's doing now.
10 Some directors just shoot characters walking around a set, and they think that's all they have to do. That's not it. Howard Hawks and John Ford knew where to put the camera. They knew if the camera was here or there, it tells the story better. And, early on as an actor, I remember sometimes thinking that I'd given a good performance in certain shows, but then when I finally saw my work, it wasn't particularly dynamic. There were flat shots, the directing wasn't very good ... But when I'd work with better directors, who'd stage my scenes differently, who use stronger camera angles, and -- perhaps even though I didn't give what I thought was the best performance -- the result was more dynamic and effective. And I thought, "Ah-ah! He made me a better actor by what he did as a director." So I think my job as a director is to help the actor give his or her best performance, as well as frame it in such a way to enhance whatever they do to create a stronger impact.
11 [on starting out in his career as a child actor] Kurt [Kurt Russell] taught me a lot. Basically, Kurt left the business for about five years. He made a lot of money as a kid, then sort of went to be a baseball player. And after that he focused on skiing ... bought a house in Aspen and skied ... And he didn't care about it. My point is that you have to have a real life. I also think one has to reinvent oneself as a performer every five to seven years. I look at my career, and I was a kid actor who did cartoons, then I was a Western actor as a young man, then I was a comedy actor in movies, then a TV-movie actor, then a TV director ... There are different phases ... But I think one has a shelf life of about five to seven years where you're in a series, or you play a character, or you hit in a movie -- and that sort of wears out its welcome after a certain point. Then you've got to put it on its head, reinvent it, find a new approach, otherwise you're just stuck being that guy who did that thing back then. So I've always sought out new challenges. Also, I've tried to have a home life and a family. I raised my kids up in Santa Barbara and got away from the city of Los Angeles so that [the environment] wasn't so crazy for them to grow up in.
12 I've stolen something from every director I've worked with. As an actor and a director, you steal from the best. And there's no reason why any shame should be attached to it.


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