Anderson, Richard

Anderson, Richard
(August 8, 1926– )
   Winning the lead role in his high school play set Richard Anderson on his career in acting, which was temporarily delayed by World War II. After serving in the military for 15 months, Anderson attended the Actors Lab in Hollywood, under the G. I. Bill of Rights. Having kicked around in a few movie bit roles, he performed three times on NBC’s live TV screen-test program, Lights, Camera, Action, in 1949. He recalled, “Instead of making a movie screen test, you did it on live TV. It was seen by everybody in [Hollywood], because TV was very new and interesting, and everybody watched it. ”Apparently so; according to one version of the story, Cary Grant saw Anderson’s performance and called up DORE SCHARY to tell him about it. As a result of these appearances, Anderson landed a seven-year contract at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). In six of those years, he appeared in more than 25 films, before successfully petitioning MGM to release him from his contract— enabling his appearance in STANLEY KUBRICK’s PATHS OF GLORY. As Major St. -Auban, Anderson delivers a fine, solid performance as the French army prosecutor in charge of the court-martial of three soldiers. His cold, detached, matter-of-fact manner during the court-martial symbolizes the official French position toward these men, who are sentenced to death. Later, during the execution, a few subtle facial gestures show that Anderson’s character has transformed and regrets his part in the tragic fiasco. In an interview with Starlog, Anderson offers this anecdote: “United Artists [UA] didn’t like the idea of the men being executed at the end; they stipulated that the three soldiers must not die. . . . But Kubrick was absolutely adamant: to make the picture work, the men had to be killed. Kubrick sent UA a copy of the final script, and in this script the men did die. Nobody read it at UA. So Kubrick went ahead and shot it his way. Of course, when UA saw the finished picture, they saw that the men did die, but all Kubrick had to do was say,‘Look here, it’s in the final script which was approved. ’ But nobody even asked after they saw it, because they realized how powerful it was. ” This account differs markedly from the recollection of KIRK DOUGLAS, who says that Kubrick wanted the film to have a lastminute rescue to make it more commercial. Besides Paths of Glory, Richard Anderson’s bestknown films include The Long Hot Summer (1958), Compulsion (1959),Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), Seven Days in May (1964), and Seconds (1966). Anderson had wanted lead roles at MGM, but the studio used him almost exclusively as a supporting player, often in minor films. “The pressures of staying in the business demanded that you work,” he said, “that you stay on screen. So I chose to stay on the screen . . . My strategy was to work.
   Another strategy, perhaps, was to marry well. In January 1955, Anderson married Carol Lee Ladd, stepdaughter of actor Alan Ladd. The marriage lasted little more than a year. In the divorce proceedings, his wife testified, “He said I wasn’t doing anything to help his career and that he should have married someone who could help him more. ” In August 1954, Anderson romanced Barbara Warner, daughter of studio head Jack Warner, and then in 1961, he married Katherine Thalberg, daughter of actress Norma Shearer and the late Irving Thalberg (former head of production at MGM), a marriage which ended in divorce in 1972, having produced three daughters.
   After appearing in Paths of Glory, Anderson proclaimed himself a new man: wiser, more adult, more sophisticated, ready for more serious film roles than he had been dealt in the past. This was not to be, however, as the next phase of his career took him to the small screen. In the 1960s, Anderson made regular appearances on such TV series as Bus Stop, Perry Mason,The Alfred Hitchcock Hour,The Fugitive,The Mod Squad,The FBI, Mannix, and Dan August. Finally, in the 1970s, Anderson reached the height of his TV stardom portraying Oscar Goldman in The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. Strangely enough, when ABC canceled The Bionic Woman and sold it to NBC, Anderson became perhaps the only actor ever to portray the same character on two separate shows, running simultaneously, on two different networks.
   After his divorce in 1972, Anderson again proclaimed himself a changed man, all but owning up to his opportunism of the past. He told TV Guide, “I felt that all my moorings were slipping away. I turned to the scriptures and developed a faith that is strong. It’s related to everything I do. It has been an extraordinary experience—the turning point of my life. ”
   ■ “Child to Richard Andersons,” New York Times, August 21, 1962;
   ■ “Galaxy of Stars Sees Ladd Playing Father of the Bride,” UPI wire report, January 23, 1955;
   ■ Raddatz, Leslie, “He Looks Like Old Money,” TV Guide, October 18, 1975, 21–22;
   ■ “Richard Anderson — Biography,” Press release, ABC Press Relations, 1970–71;
   ■ “Richard Anderson—Biography,” Press release, ABC Press Relations, 1974–75;
   ■ “Richard Anderson,” undated press release, 1958?;
   ■ Weaver,Tom, and Jon Weaver, “Tales of the Forbidden Planet,” Starlog, July 1990, 29–33.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

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