|Born||January 10 1944/1948
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
I’ve been kinda fascinated by misfits, outcasts, and downtrodden people. I’ve identified with them. ‘Blade Runner’ probably got me more work than any. It convinced some producers that I could play something other than a rural crazy, I guess.
As a youngster, I had friends who became lawyers and doctors, and I was as idealistic as anybody. When I was in the Army, I read a book by Adlai Stevenson. He said law was as noble as saving a person’s life. So at one point, I felt that way, too. But after a while, I said, ‘Let me just finish the degree. I’m getting the G.I. Bill.’
The best came from my martial arts teacher, who also taught Elvis. He said, ‘Your ego will get you killed.’
You can’t go over every beat, every second, and worry about how you can do it better – it’ll eat you alive.
In Montana, when we did ‘Return to Lonesome Dove’, we rode on the side of a hill at night in the dark; I was afraid my horse would step on one of the actors playing dead. The director said to leave it to the stunt doubles since they got paid for that.
It’s easier to play quirky characters and hide behind wardrobe and make-up, especially.
I’ve said maybe too many times that I’d rather be typecast than not cast at all.
I’m not known for my intellectual range and tricks have been played on me.
When you play so many outcasts and derelicts, or even a murderer, you need to play someone healthy.
I’m probably the most pessimistic actor I know. I’m always sure I’ll never work again.
I’m a journeyman actor, and I don’t ever want to forget that. With romantic-lead dreams.
Someone once said that Sci Fi was the modern Western. What’s my favorite? Well, anything that needs a misfit. I don’t have a real favorite. My dream is to play something different.
I kinda like where I am. If I’m recognized all the time, I have to leave better tips in restaurants.
When I was in the Army, I read a book by Adlai Stevenson. He said law was as noble as saving a person’s life. So at one point, I felt that way too.
The only consistent hobby I’ve had is studying Spanish and French because of some delusion of grandeur to work around the world. I love sports but usually I’m looking for the next job.
I like Edward G. Robinson – he started as a character actor and became a lead, which is probably why I like him.
My first western was ‘Death Hunt’ with Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin; that was where I learned to ride. The movie was based on a true story about a guy that eluded the Mounties in Canada. We were in Canada for six weeks riding horses.
I consider it probably one of the biggest honors to be in the Academy. There are only like 1300 actors in it, and as far as I know, you’re a member for life. To this day, I’m wondering how lucky I was.
‘Newhart’ ran the longest, and it was great to have a regular role, but I run into a lot of film fans, and they ask me about ‘Blade Runner.’ I was grateful to be a part of that.
Once I was in my last year of law school, I started doing plays, as I said, without taking the bar. And I got hooked. I did a play called ‘Marat/Sade’, and I never had so much fun in my life.
One night I saw Jerry Lee, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Elvis for a dollar, if you believe that, in an open-air concert. Presley, I got to meet and go into his house and so forth. My wife says I should quit tellin’ that story, ’cause they’ll know how old I am.