Friday, September 01, 2017

Tribute 2017: Richard Anderson (1926 - 2017)

A beloved figure in science fiction film and television has passed away. 

The press is now reporting the death of Richard Anderson, a man beloved by my Generation (X) for his performances as Oscar Goldman -- the kindly head of the O.S.I. -- on The Six Million Dollar Man (1973-1978), and The Bionic Woman (1976-1978).  

At the height of distrust of government in America, because of the Watergate Scandal, Anderson's Oscar Goldman painted a picture of incorruptibility, decency, and competence.

Richard Anderson was heralded in the seventies as the first actor to play the same role in two series running at the same time. Memorably, Oscar Goldman was so ubiquitous a presence on seventies TV that Anderson's character was released as a Kenner action figure -- with exploding briefcase! -- in the Kenner Six Million Dollar Man toy line.

Yet Richard Anderson was much more than Oscar Goldman. He appeared in the beloved science fiction movie that introduced the world to Robby the Robot: Forbidden Planet (1956).  Opposite Leslie Nielsen and Warren Stevens, his scenes mostly saw him working on the bridge of the cruiser C-57D.

Richard Anderson also starred as the villain, an immortal man craving more life, in the second Kolchak TV movie of the early 1970's, 1973's The Night Strangler.

Throughout his long and impressive acting career, Mr. Anderson appeared on just about every important genre series of the '60s and '80s, from Mission: Impossible and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to Knight Rider and Airwolf.

Mr. Anderson contributed enormously to cult-film and television. His presence will be greatly missed. My deepest condolences go out to his family and loved ones at this time.


  1. My fave childhood toy? Oscar Goldman and his exploding briefcase. RIP.

  2. Richard Anderson will always be remembered for his wonderful work.


  3. I am second to none in my love of Richard Anderson; but I think Frank Candy played the same character in three series (Green Acres, Petticoat Junction and The Beverly Hillbillies) at the same time -- a decade earlier!

    Always thought Anderson added a touch of class. I remember him on the Hollywood Squares (they asked him a question about Ian Fleming), I thought he was the only 'star' who had possibly read a book...

  4. Sheri3:55 PM

    I loved Richard Anderson in his most memorable role in The Six Million Dollar Man, of course, but he was also unforgettable as a commercial spokesman: doesn't anyone else remember him as the Shell Answer Man?!

    Seriously, being Oscar Goldman made him a TV icon, but Richard Anderson was one of those actors who guest starred on nearly every TV show from the late 1950's onward and appeared in a fair number of movies in character roles that were down the page but far above "man on phone" in billing. I think his first permanent casting in a TV series was as the chief in "Dan August" with Burt Reynolds, one of my favorite shows.

    Richard Anderson had a kind of nondescript look about him, an everyday normal appearance, but nevertheless somehow memorable enough that you said, "Hey, it's that guy . . ." whenever he appeared.

  5. Thanks Mr. Anderson.