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.