Mr. Heckles: FRIENDS
Mr. Heckles was one of my favorite characters. He truly thinks that when he believes a wrong’s been committed (his definition of “a wrong”), as a righteous citizen, it’s his self-ordained, civic duty to stop it and make it right again (his definition of “right”). Wrong or right, he simply skates right through. Mr. Heckles is the most opinionated male I’ll probably ever play.
Old Joe: BREAKING BAD
Old Joe is as close as I could get to playing my Uncle Murray and myself on camera. My Uncle Murray and Aunt Blanche baby sat me as a kid. He took care of my Aunt Blanche, my four cousins and baby sat me by fixing and installing oil-burners and would come home at night looking exactly like Old Joe. He died a multi-millionaire because of one oil well that finally came in and he invested all that money in General Electric stock in 1950.
Gaunt Gary: STAR TREK
When I was on the road as a stand-up comedian, I dreamed of being a hot-shot pool player who also did stand-up. On the set of “Star Trek” I practiced my one cool shot all during lunch. Finally, at the end of the day, The Director set up a shot, lit it, and told me to sink a cross-bank shot. “But that’s not my-!” “We’re lit for this shot.” Dutifully, I banked the ball into the hole, the lights went out and two guys with thick work gloves carted away the table. This picture was taken right before that last shot and I was wrapped. Another Actor’s Dream denied.
Charlie Butz: ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ
My agent told me to get out to Warner Bros. in The Valley immediately. They’re casting for Clint Eastwood’s next big film. I lead-footed-it out there and was immediately called into The Room. The woman sitting next to Don Seigel, the director, asked: “Did you read the script?” “No. I just got–!” She condescendedly said, “Well, the only part still open is Charlie Butz”, and pointed out a line in the script to Mr. Seigel, saying: “The script says he’s short, bald, and wears glasses.” Don Seigel said, “The audience doesn’t have the script.” He turned to me and said, “You wanna do Charlie Butz?” Not knowing who or what, I blurted, “Yeah.” He smiled, “Okay, you got it.” I didn’t react (they never tell you that at an audition). “You think I’m kidding you, don’t you?” I nodded a disappointed, “Yeah.” “Tell you what: go home, sit by the phone and see what happens.”