Архивы блога - THE CATASTROPHIZER
 
I realize this countdown is trying the patience of those who would be more excited about Murder, She Wrote if Jessica Fletcher had started, say, making and selling meth during a strangely dark sixth season. I realize that I now have fewer readers than this ACTUAL WEBSITE dedicated to itemizing and appreciating Jessica Fletcher's wardrobe choices (my thanks to Stripes for venturing into the dark heart of the online Fletcher fan community and returning with that link—and, presumably, a more sophisticated aesthetic sense). But if there's one thing, one thing, I start and then successfully finish in my life, it will be this list of magnificent Murder, She Wrote guest stars.

And we're almost there, because we're at number 2, and this list will absolutely end at number 1. And #1 is even better than #2--which is amazing, considering #2 is Andy Garcia.

It was the very first episode of Murder, She Wrote, and Jessica, suddenly thrust into the spotlight and a murder investigation after publishing a bestselling book, takes to wandering the streets in search of malefactors. And because this is 1984 in New York City, she ends up being menaced by thugs. And because every actor celebrated in 1990 had to have been somewhere in 1984, one of those thugs was played by Andy Garcia.


[I did not take or write on that photo: I got that photo from YET ANOTHER BLOG ENTIRELY DEDICATED TO MURDER, SHE WROTE.]

His name was "1st White Tough"
Picture
The man with the less thuggish hat is Ned Beatty.
He offers, in a VERY MENACING WAY, to give Jessica a "free blood test," but she is rescued by "Black Youth" before he can do so. You'll note that Garcia is sporting the very same hat he will later wear in The Godfather: Part III.

And "2nd White Tough" also made something of himself, in that he recently appeared in a film called Mansion of Blood with both Gary Busey and Robert Picardo.


 
I spend a lot of time on imdb.com. That's how I know whom the guy who played Fritz on The Closer was once married to (Teri Hatcher), who Rachel Weisz parents are (mother Edith = Austrian psychoanalyst, father George = Hungarian inventor), and who was unexpectedly vegetarian (Dennis Weaver). I don't even have to be particularly interested in someone to imdb him or her—it's a reflex action now, like blaming my parents for not being Hungarian inventors.

And it's my imdb habit that resulted in my knowing about the obscenely successful secret life of a one-time Murder, She Wrote guest star. I watched an episode from 1989 called "Class Act" a while ago and decided to see whether anyone who appeared in it had ever worked again. A number had gone on to play roles with more descriptive credit lines ("Santa Fe woman"), or to become Rashida Jones's uncle, or to continue to be Robert Pine, but one of them, whom I had unfairly and prematurely consigned to "Santa Fe man"-ness in my mind turned out to have made a not-too-shabby life for himself.

I could find not one photo of him from Murder, She Wrote, despite the fact that this role is one of the least impressive of his career. So I'll have to show you an up-to-date one:
And here is another photo that better illustrates what he's been up to since playing "Bernard 'Bernie' Berndlestein" opposite Angela Lansbury:
So, yes. He directed The Men Who Stare at Goats. He is close friends with George Clooney and produces movies with him (Argo-like movies along the lines of Argo).

Imdb also tells me: "On the DVD commentary for Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005), George Clooney says that shortly after he met Grant Heslov in 1982, Heslov loaned Clooney $200.00 to buy his first set of headshots, and they have been friends ever since (and later writing and producing partners)."

Which means that Grant Heslov and George Clooney were already friends when they filmed their respective Murder, She Wrote episodes--so they can remind each other that when they said things like "I feel my artistic potential is not being fully realized through the role of Bernie Berndlestein, but I have faith that I will someday make something of myself," or "I dislike my raincoat and Buddy Hackett is all hands, but I have faith that I will someday make something of myself," they were absolutely justified in doing so.