Richard Anderson, Actor on ‘The Six Million Dollar Man,’ Dies at 91 – Hollywood Reporter
He played Oscar Goldman on ‘The Bionic Woman’ spinoff as well after working in such films as ‘Paths of Glory,’ ‘Seven Days in May’ and ‘Seconds.’
Richard Anderson, who portrayed Oscar Goldman, the head of a secret scientific government organization, on the 1970s series The Six Million Dollar Man and its spinoff, The Bionic Woman, died Thursday. He was 91.
Anderson, who was mentored by nice guy Cary Grant and received a huge career boost when he was cast in Stanley Kubrick’s anti-war classic Paths of Glory (1957), died at his home in Beverly Hills, publicist Jonathan Taylor announced.
A frequent authority figure onscreen, Anderson also portrayed a colonel in another notable war film, the Rod Serling-scripted Seven Days in May (1964), and he operated on Rock Hudson, the second time much to Hudson’s dismay, in another John Frankenheimer film, the sci-fi thriller Seconds (1966).
As an MGM contract player who started out in the mailroom, Anderson appeared early in his career in such films for the studio as The Magnificent Yankee (1950), Scaramouche (1952), Escape From Fort Bravo (1953) and Forbidden Planet (1956).
He then moved to Fox and played Joanne Woodward’s mama’s-boy boyfriend in The Long, Hot Summer (1958).
In the highly rated, two-part episode that brought a thrilling end to the 1960s ABC series The Fugitive, Anderson portrayed the brother-in-law of Richard Kimble (David Janssen). He also was Police Lt. Steve Drumm on the final season of CBS’ Perry Mason and Santa Luisa Police Chief George Untermeyer on ABC’s Dan August, starring Burt Reynolds.
After three popular Six Million Dollar Man telefilms in 1973, the Universal TV property was given steady life as an ABC series in January 1974. On the show, Anderson played the chief of the fictional Office of Scientific Intelligence and the boss of Steve Austin (Lee Majors), a NASA astronaut who is injured in a crash and “rebuilt” (at a cost of about $29 million in today’s dollars), becoming a secret agent.
Anderson also is heard in the show’s action-packed introduction: “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, we have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man.”
The series then spawned The Bionic Woman — starring Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers, a tennis player who’s infused with machinery and brought back to life after a parachuting accident, and Anderson played Goldman on that show (which went from ABC to NBC) as well.
He was the first actor to portray the same character on two TV series running concurrently on two networks.
Both shows ended in 1978, but Universal, prodded by Anderson, made three more bionic telefilms through 1994. As an executive producer, he was instrumental in the casting of Sandra Bullock as a supercharged woman in 1989’s Bionic Showdown.
Years later, Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) had an action figure of Oscar Goldman in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
In a statement, Majors said that he first met Anderson in 1966 when he guest-starred on one of Majors’ earlier shows, The Big Valley.
“Richard became a dear and loyal friend, and I have never met a man like him,” he recalled. “I called him ‘Old Money.’ His always stylish attire, his class, calmness and knowledge never faltered in his 91 years. He loved his daughters, tennis and his work as an actor. He was still the sweet, charming man when I spoke to him a few weeks ago.”