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Richard Dean Anderson BiographyThe future MacGyver and Stargate SG-1 star was born on January 23, 1950 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His father, Stuart Anderson, was a teacher at a local high school teacher and his mother, Jocelyn, was an artist who was talented in both sculpting and painting. He and his two younger brothers, Thomas John and James Stuart, grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis called Roseville. During his childhood and teenage years, he developed a love for sports, music (especially jazz) and acting.
Richard dreamed of becoming a professional hockey player as a teenager, a dream shared by his future Stargate SG-1 co-star Michael Shanks. However, this was not to be as, at age sixteen, he broke both of his arms in separate incidents, the second of which was so bad that he had to be hospitalized for three months. Although his dream became an impossibility, he never lost his love for the sport. Richard was very much a restless teenager, having many adventures hitch-hiking on the open road. This sense of adventure is most evident from his 5,641 mile bicycle trip from his home in Minnesota to Alaska. While accompanied by several friends at the beginning of this trip, he traveled the last thirty-three days alone. This experience gave him a more centered sense of direction in his life.
After studying drama at St. Cloud State University and at Ohio University without completing his degree), he briefly moved to New York before settling in Los Angeles where he worked as a juggler, a street-mime and in a Renaissance-style cabaret. He worked briefly in Marineland where his jobs included holding fish in his mouth which killer whales would leap up and catch. Subsequently, he appeared in plays and formed a rock band called "Rick Dean and the Dante" with his friend Carl Dante for which he sang and play the guitar.
His big break came in 1976 when he was cast in the popular daytime drama General Hospital as Dr. Jeff Webber. He continued to portray the role for five years until he felt it was time to move on to prime-time drama. He made numerous guest appearances in series such as The Facts of Life and The Love Boat and was cast as the star in two CBS series, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Emerald Point N.A.S., however both only lasted one season.
His next big success came in 1985 when he won the role as the title character in the ABC adventure series MacGyver. He was cast because the producers were impressed by the lack of pretension he showed at his audition. As he is nearsighted, it was necessary for him to wear his glasses for the reading. The series lasted seven seasons and ran for 139 episodes. It was hugely successful throughout its run and continues to be popular all over the world. He reprised his role in two TV movies, MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis and MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday which were produced by his own production company, Gekko Film Corp, which he co-founded with Michael Greenburg.
Having made a huge impression in Ordinary Heroes as a blinded Vietnam veteran struggling to rebuild his life in America, he moved on to TV-movies after MacGyver ended such as In the Eyes of a Stranger, Through the Eyes of a Killer , Beyond Betrayal, Past the Bleachers and Pandora's Clock. He was particularly impressive in Past the Bleachers in which he played a grieving father struggling to come to terms with his young son's death.
He returned to series television in 1995 when he was cast as Ernest Pratt/Nicodemus Legend in Legend, an adventure series which aired on UPN. He also served as executive producer of the series where one of his co-stars was his close friend John de Lancie. His character was a dime novelist (Pratt) who took on the persona of the protagonist in his novels (Legend). The series was primarily a comedy, a blend of the Western and science fiction. It is also Richard's favorite role to date.
He found major success again when cast as Colonel (later Brigadier General) Jack O'Neill in Stargate SG-1, an adventure/science fiction series based on the blockbuster Stargate starring Kurt Russell and James Spader. The series began filming in Vancouver on February 19, 1997 and premiered on Showtime on July 27, 1997. The series has remained extremely successful since then which eventually resulting in the creation of a spin-off series Stargate: Atlantis in 2004 and the now canceled video game _Stargate SG-1: The Alliance (2005) (VG)_ in 2005. Both series currently air on the Sci-Fi Channel. There have been rum ours of a film and another spin-off series in recent years. Richard's role in the series was substantially reduced in its seventh and eighth seasons which culminating in his departure from the series in 2005.
He has never married but his dated many women including actresses Teri Hatcher, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sela Ward and German ice-skater Katarina Witt. Since 1996, his partner has been Apryl Prose who is the mother of his only child, Wylie Quinn Annarose Anderson who was born on August 2, 1998. Like her father and grandfather (who passed away in 2003), she is fond of jazz. Because of his young daughter, he has temporarily taken a break from acting in order to spend time with her and help her develop.
Richard has made it a point throughout his career in choosing roles that demonstrate his versatility as an actor. Many of his characters, particularly MacGyver and O'Neill, are strong characters, although tormented by personal tragedies such as the death of family members and friends, can continue on bravely and valiantly.
TriviaIs on the board of directors of "Handgun Control, Inc". In the TV show "MacGyver" (1985), his character always refused to use guns. Had dreams of playing professional hockey until he broke both of his arms during separate games. He then turned to acting. Had band called Ricky Dean and Dante during college years. When he was 17, he rode his bike 5,641 miles from Minnesota to Alaska. He started out with some friends but travelled the last 33 days alone. Along with Michael Shanks, he is one of only two actors to appear in the pilots of "Stargate SG-1" (1997) and the spin-offs "Stargate: Atlantis" (2004) "SGU Stargate Universe" (2009). Although he has never appeared on any "Star Trek" series, he has shared scenes with regulars from all five "Star Trek" series. Has appeared in the pilots of seven different series: "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1982), "Emerald Point N.A.S." (1983), "MacGyver" (1985), "Legend" (1995), "Stargate SG-1" (1997), "Stargate: Atlantis" (2004) and _"SGU Stargate Universe" (2009)_ The latter two are the only ones on which he was not a regular. His favourite TV show is "The Simpsons" (1989). Played his most famous character, Angus MacGyver, a total of 142 times: in all 139 episodes of "MacGyver" (1985) and in two TV-movies, MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis (1994) (TV) and MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday (1994) (TV). The only characters he has played more times are Dr. Jeff Webber in "General Hospital" (1963) and Colonel/Brigadier General Jack O'Neill in "Stargate SG-1" (1997). He briefly reprised the role in a 2006 Superbowl TV ad for Mastercard. Went to Alexander Ramsey High School in Roseville, Minnesota. His "Stargate SG-1" (1997) character Colonel/Brigadier General Jack O'Neill was ranked #10 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends" (1 August 2004 issue). Has appeared in episodes of two different series entitled "The Enemy Within" and "Last Stand": "MacGyver" (1985) and "Stargate SG-1" (1997). At the Spacey Awards 2005, he won the Favourite Male TV Character award for his portrayal of Colonel/Brigadier General Jack O'Neill on "Stargate SG-1" (1997). The other nominees were Scott Bakula (Captain Jonathan Archer of "Enterprise" (2001)), Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor of "Smallville" (2001), Edward James Olmos (Commander William Adama of "Battlestar Galactica" (2004)) and Chris Kramer (Morgan Pym of "The Collector" (2004)). From the time he first appeared on television in 1976 until his "retirement" in 2005, he was a regular on one series or another every year except for 1984, 1993, 1994 and 1996: "General Hospital" (1963) from 1976 to 1981, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1982) in 1982, "Emerald Point N.A.S." (1983) in 1983, "MacGyver" (1985) from 1985 to 1992, "Legend" (1995) in 1995 and "Stargate SG-1" (1997) from 1997 to 2005. He has appeared in episodes of four different series based in Colorado, USA: "MacGyver" (1985), "Legend" (1995), "Stargate SG-1" (1997) and "Stargate: Atlantis" (2004). Has three younger brothers: Jeffrey, Thomas and James. In 1985 was voted Sexiest Survivalist by People Magazine. Reprised his role of MacGyver in The Simpsons in April 2006. He played himself, Richard Dean Anderson, who is desperately fanned by Patty and Selma (who have been obsessive MacGyver fans throughout The Simpsons series). Anderson disappoints the women by saying that he only did MacGyver for money and is more interested in Stargate SG-1, after which Patty and Selma kidnap him and force him to play MacGyver again and to escape from traps. After a while Anderson gets so keen about actually trying to be MacGyver that he starts to harass Patty and Selma. Finally Patty and Selma get sick of "that nut-case" and get rid of him by boring him with their holiday slide shows. He was considered for the part of John McClane in Die Hard (1988). He has played the same character, Colonel/General Jack O'Neill, in three different television series: "Stargate SG-1" (1997), "Stargate: Atlantis" (2004) and "SGU Stargate Universe" (2009).
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