|David Hedison (photo courtesy|
of Diane Kachmar).
Café: You studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio and won a Theater World Award for A Month in the Country, directed by Sir Michael Redgrave. What are some of your favorite stage roles and why?
David Hedison: A Phoenix Too Frequent--it was one of the few roles I really thought I grasped and did justice to. I also was fond of what I did in Two Gentlemen of Verona. Of course, A Month in the Country launched my Hollywood career, so that role was probably the most important one I ever did.
Café: In your films, you've worked with actors such as Vincent Price (The Fly), Robert Mitchum (The Enemy Below), and Claude Rains (The Lost World). Who were some of the actors you most enjoyed working with in your movies?
|Claude Rains and David Hedison|
in The Lost World (1961).
Café: What prompted you to change your professional name from Al Hedison to David Hedison?
DH: That was NBC's dictate in 1959 when I did a series they bought. I thought it was stupid then, but I was under exclusive contract to 20th Century-Fox and had no say in the final decision. So I became David Hedison and now everyone asks me why. It gets tiresome.
|Hedison with Richard Basehart in Voyage.|
Café: You’ve listed as a favorite Voyage episode “The Phantom Strikes” (which guest starred Alfred Ryder as a U-boat commander trying to “take over” Captain Crane). Are there any other episodes that you recall fondly?
|Hedison as Captain Lee Crane in "The Human|
Computer" from the season 1 DVD set.
Café: You worked with Irwin Allen on Voyage, The Lost World, and the made-for-TV movie Adventures of the Queen. What was he like?
DH: Allen was an incredible salesman--he could sell the studio almost anything. Irwin was very good to me. He would always hire me, even though we hardly ever agreed on how I was to the play the role. He wanted me to play a straight, no-nonsense hero. Which I could do, but I never found that kind of role interesting to me as an actor. I prefer to play someone more emotional, more connected, someone with flaws. But I always did whatever job I was hired for and Allen knew he could count on me to show up and do it.
Café: You and your wife Bridget will celebrate your 45th anniversary this year. Congratulations! How did the two of you meet?
DH: I was scouting locations for an independent film I made in Italy in 1968. She was dancing with my location manager--they were at this supper/dance club in Positano, Italy. I knew right away she was the one, but Bridget had to be persuaded to date an actor. I asked her to dance with me that night because it was my birthday...and she said yes. It took another year to persuade Bridget to accept my marriage proposal.
|Live and Let Die with Jane Seymour,|
Roger Moore, and Hedison.
DH: Tom Mankiewicz (the screenwriter of Live and Let Die) thought I would be a great Felix Leiter. He set up a meeting for me in London and I got the part. I was supposed to do the film with Sean Connery, but he dropped out and then they cast Roger Moore. That made it very easy for me to do the role as Roger and I had been friends for over a decade at that point. They called me back for Licence to Kill. They had an idea that they wanted to re-use a previous Felix. I was at the Bistro Gardens restaurant in Beverly Hills with my wife. Cubby Broccoli was there with his wife, also having dinner. I waved, but didn't go over. Cubby stopped by my table on the way out--we were friends--we talked a bit and he left. A few weeks later, I got a call in Florida (where I was doing a play with Elizabeth Ashley) and was asked to come back--on my day off--for a meeting with the director in Hollywood. I got the part.
Café: Having worked with Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton, who is your favorite 007?
DH: Roger Moore is a great friend of mine, so that is not a fair question. Roger had his way with the role. That worked for him. Timothy brought his own working style to his take on the role. I was able to work easily with both of them. Roger was less work for me, since I knew him so well. Timothy was very serious about the role and worked hard. We talked and found our relationship and everyone likes what we did in that film. Licence to Kill was very gritty and scores very high in polls among the fans, much more now than it did when it came out.
|Jeanne Cooper and Hedison on|
The Young and the Restless.
DH: I loved working with both ladies. We truly became a family, because all three of us believed in it. Jess (Walton) was lovely, so giving, and Jeanne (Cooper) was so into her role as Katherine Chancellor. It was a real pleasure to go work with them every day.
Café: Are there any current projects or appearances you’d like to share with our readers?
|With a fan at Crypticon in 2012|
(photo courtesy of Diane Kachmar).
For more information on David Hedison, please visit the web site www.davidhedison.net. You can friend David Hedison on Facebook. Unless otherwise noted,
all photos are courtesy of www.davidhedison.net.