Thursday, May 5, 2016

Seven Things to Know about Bill Bixby

1. Bill Bixby starred in five prime-time television series: My Favorite Martian (1963-66); The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1969-72); The Magician (1973-74); The Incredible Hulk (1977-82); and Goodnight, Beantown (1983-84).

2. Bixby became life-long friends with Ray Walston, his "uncle" on My Favorite Martian, and Brandon Cruz, who played his son on The Courtship of Eddie's Father. Cruz guest starred on a 1978 episode of The Incredible Hulk. He named a son after Bixby (Lincoln Bixby Cruz).

3. Bill Bixby actually was a magician--an amateur one--and belonged to the exclusive Hollywood magicians club The Magic Castle. He hosted several TV specials featuring magicians and appeared in a supporting role in the 1976 TV movie The Great Houdini (with Paul Michael Glaser in the title role).

Bixby, as an assassin in disguise, in a
1974 Streets of San Francisco episode.
4. He was nominated for three Prime Time Emmys. His first one was in 1971 for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series for The Courtship of Eddie's Father. Both of his other nominations came in 1976. He earned one for lead actor in a guest starring role on The Streets of San Francisco (the episode "Police Bluff"); it was his second guest stint on San Francisco. He earned his second 1976 Emmy nomination for supporting actor in the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man.

5. Bixby played the part of alcoholic writer Willie Abbott in Rich Man, Poor Man. The following year, he receive a nomination from the Directors Guild of America for directing one of the "chapters" in the sequel Rich Man, Poor Man - Book II.

With Kathryn Hays in Ride Beyond Vengeance.
6. Bill Bixby usually played "nice guys"--but the 1966 Western Ride Beyond Vengeance was an exception. In its review of this film, Wildest Westerns Magazine states: "Bill Bixby shines as a psycho-sexual pretty boy who plunges a branding iron into his own stomach in a hysterical fit of remorse." The film's star, Chuck Connors, recommended Bixby for the role.

7. Bill Bixby, who died from cancer at age 59, became a highly successful television director. His credits included 30 episodes of the 1992-94 sitcom Blossom. He died six days after completing his final episode in 1993.

5 comments:

  1. The description of him in Ride Beyond Vengeance completely wrong. His character, totally vain, cracks when threatened with the Branded,um, branding iron, and shoves it in his own face. There's no remorse involved.

    Bixby had Ray Walston on The Hulk, in an episode called "My Favorite Magician".

    He sold The Hulk with his understated, David Janssen-esque performance,his character even renamed David.

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  2. I always enjoyed anything Mr. Bixby was in. A talented actor, he seemed funny and charming and a genuinely nice guy.

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  3. I never was an Incredible Hulk fan but I watched all his other series. Courtship of Eddie's Father being my favorite but Goodnight, Beantown was a charmer. He and Mariette Hartley had a great chemistry I never understood why it didn't catch on.

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  4. I always thought Bill had a sweet "boy next door" charm. I haven't seen "Ride Beyond Vengeance" but it sounds like he would have had fun playing against type.

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  5. I always felt that Bixby's other Streets of San Francisco appearance, as a hired assassin in the 1974 episode "Target: Red", was far better than the one he was nominated for.

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