Richard Norman Anderson died yesterday, August 31, 2017 at age 91. A long and full life that brought TV fans much joy.
He was born August 8, 1926 in New Jersey. He was an Army veteran of World War II.
His most popular role was that of Oscar Goldman, head of the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI), who authorized the operation to turn Steve Austin into The Six Million Dollar Man.
Although the character was not in the pilot movie, his character (and Anderson) appeared in the second TV-movie, the television show and the sequel The Bionic Woman.
Note that when the Bionic Woman moved from ABC to NBC, Anderson became a rare trivia answer to a fun parlor game: name an actor/actress to play an identical character on two separate networks (along side Candace Bergen as Murphy Brown, Grant Gustin as the Flash and Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin – if you count the SatAm cartoon of the 70s, they have been on all three networks)!
And of course Lindsay Wagner as the Bionic Woman…
Anderson played his character with kind authority. Were the show made now the Oscar Goldman character would have been more like his predecessor from the pilot movie: Oliver Spencer – a hard beaurocrat with dark secrets and only superficial feelings for the main character. Think “Cigarette Smoking Man” from X-Files. He played his character fairly. You don’t see that on TV nowadays.
Anderson also had a recurring role as a police lieutenant on Perry Mason and was the narrator of Kung Fu. He appeared in Mission Impossible and many of the countless cop shows in the 1970s.
Personally, I still have my Oscar Madison action figure with all the accessories and the box. I wonder if he received any compensation for the use of his image as is common today?
His image was also used in the comics.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Anderson. Congratulations on a wonderful and respectful career.