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Last Updated: 8 April 2002


Yahoo / TVGen Chat with Richard Burgi - February 1, 1999

  (Thanks to Kay Lynne for the transcript)
TVG_Michael:
Welcome Richard, glad you could join us tonight.

 
Richard:
Greetings humans!

 
Gilly_M_99:
If you weren't an actor, what would you like to do?
Richard:
I would like to be a fireman. Or a forest ranger. Or a spoiled rich kid who surfs all day. No really, I would like to teach the world to sing... Honestly, I would be a musician. I play the drum, but I would love to be really good.

 
draven_lady:
Your brother, Chuck, was in one of my favorite bands in the 80s--Rainbow. What is he up to now? He's an awesome drummer!
Richard:
He is spectacular. He is now touring with Enrique Igliasias. Departing from Chicago as we speak and going to Chile. A lot of guys from Billy Joel's band put together Enrique's band. He is quite a heartthrob and a nice guy. He puts on a good show and has some great musicians.

 
saristeve5:
Hi Richard, thank you for a wonderful, wonderful show. Here in Israel we have seen 3 seasons. I can't wait for the 8 episodes to come. You are great. Q: Many people on this chat would like to meet you. Are there any famous people you would like to meet? thank you for your time. Take care.
Richard:
That is very very sweet. Hmm. I would love to meet President Clinton and the Heads of State of most countries. I would also like to meet international crime bosses. My good friend Dori's father who started a Kibbutz over in Israel. Who survived some very interesting and rather scary circumstances growing up. He seems like an interesting person, but he doesn't come to the States.

 
linda301a:
What scene or episode was the most difficult for you to play?
Richard:
A lot of the stuff with Jeri Ryan because it was so tedious and I guess I was a little embarrassed. A lot of the stuff having to deal with the mythology of the Sentinel because I didn't always agree with the writing.

 
DevilsAd_255:
How would you sum up your philosophy of life?
Richard:
Be true to yourself. Be kind to living things. Try to be present. And dance a lot.

 
lislemojin:
Are you comfortable with this expansion of Jim's Sentinel abilities?
Richard:
Yeah. I think there was a need for him to expand because he was approaching critical mass with all this stuff that was thrown to him. And he never developed much of a sixth sense nor much of a colorful personality.

 
BlairAngel_1::
Are you intrigued with the spiritual side of the sentinel/guide bond, and are there plans to delve into this aspect of the show?
Richard:
I am intrigued by the concept of the sentinel. I am intrigued at a lot of the areas the show could go and the potential of expanding the relationships within the character structure. More romps, more fun, more insanity. Bring on the noise.

 
Adonis_in_Boxers:
Jim seems to be a master of repression--are we going to see him remember some of the events when he was a Ranger in Peru?
Richard:
I think that was one of the things I was referring to about lack of color on a lot of levels. Less is more in the case of Jim and I think that it gives him a place to go in the future to slowly unfold the many layers of his life flower.

 
Gilly_M_99:
Do you think UPN's support of the show has been better this year?
Richard:
That is hard for me to answer. I don't really know. There seems to be more energy behind the show now. And there seems like it has been more than in the past. Now meaning the last couple of months.

 
bratsey:
What has your reaction been to the fan rally and other efforts to save the show?
Richard:
Gratitude. Elation. Humbleness. Shock. It's been great.

 
Jim_and_Blair_Forever:
Are there going to be any strains the Jim-Blair relationship dynamics in the upcoming episodes?
Richard:
Yes. Oh yeah. Big time. He done me wrong.

 
wicce26:
The one liners between Blair and Jim are hilarious! Will we be seeing more light-hearted episodes in the future?
Richard:
There is a couple. There is one coming out that is really fun. Sorry, I just had to take a picture of my wife and son in the setting sun.

 
frasierocks:
What episode is your favorite? Why?
Richard:
I have had great times with some guest stars and not enjoyed the episodes as much. The episode when my son was born I only worked three days. That was a good one. Probably my favorite. They shot around my absence. I love working with a director named Tim Van Patten. He and I did an episode written by a friend named David Thoreau. Any of the shows when we were outside a lot I liked.

 
DevilsAd_255:
Who was your favorite guest star from 'The Sentinel'?
Richard:
A fellow who played my brother. One of my closest friends. Brian Fitzpatrick. I love working with Tim Thomerson. There has been so many, I've had so much fun it is hard to recall. I try to make having fun with the guest stars a priority.

 
McVey21:
Who was the niece you referred to in the ep 'Prisoner X'?
Richard:
That's a tightly-guarded family secret.

 
Brak_L:
I know this is an inane question, but I have to know. Who's idea was the floral apron in 'Poachers'? You looked really good in it, BTW.
Richard:
It must have been a director wardrobe alliance. I had nothing to do with it. Never pose any objections.

 
akablonded:
Richard, you're in remarkably wonderful physical condition. What do you do to keep in shape?
Richard:
I do wind sprints to the bakery. I do a lot of 12 ounce curls. I box, my favorite sparring partner is Johnny Walker. On the serious side, I surf, I ride a bike, I do yoga. And I make love to my wife as much as possible when she doesn't reject me. And I play with my son. I go to the gym once in a while.

 
duranee2:
Why do you surf? I mean, I love the ocean and all, but the thought of getting out there on a small piece of fiberglass isn't the first thing that comes to mind. What got you started?
Richard:
It was one of the few things in life that I knew I was going to do. I always hated surfing growing up and anything to do with it. I was a purist and I hated anything coming between me and the water. But one day it just came to me and I knew I was going to surf. Just like I was going to become an actor. Now I go out there and it is like my chapel. It is really sublime. You feel estatic and scared, knowing you are not at the top of your food chain. I feel exhaulted with anticipation with the ride from nature's exotic forces. It is a type of meditation for me. and being in the moment is tantamount to having a fun and safe experience. And a transcendental experience as well. It is also an area where I can overcome fear or face my fear, I should say.

 
gail11803:
Richard, when did you first become interested in acting? Is anyone in your family in the entertainment business?
Richard:
We used to put on skits when we were kids. My father and mother were involved in local theater and did some plays in high school. My first play was 'Peter and the Wolf.' I was the wolf and devoured my neighbor. I grew up in a theater household. I remember writing comedy sketches in the 3rd grade with my friend, Buddy.

 
akablonded:
Richard, did you do any legitimate theatre when you were on the East Coast?
Richard:
Yes, I was involved in various off off Broadway houses, local theater in NJ and NY.

 
SueWalker99:
Do you do any method-acting techniques for the heightened senses stuff? Imagine what it really feels like?
Richard:
Actually, I do every now and again. I studied the Method approach if you will for quite a while. But I try not to get into my head too much when I work.

 
_lulu_2:
What is the most interesting rumor you have heard about yourself since becoming a TV star?
Richard:
I don't pay much attention to rumors. Hmm. What would it be? That I once swallowed a beagle puppy whole. That was a rumor.

 
Brak_L:
What has been your most positive interaction with fans? Conversely, what has been your worst?
Richard:
My most positive interaction to fans has been seeing them at conventions and feeling their joy and love of the show. Also, when they come to the set and have the sense of reverence for the set and the people involved. So my positive experience with fans overall has been appreciation for what we do. My most negative experience is when a fan wrote me and requested that I pay his mortgage. Also, when I lived in a house in southern California, and I had a kind of zealot fan who wrote me and requested some very strange things; and the letter came to my house. I've had to move since that happened.

 
Gilly_M_99:
Do you keep all your press clippings?
Richard:
No.

 
coupede:
Did you have a great time driving the train on 'Crossroads'?
Richard:
That was tremendous! Oh yeah. I grew up next to the train track and always had an affinity for the 'big boys.' By that I mean trains.

 
Caorann:
Richard, I know you worked with Robert Vaughn in the episode 'Dead Certain.' I loved him in 'Man from UNCLE.' What was it like working with him?
Richard:
He is a very interesting character... very dry sense of humor, and he has a very mischievous side to him.

 
coupede:
What was the most valuable lesson you learned when you acted on soaps?
Richard:
Know my words. Hit my mark and try to be present. And don't act. And try not to date two girls on the same show.

 
frasierocks:
Did you have to audition for the UPN movie 'I Married a Monster'?
Richard:
No.

 
Brak_L:
How much leeway do you have in creating some of Jim's quirks (i.e. the apron, the white socks, the books he reads onscreen)?
Richard:
I get a lot of input and if the director or producers what him to go a certain way and it makes sense to me, I allow for a collaborative effort. I try to bring in a lot of my own ideas of what Jim is.

 
angiejohn:
You obviously work hard in both acting and the production side of the show. Which role to you prefer and why?
Richard:
I prefer just being an actor. Because it is one of those places I can get lost in the moment--in the fantasy. I enjoy the idea behind the production but it is a very daunting task because of all the people involved. And as an actor you are a performer, and I don't mind going into the wee hours and charging hard. But it doesn't always make for a good relationship with those concerned about budget.

 
ysmccool:
Any plans to get behind the camera?
Richard:
Only if there is a truck coming at me. Not really. I don't have aspirations of being a director. But I can see where I would love to just play around with the art form. 
Spiffzoo:
Are there any practical jokers on the set? What do you do to break up the boredom?
Richard:
One of the producers is a big practical joker. Bob Hargrove is a big joker. There is a bunch of guys on set. From the sound guy to the camera guy. The key grip is a joker. Garett and Bruce are also big practical jokers. Also the teamsters. I got caught one time in a practical joke by a teamster that was probably the best. This teamster in his 60s and another teamster is up there in age. This one teamster is introducing me to this other. And then the fellow started joking about the teamster's hair. Then he finally pulled off his wig. And the one who had his wig pulled off went into this beautiful acting display, showing hurt, fury and embarrassment. I looked at the other guy wondering how anyone could be so heartless. Turned out they were both in on it. This was a normal routine they do.

 
BlairAngel_1:
What was the best practical joke you ever played on Garett?
Richard:
Doing scenes with my pants down around my ankles--it was his close-up. And sticking my tongue in his mouth when I was supposed to resuscitate him.

 
McVey21:
Would a female have been as an effective guide as Blair?
Richard:
Yes. Probably a little easier on the eye about the house.

 
Rivka_Chaya:
How has the character of Jim Ellison changed since the 'Switchman'?
Richard:
I think his edge has softened a little. He has let the colorful and flamboyant nature of Blair affect him in a positive way. Thru all the bizarre circumstances that he has been through, I guess his parameter of reality has expanded. And he has become devastatingly handsome--in a Goofy-Pluto-Daffy Duck sort of way.

 
Shallan21:
How much have you been allowed to change/modify the character of Jim over the last 3 years?
Richard:
I have tried in small increments to bring more well rounded, multi-dimensional personality to the character. But there are times when I really want to expand and run with an idea re: character potential that didn't work with the producers.

 
frasierocks:
What attracted you to the character of Detective James Ellison?
Richard:
The fact that he was handsome, masculine--no just kidding. That he was stoic. Had a real edge to him. Had some skeletons and was a good onion for me to peel. And in the process, I looked forward to the shedding of tears that accompanied the peeling of the onion.

 
Gilly_M_99:
Did you know 'The Sentinel' doesn't show in Australia? Could you put in a good word for us?
Richard:
It doesn't show in Australia!! Oh my God. I would think it would do well. I heard that it did. I didn't know that it wasn't playing. Maybe you should move to a city that has modern conveniences. Maybe getting a TV would help with that problem!! Yeah, really, I thought it was. Actually, I had heard that they played it twice a day.

 
Myrnal_2_3:
What's the goofiest thing you've considered doing for a role?
Richard:
I have done some goofy things for auditions. The goofiest thing I considered doing was driving into the studio naked and just be in that space--to feel what it would feel like to experience that. Talking to the security guard nude and going into the meeting nude. I like the idea of driving around nude. In a pickup with tools in the back.

 
Kristy_4:
How do you feel about The Sentinel's chances for renewal?
Richard:
I feel like I would like to go back to work because I love the people I work with. I love the potential of the show. I feel it should be given the opportunity because it is a good show.

 
SapphireDove:
Do you have any projects lined up for hiatus?
Richard:
I do. I don't have anything lined up, but I have projects I am working on. One is a young adult fare--a kids show. I have a friend I have been collaborating with (movie of the week or possible series). And also I am working on a feature.

 
MyKindaFlower:
I don't really have a question, although I may think of one later, but I did want to take a moment to say thank you to Richard for taking this time to chat with your fans! It's appreciated.
Richard:
My response is that I appreciate the acknowledgement and it is because of the fans that I am working and my love for humanity that I am in this business. If I have brightened up anybody's day or night, then I have done my good deed. My intention is to put out work that somehow touches people's souls. Thanks to everyone who has posted questions and supported the show and me as well.

 
TVG_Michael:
Thanks again Richard. Good luck with everything. Please join us again. And thanks for all of your questions.



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