Tuesday, August 23, 2016


I want to start by saying Steven Hill was well liked and admired as an actor and a person. I didn't know him as a friend, so my sympathies go out to his family, friends and fans.

But I did work with him on an episode of LAW & ORDER. Met him on set, and on our first take I felt like I was actually intimidating, or at least surprising him, and then he "went up" on his lines, i.e. seemingly deliberately flubbed them so the director would have to yell "Cut!" Which he did.

He seemed to be studying me while we got ready for the next take, and that time he made me feel intimidated or surprised, and I didn't dominate like I had intended to (which I thought my character would be trying to do).

It went back and forth like that, with the director telling me to loosen up, then tighten up, the producers chiming in. Way too many takes were done. Probably more than I ever did on any TV show or movie. During the whole encounter, Hill just kept staring at me with those intense eyes.

I have to admit, after a while I started doubting my choices and abilities. Finally they gave up and we moved on, but I haven't watched my work on that thing since. Just wasn't happy with the whole experience. With the exception of the lead female actor in the show at the time, Angie Harmon, I found almost everyone I encountered while working on that episode unfriendly.

I didn't work with Jerry Orbach but ran into him at the crafts services table and was happy to have the opportunity to tell him how much I dug his performance in the Broadway musical Chicago that I'd seen him do a few years earlier, and he gave me a look like I was aggravating him and walked away without even saying thank you.

Maybe there was something going on those days I worked on the show, or maybe it was always like that. I don't know. I know I sat around between takes with Angie and Sam Waterston and she was a delight, chatting and sweet, while he never said a word to me, in fact, acted as if I wasn't even there, which I thought might just be his being in character or something.

It was my first acting job in New York after almost two decades of working as an actor in L.A. I'd just returned back East. Made me wonder what I'd done.

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