Richard Dean Anderson
Jan. 23rd, 1950
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
6' 1 1/2"
Richard Dean Anderson's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1982 - Young Doctors in Love
Guest TV Roles
Major General Jack O'Neill
The future "MacGyver" (1985) and "Stargate SG-1" (1997) star was born on January 23, 1950, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His father, Stuart Anderson, was a teacher at a local high school and his mother, Jocelyn, was an artist who was talented in both sculpting and painting. He and his two younger brothers, Thomas John and James Stuart, grew up in a suburb of St. Paul called Roseville. During his childhood and teenage years, he developed a love for sports, music (especially jazz) and acting.
Richard dreamed of becoming a professional hockey player as a teenager, a dream shared by his future "Stargate SG-1" (1997) co-star Michael Shanks. However, this was not to be as, at age sixteen, he broke both of his arms in separate incidents, the second of which was so bad that he had to be hospitalized for three months. Although his dream became an impossibility, he never lost his love for the sport. Richard was very much a restless teenager, having had many adventures hitchhiking on the open road. This sense of adventure is most evident from his 5,641-mile bicycle trip from his home in Minnesota to Alaska. Though accompanied by several friends at the beginning of this trip, he traveled the last thirty-three days alone. This experience gave him a more centered sense of direction in his life.
After studying drama at St. Cloud State University and at Ohio University (without completing his degree), he briefly moved to New York before settling in Los Angeles, where he worked as a juggler and a street mime and in a Renaissance-style cabaret. He worked briefly in Marineland, where his jobs included holding fish in his mouth for killer whales to leap up and snatch. Subsequently, he appeared in plays and formed a rock band called "Rick Dean and the Dante" with his friend Carl Dante in which he sang and played the guitar.
His big break came in 1976, when he was cast in the popular daytime drama "General Hospital" (1963) as Dr. Jeff Webber. He continued to play the role for five years until he felt it was time to move on to prime-time drama. He made numerous guest appearances in series such as "The Facts of Life" (1979) and "The Love Boat" (1977) and was cast as the star in two CBS series, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1982) and "Emerald Point N.A.S." (1983), but both lasted just one season.
His next big success came in 1985, when he won the role as the title character in the ABC adventure series "MacGyver" (1985). He was cast because the producers were impressed by the lack of pretension he showed at his audition. As he is nearsighted, it was necessary for him to wear his glasses for the reading. The series lasted seven seasons and ran for 139 episodes. It was hugely successful throughout its run and has continued to be popular all over the world. He reprised his role in two TV movies, MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis (1994) (TV) and MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday (1994) (TV), both produced by his own production company, Gekko Film Corp, which he co-founded with Michael Greenburg.
Having made a huge impression in Ordinary Heroes (1986) as a blinded Vietnam veteran struggling to rebuild his life in America, after "MacGyver" ended he moved on to TV movies such as In the Eyes of a Stranger (1992) (TV), Through the Eyes of a Killer (1992) (TV), Beyond Betrayal (1994) (TV), Past the Bleachers (1995) (TV) and Pandora's Clock (1996) (TV). He was particularly impressive in Past the Bleachers (1995) (TV), in which he played a grieving father struggling to come to terms with his young son's death.
He returned to series television in 1995, when he was cast as Ernest Pratt/Nicodemus Legend in "Legend" (1995), an adventure series that aired on UPN. He also served as executive producer of the series, in which one of his co-stars was his close friend John de Lancie. His character was a dime novelist (Pratt) who took on the persona of the protagonist in his novels (Legend). The series was primarily a comedy, a blend of the western and science fiction. It has also been Richard's favorite role to date.
He found major success again when cast as Colonel (later Brigadier General) Jack O'Neill in "Stargate SG-1" (1997), an adventure/science fiction series based on the blockbuster Stargate (1994) starring Kurt Russell (I) and James Spader. The series began filming in Vancouver on February 19, 1997, and premiered on Showtime on July 27, 1997 and on Fox friday nights. The series has remained extremely successful since then, eventually resulting in the creation of a spin-off series, "Stargate: Atlantis" (2004), in 2004 and the now-canceled video game _Stargate SG-1: The Alliance (2005) (VG)_ in 2005. Both series have aired on the Sci-Fi Channel. There have been rumors of a film and another spin-off series in recent years. Richard's role in the series was substantially reduced in its seventh and eighth seasons, which culminated in his departure from the series in 2005.
He has never married but has dated many women, including actresses Teri Hatcher, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sela Ward and German ice-skater Katarina Witt. Since 1996, his partner has been Apryl Prose, who is the mother of his only child, Wylie Quinn Annarose Anderson, who was born on August 2, 1998. Like her father and grandfather (who passed away in 2003), she is fond of jazz. Because of his young daughter, he has temporarily taken a break from acting in order to spend time with her and help her develop.
Richard has made it a point throughout his career to choose roles that demonstrate his versatility as an actor. Many of his characters, particularly MacGyver and O'Neill, are strong characters who, although tormented by personal tragedies such as the death of family members and friends, can continue on bravely and valiantly.
- Like his two most famous characters, Angus MacGyver of _"MacGyver" (1985)_ (qv) and Colonel/Brigadier General Jack O'Neill of _"Stargate SG-1" (1997)_ (qv), he was raised in Minnesota. MacGyver was born in Minnesota, Jack in Chicago.
- Performed as a mime before acting in television.
- Went to Alexander Ramsey High School in Roseville, Minnesota.
- Was considered for the role of Commander Benjamin Sisko on _"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (1993)_ (qv).
- Was presented with an award and made an honorary brigadier general at the Air Force Association's 57th Annual Air Force Anniversary Dinner in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, 14 September 2004, because of his role as star and executive producer of _"Stargate SG-1" (1997)_ (qv), a series which has portrayed the Air Force in a positive light since it first premiered. It was presented by the Air Force Chief of Staff, 'General John P. Jumper' (qv). The last recipient of the award was 'James Stewart (I)' (qv) in 1987.
- Along with 'Michael Shanks' (qv), he is one of only two actors to appear in the pilots of _"Stargate SG-1" (1997)_ (qv) and the spin-offs _"Stargate: Atlantis" (2004)_ (qv)_ "Stargate Universe" (2009)_.
- At the Spacey Awards 2005, he won the Favourite Male TV Character award for his portrayal of Colonel/Brigadier General Jack O'Neill on _"Stargate SG-1" (1997)_ (qv). The other nominees were 'Scott Bakula' (qv) (Captain Jonathan Archer of _"Enterprise" (2001)_ (qv)), 'Michael Rosenbaum (I)' (qv) (Lex Luthor of _"Smallville" (2001)_ (qv), 'Edward James Olmos' (qv) (Commander William Adama of _"Battlestar Galactica" (2004)_ (qv)) and 'Chris Kramer (II)' (qv) (Morgan Pym of _"The Collector" (2004)_ (qv)).
- Played his most famous character, Angus MacGyver, a total of 142 times: in all 139 episodes of _"MacGyver" (1985)_ (qv) and in two TV-movies, _MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis (1994) (TV)_ (qv) and _MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday (1994) (TV)_ (qv). The only characters he has played more times are Dr. Jeff Webber in _"General Hospital" (1963)_ (qv) and Colonel/Brigadier General Jack O'Neill in _"Stargate SG-1" (1997)_ (qv). He briefly reprised the role in a 2006 Superbowl TV ad for Mastercard.