Bruin Arts & Entertainment
February 28, 1990
Pinchot has had to adjust to not being just another face in the crowd
By Shalmali Pal
Actor Bronson Pinchot used to
hate being recognized in public. I know because I once did the
About four years ago, my
friends and I were in Westwood when who should I spot through a restaurant's
picture window but Bronson Pinchot. I had to yell, "Look, there's
that guy from Perfect Strangers!" and, of course, everyone within
earshot came to gape.
He didn't look extremely
upset but he didn't look particularly thriller either. In fact, he didn't
look at all. The silent treatment at its best.
"I went through this bad
paranoid period," Pinchot said after his talk in Ackerman lounge (at UCLA)
on Monday. "All the rules are utterly destroyed when you're
Pinchot's former paranoia
grew to the point where he decided to consult a psychiatrist to ease him through
both work pressure and the fact that people were "staring at every bite I
Completely ignorant of
Pinchot's celebrity status, the psychiatrist declared him to be "very
disturbed." But a walk in downtown New York cleared up any suggestion
of mental illness when the two were mobbed by a gaggle of screeching high school
girls. Positive proof that Bronson was not in the least bit disturbed --
only a star.
"Now I approach people
first which solves 99 percent of the problem," he said.
Pinchot's being approached at
all is due, in part, to the popularity of the show Perfect Strangers and
his character Balki. The innocent sheepherder from Mypos has gained global
acceptance, especially from foreigners.
"Balki is an
amalgamation of the qualities of immigrants . . . glorifying that whole world of
immigrants," he said. "He's magical beyond good and sweet."
Pinchot's first influential
acting experience came while he was an undergraduate at Yale. He won a
part in a production of Shakespeare's As You Like It and the director was
so impressed with Pinchot's rapport with the audience he told him, "You're
worth teaching how to act." Eventually, an acting class was
coordinated around Pinchot and a few select others.
Although this may have been
Pinchot's initiation into the acting field, many others claimed the privilege of
"I've been discovered at
least five times in my career," he said referring to all his work prior to Risky
Business and up to Perfect Strangers. "After the first
time, I had to laugh."
Making people laugh is
Pinchot's specialty but he says he does have a yearning for dramatic
parts. "I like challenging roles that aren't defined around
people," he said.
For Pinchot, that was one of
the problems with his character in the film Second Sight.
"People could spot a mile off that the character was invented around
Bronson Pinchot," he said.
Having worked in both theater
and film, Pinchot said television combines elements of both -- a live audience
and the opportunity to be "almost perfect in film because you can do it
A complaint Pinchot lodges
against the television industry is its tendency to "water down" what
it presents to the viewers. "They just assume the audience has bad
taste," he said.
Writing for television or
opening an antique business are some of the alternatives to an acting career
Pinchot would consider pursuing. Pinchot said he'd even be interested in
hosting his own talk show. "It's impossible for me to shut up,"
he said. "I just turn on the ignition and go for a ride."