York Daily News - Extra
October 30, 1989
Bronson Pinchot deals with TV and Movie success - and faces down his past
Written by: Hank
Daily News Staff Writer
Coming from somebody
else - someone, say, bestowed with a cushier birth - some of what he says would
sound like self-important musings of a braggart. When those things are
said by Bronson Pinchot, however, one tends to understand, if not forgive.
The star of TV's "Perfect Strangers," you see, has the inflated
confidence of a self-made man.
He started with very
little and now has more than most would dare ask for - including an
undergraduate degree from Yale (he went on scholarship); side-by-side condos in
Malibu; an attractive brunette girlfriend named Wren who answers the door to his
hotel suite dressed in a bathrobe; and his first starring movie role, in
"Second Sight," opening Friday.
In the last, which
Pinchot helped to develop ("For writers," he says, "I can open
doors where comedy can happen"), he plays a cartoonishly drawn psychic who
works with a detective agency to ferret out bad guys. The film also stars
"Night Court"'s John Larroquette.
"This movie was
one of the first scripts actually offered to me," he says.
"Because of my TV schedule I don't get a lot - and, also, people don't know
what to do with me."
That, despite (and
because of, he feels), his scene-stealing antics in "Beverly Hills
Cops" (sic) as art gallery clerk Serge. "Not a lot of people
looked at that movie and said, 'This is a kid who can obviously invent a
character out of his head and make it happen.' Most people said, 'Oh, that
was so funny so that's obviously all he does.'"
"It's a really
sad attitude," he continues. "After that, all I got offered was that.
I got a lot of cameos or they said you can invent a funny little character, but
it's not going to be the centerpiece of the movie. But I was ready either
to be the guy who helped carry the story along or not to do it at all. I
didn't want to be just a funny little voice."
Still, it was those
funny little voices - of Serge and now Balki from "Strangers" - that
helped make him what he is today.
Pinchot was born in
New York but reared in South Pasadena, Calif., where his family moved when he
was 3. Shortly thereafter, his father abandoned the family, leaving his
working-class mother to her own devices.
"He moved us
out there," Pinchot, the second oldest son, remembers, "and then he
just disappeared. He just thought, 'Ooh, I don't like this.'"
Years would pass
between the occasional paternal visits - which never turned into particularly
happy reunions. "He never came back for any purpose except to take a
gander at us and to yell at my mother and make her freak out. It would be
for, like, an afternoon until she would finally phone the police. The last
time I saw him was perhaps four years ago," Pinchot says. "When
the show first came on he tried to get in touch and said you at least owe me
this. I disagreed but I felt sorry for him. So I went to see him and
that was it," he says with some resignation. "I really didn't
know who he was - and I didn't want to. Not after his track record."
doesn't like to live in his past. Unless, that is, the past is really
ancient history. Take, for instance, his most extravagant purchase to date
- a medieval French manuscript that cost him more, he says, than the
down-payment on his home. "Maybe someday I'll find out why I did
this," he says. "I'm still not sure. After all, I can't
even read it."
But who knows?
In time perhaps one of his funny little voices will.