August 2, 1986
Linn-Baker is No Snob About TV
By Ian Harmer
HOLLYWOOD -- Mark
Linn-Baker jokes that he needs his new ABC sitcom "Perfect
Strangers" to wind up a ratings hit to help him pay for an
He doesn't have anything
illegal, embarrassing or fattening in mind: Linn-Baker is
cheerfully hooked on stage acting. He discovered long ago
that compared to their counterparts on TV, Broadway actors take
home slave wages.
Linn-Baker first caught
Hollywood's eye when he was cast as Peter O'Toole's chaperone in
the feature film, "My Favorite Year," and when movie
studios didn't swamp him with offers, he was very happy to take
a shot at TV.
"I've been lucky
enough to get guest roles in critical hits -- shows like 'Miami
Vice,' 'Moonlighting' and 'The Equalizer' -- but I'm no snob
about TV. There's a lot of good work being done for the
tube, and ABC has given us six chances to show that 'Strangers'
is better than average.
"I certainly don't
think of myself as being poised on the brink of stardom,"
he says. "If we're a hit and the network brings us
back in the fall, I'll be pleased because after spending most of
my career so far in the theater, I'm excited at the prospect of
a regular paycheck."
"But actors learn
pretty fast not to get their hopes up too high," he
says. "'My Favorite Year' gave me a wonderful role
and I'm very proud of it. But although it's become almost
a cult classic, it wasn't a huge box-office hit, and in this
business, that's all that matters."
Strangers" teams Linn-Baker with Bronson Pinchot. The
show has been greeted by some critics as a thinly-disguised
amalgam of "The Odd Couple," "Bosom Buddies"
and "Moscow on the Hudson."
Pinchot and Linn-Baker
are, in fact, the perfect team: They are both Yale graduates,
and both are looking to the new sitcom to consolidate the impact
they made in feature films. Pinchot managed to upstage
Eddie Murphy in "Beverly Hills Cop," but, like
Linn-Baker, he wasn't deluged with scripts as a result.
"One good movie role
can, in fact, be almost a handicap," he says.
"People get the idea that whatever you did to make an
impression is all you can do.
"That's why TV
appeals to me," he says. "It gives you more