- Kidsday Column
January 6, 1991
With" Bronson Pinchot
by John Savastano, Jeannette Barrett and Elizabeth Raimond
We interviewed ABC-TV's "Perfect
Strangers" star, free-spirited Balki Bartokomous, known in real life as
Bronson Pinchot, at the Regency Hotel in Manhattan, recently. He was
attending Yale University studying to be an illustrator when he discovered he
loved acting better. He loves watching "The Wizard of Oz,"
claiming to have watched it hundreds of times.
Q: Are you a public
or private person?
A: A lot of people make jokes about actors who claim to be private people.
In order to make a living as an actor, you have to have people pay attention to
you. But when I'm private I am private, and when I am public I am
public. I don't like when the two of them mix. Once I was doing a
commercial in a mall. I was trying to concentrate and a lady yelled out,
"Hey Bronson, easy money, isn't it." I thought that was
personal, and I thought that was rude. If I am in the airport trying to
say goodbye to someone I care for, and someone jams a camera in my case, I am
not happy. I am trying to have a private moment, and it is being made
Q: Did you ever
consider becoming a director?
A: Yes. Most comic actors are directors in their head because they have to
see it in their head first to make it work.
Q: Does Balki ever
take over your personality?
A: No, I give Balki parts of my personality.
Q: Who thought of
the name Mepose (sic) for Balki's country?
A: The writers thought of that name. My sister thought of the name Balki.
Q: Do you have
friends in show business?
A: No. When you do it every day, you sort of need to move away from
it. My girlfriend is a photographer. She doesn't like being around
show business people.
Q: How has being
famous changed your life?
A: People get a little scary sometimes, especially if they have seen you on TV
and feel like killing you a little bit. It really depends on what you have
become famous for. If you have become famous for being a really nice guy,
people see you that way. I think people who get famous for being a villain
are treated worse than me. Guys who play macho characters get challenged
to fights all the time.
Q: What advice would
you give to young up-and-coming actors and actresses?
A: Anyone age 10 or below should not go into acting. The whole point of
acting is to share your experiences with life. At 10, you just don't have
enough to share. School plays are fun, but being on a soap opera is not a
Q: What is your
A: I remember being a little boy watching "The Wizard of Oz" on this
cheap little TV. The bottom legs were broken, we used a broken clothes
hanger for the antenna, but it was great. My mom would run around the
corner, buy a chocolate cake, and we would turn out the lights and watch the
Q: How long does it
take to tape a show? (Editor's
note: the show was filmed, not taped)
A: Almost four hours. We film in front of a live audience.
Q: After five years,
how do you manage to keep "Perfect Strangers" interesting?
A: With eight writers, it isn't the same person thinking it up every week.
Q: Do you have a
girlfriend? Do you see marriage in the future?
A: Yes, and we will get married. (Editor's note: Bronson never did marry his
girlfriend of the time, Wren)
Q: What is your
A: I worship ice cream, and I love my mom's lasagna.
Q: Why do you love
the movie "The Wizard of Oz" so much?
A: It's a fantasy with a great story and great characters. Don't you like
it? Do you like it better than "The Little Mermaid" or "The
Terminator"? It's a movie that really works.
Q: What's wrong with
A: I think they have too much time on their hands. We didn't have
sophisticated clothing. We dressed like kids. We didn't have
electronic stimulation. You made up a game with a pile of weeds.
Today's kids have too much too early. Kids should just be kids.
You'll know what I mean when you are 31 like me.