Times Leader
April 15, 1986

Pinchot's Hot Career Proves He's Accent Prone

CULVER CITY, Calif. (AP) - The way he talks on the screen, you'd never know Bronson Pinchot graduated from Yale and doesn't have an accent.

And here he is, once again mangling the English language, this time as a Mediterranean goat herder in the new ABC series "Perfect Strangers."  Mark Linn-Baker is his co-star.

Pinchot plays Balki Bartokomous, who left the tiny island nation of Nipos (sic) to barge in on his American cousin, Larry Appleton (Linn-Baker), and take up residence in what Larry thought was going to be his bachelor pad.

Pinchot's first break came in "Beverly Hills Cop."  His portrayal as Serge, the gay art clerk, created a sensation.

Pinchot modeled the character's name -- and the accent -- on a boorish teacher who humiliated him during a class for aspiring waiters.

"I was taking notes and he pointed at me and said, 'Look at that boy taking notes.  How can he expect to learn to be a waiter if he doesn't look at me?'  I was so humiliated . . . "

Pinchot was born in New York City of Russian and Italian parents.  He was three when his father, a freelance bookbinder, had a yen to see California.  "He gave away all the furniture and moved his wife and four children to South Pasadena," Pinchot says.  "As soon as we got here he disappeared.  My mother went to work cleaning houses, then worked as a typist."

Despite his penurious condition Pinchot made it to Yale University.  "I got the best grades that anyone had ever heard of in high school," he says.  "My girlfriend and I tied for valedictorian.  Isn't that tacky?"

He enrolled in a fine arts course, but was soon into acting.  The chairman of the theater department told him he thought Pinchot had a future.

Pinchot may have had a premonition of that.  He checked out a copy of the script of "The Three Sisters" from the Yale Library.  The librarian warned him to be careful, it was signed by Henry Winkler, who had also studied there.

"So I quickly signed it and said it now has both our signatures," Pinchot says.