August 26, 1986
Pinchot's Greek holiday prepped him for his 'Strangers' role
the mountains of northwestern Greece, villagers are wondering about the sanity
few weeks ago, a young fellow from the United States wandered the back
roads. He wasn't seeking his ethnic roots, didn't speak the language --
though he picked up enough to surprise himself -- wanted to know about sheep
herding and, strangest of all, bought clothes and shoes, no matter how old,
right off a man's back.
tourist was Bronson Pinchot, who was combining research and vacation before he
went back to work on the first full season of ABC's spring hit, "Perfect
Strangers," on Wednesdays at 8 p.m.
fell in love with Greece on his first visit in 1985, and if he'd listened to
friends, wary of terrorist incidents and radiation from the Chernobyl accident,
he would have stayed home this year.
Balki Bartokomous, the young immigrant who comes to American to live with his
startled American cousin (Mark Linn-Baker) in "Strangers," isn't
Greek. Balki is a shepherd from a fictitious "small Mediterranean
country," Nipos (sic), in the show.
told me to pick a country for him," said Pinchot. "Being in love
with Greece, I suggested that. But if we wanted him to do crazy things,
someone might get their nose out of joint, so we made up a country. I use
an accent that's a combination of four or five."
far, Balki has delighted and not offended, says Pinchot. "People want
to claim him, not complain. A Russian man stopped me and insisted he (Balki)
was Russian. The prop man's wife insists he's Yugoslavian."
don't make fun," Pinchot pointed out. "Balki is bright, innocent
and naive. He sees the U.S. with a fresh perspective and appreciates
things we take for granted."
Alcott Pinchot is the son of Russian and Italian immigrants. His father, a
bookbinder, borrowed the name Pinchot from a New York building.
grew up in Pasadena, Calif., and went to Yale on a fine-arts scholarship.
Painting was replaced by acting after he auditioned for a college play.
long after graduation, he landed in the movies in "Risky
Business." It was Serge, his haughty art gallery clerk in
"Beverly Hills Cop," who caught the eye of the producers of
doesn't worry that his success with Serge and Balki will box him into playing
only comic accented roles.
wouldn't mind doing another if it was good," he said. "I'm in a
position now to pick what I do, but I'm not particularly looking for a
I have to watch is that I don't do something of low quality and have people say,
'See, he's no good if he doesn't do an accent.'"