November 3, 1986
Suddenly No Stranger to Success
By Tom Green
HOLLYWOOD - Bronson Pinchot
is in one of those "pinch me, is this for real?" moods that sometimes
hit when you've been real lucky.
"The last time I was in
New York," says half of the starring team of ABC's Perfect Strangers,
"I was walking down the street and I saw Sean Penn. He said, 'Hi, how
"I thought, 'Is he going
to smash me any second?' I tried to think of all the things I ever said
about Madonna. But he just said, 'Hi.' That's so cool.
"Suddenly I'm in a
ballpark of people who are incredibly groovy. I wanted to say, 'I don't
really belong here, but how are you?"
Two strokes of luck have
combined to catapult the 27-year-old Pinchot to such lofty euphoria.
First, of course, was his two-minute breakthrough part as haughty Serge, the art
gallery attendant in Beverly Hills Cop.
But second is his pairing
with Mark Linn-Baker. Playing the blind leading the blind in Perfect
Strangers, they have notched one of ABC's few hits in the last year.
The twosome is using the kind
of physical comedy in the tradition of Laverne & Shirley and Mork
and Mindy, but Pinchot swears he never watched those shows. He was in
his room studying to get the A's that got him a scholarship to Yale, where he
also never looked up from a book.
"I remember people in
college talking about Mork and I had no idea who that was."
Pinchot was so goal-directed
because he grew up without much money in South Pasadena, Calif. One of
four kids being raised by a divorced mother, he got grades so good that he was
academically intimidating to his peers. Instead of ordinary teen-age
pursuits, he collected valuable Wizard of Oz posters.
"I didn't go to parties
and dances. I used to go to conventions of rare book collectors, which I
was. I would regale people who were twice my age. Those were my
friends. I was like their little mascot."
He started out at Yale to
study art, but was immediately caught up in theatrical productions.
"I guess I had always wanted to do it. A lot of people were itching
to get out of small towns and go to college so that they could have drugs and
sex. I secretly think I went so I could do acting and sex. Which I
He also discovered that it
was easy to make people laugh. Shortly after doing a play in New York, he
was cast in a small part in Risky Business -- he opened the door to the
hookers. Then came his one day of work on Beverly Hills Cop and the
sensation it created.
In just two years, Pinchot's
life has done a startling turn-around. Now he collects 18th-century
Swedish antiques with abandon.
"Before Beverly Hills
Cop came out, my mother, who is a saint, was helping me pay my rent, was
giving me money to pay my bills and go out and see a movie. I was 25 years
old, I had no clothes. I was doing obsessive things -- overeating and not
"Now I feel great about
myself. I can go anywhere in the world that I want. And now I pay my