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Richard Dean Anderson (born January 23, 1950) is an American television and film actor, producer and composer. He began his television career in 1976 as Dr. Jeff Webber in the American soap opera series General Hospital, then rose to prominence as the lead actor in the television series MacGyver (1985–1992). Anderson later appeared in films, including Through the Eyes of a Killer (1992), Pandora's Clock (1996) and Firehouse (1997).

In 1997, Anderson returned to television as the lead actor of the series Stargate SG-1, a spin-off of the 1994 film Stargate. He played the lead from 1997–2005 and had a recurring role from 2005–07. Since 1997, the only film Anderson has starred in is Stargate: Continuum released in 2008 as a spin-off film after Stargate SG-1 was cancelled in 2007. He appears in the follow-up Stargate series Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: Universe (as Lieutenant General Jack O'Neill).


Early life and career


Anderson on the set of MacGyver, circa 1985

Anderson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Stuart Jay Anderson and Jocelyn Rhae Carter and was the oldest of four brothers.[1] He is of Scottish, Swedish, Norwegian and Mohawk Native American descent.[2] He grew up in Roseville, Minnesota and attended Ramsey High School. As a kid, Anderson wanted to become a professional hockey player; this dream was shattered when he broke both his arms. Anderson developed an early interest in music, art and acting. For a short time he tried to become a jazz musician.[1] Eventually he studied to become an actor at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and later at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota but dropped out before he received his degree because he felt "listless". Right after his junior year in high school, Anderson participated with friends in a cross-country bike ride from Minnesota to Alaska. He then moved to San Francisco, then New York, then moved permanently to Los Angeles. At the start he was making a living with juggling among other things.[3]

Anderson's first role was in the American soap opera, General Hospital as Dr. Jeff Webber from 1976 to 1981. In 1982–1983 He starred as Adam in the CBS television series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (based very loosely on the movie of the same name). In the 1983–1984 season, he played Lieutenant Simon Adams on the 22-week Dennis Weaver series Emerald Point N.A.S. on CBS, stealing away Celia Warren (Susan Dey), the wife of naval lawyer Jack Warren (Charles Frank).[3] Anderson then played Tony Kaiser in the acclaimed TV movie Ordinary Heroes, which aired in 1986.[4]

Anderson came to fame in the lead role of Angus MacGyver in the hit television series MacGyver, which lasted from 1985 to 1992 and was highly successful throughout its 7-year run.[5] He would go on to produce two follow-up movies to MacGyver, in 1994.[1] After the cancellation of MacGyver, Anderson stated "MacGyver was seven years of being in virtually every frame that was shot and having absolutely no life at all."[6]

In 1995 he co-starred with John de Lancie in Legend, a comic series of only twelve episodes about a dime novel writer within the Wild West who against his will has to play the role of his own fictional character. Originally written as a TV movie, with the decision to make Legend a series, the original teleplay became the two-hour pilot episode. Anderson was applauded for his roles as Ernest Pratt and Nicodemus Legend by many critics, most notably John O'Connor from The New York Times.[7] Two episodes of MacGyver released in 1990 ("Serenity" (Season 5, Episode 12) and "MacGyver's Women" (Season 6, Episode 8) ) featured Wild Wild West storylines with a style foreshadowing that of the quirky Legend.

Later career

From 1997 to 2005, Anderson starred as Jack O'Neill in Stargate SG-1, based on the movie Stargate starring Kurt Russell and James Spader.[8] John Symes president of Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer (MGM) called Anderson himself and asked him if he wanted a part in the series. Anderson watched the Stargate film over and over again and came to the conclusion that the film had "great potential" and signed a contract with the Stargate producers.[9] Anderson agreed to become involved with the project if his character was allowed significantly more comedic leeway than Kurt Russell's character in the feature film. He also requested Stargate SG-1 to be more of an ensemble show, so that he would not be carrying the plot alone as on MacGyver.[10] In season eight, he chose to have his character "promoted" to base commander on Don S. Davis's advice.[11] This enabled the late Davis to retire from acting due to his ailing health, and Anderson to take over the smaller role which involved far less on-location shooting so that he could spend more time with his young daughter.[12] The following season, Anderson terminated his status as star and producer of Stargate SG-1 opting to make several guest appearances per season instead, allowing his sizable role to be filled by veteran actors Ben Browder (replacing Anderson as field commander), Claudia Black (replacing Anderson as the comic relief) and Emmy nominee Beau Bridges (replacing Anderson as Base commander).

File:Richard Dean Anderson 2004.jpg

Anderson at an event with Air Force personnel. (2004)

At the Air Force Association's 57th Annual Air Force Anniversary Dinner in Washington, D.C., on September 14, 2004, then-Air Force Chief-of-Staff, General John P. Jumper,[13] presented Anderson with an award because of his role as star and executive producer of Stargate SG-1, a series which portrayed the Air Force in a positive light from its premiere.[14] Anderson was also made an honorary Air Force brigadier general.

A great fan of the television show The Simpsons, which he had continually referenced during his time on SG-1, Anderson was invited in 2005 to guest star on the show. He voiced himself in an episode called "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore" in which he is kidnapped by Selma and Patty Bouvier, Marge Simpson's sisters, his MacGyver character having been their longstanding heartthrob.[5] Dan Castellaneta, the voice actor who portrays Homer Simpson (among other characters), made a guest appearance on Stargate SG-1 ("Citizen Joe") and, in describing his unnatural ability to see the life events of Jack O'Neill, made reference to O'Neill's fondness for The Simpsons.[15][16]

Anderson briefly reprised his role as Angus MacGyver in 2006 when he appeared in a MasterCard commercial during Super Bowl XL. While the plot follows the "MacGyver Formula", it is somewhat satirical of the series, showing unlikely if not impossible solutions to the obstacles faced by Anderson's character (in one shot, he cuts through a thick rope with a pine-scented air freshener).[17] The official MasterCard website for the commercial refers to it as "the Return of MacGyver".

Lee David Zlotoff the creator of MacGyver, announced on May 3, 2008, that a MacGyver film was in production.[18] Anderson has expressed interest in revisiting his role; however, there is no word on who will be playing the role of MacGyver in the film.[19][20]

Anderson cameoed as Angus MacGyver in what seemed to be a Saturday Night Live advertisement parody featuring the show's recurring character MacGruber (portrayed by Will Forte), but was rather a real commercial for both Saturday Night Live and Pepsi, in which the titular character becomes obsessed with the soft drink. This aired three times during the January 31, 2009 SNL broadcast, and the second part aired again during Super Bowl XLIII on the following day.[21][22]

Anderson has also played the role of General Jack O'Neill in Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe which first aired in October 2009.

Anderson will be joining the cast of Facing Kate on USA Network in Fall 2010 in a 5-episode guest performance.[23]

Producer and composer career

Anderson composed a song for a soundtrack for MacGyver. He has served as an executive producer in five shows in which he has acted himself: MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis, MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday, Stargate SG-1, Firehouse and From Stargate to Atlantis: Sci Fi Lowdown. Anderson composed the song "Eau d'Leo" for the MacGyver episode "The Negotiator".[24]

Together with Michael Greenburg, Anderson created the Gekko Film Corporation. The company was involved with Stargate SG-1, producing every episode from 1997–2007 with the exception of 2006. The company itself has served as Anderson backing agency.[25]

Personal life

Anderson has divided time between Vancouver, Los Angeles, and northern Minnesota.[3] Never married, Anderson has one child with Apryl Prose, who gave birth to their daughter Wylie Quinn Annarose Anderson, on August 2, 1998. (He and Prose later split in 2002, sharing custody of Wylie)[citation needed]

Anderson left Stargate SG-1 because he wanted to spend more time with his daughter:[24]

"Being a father, well, I don't know if this is a change, but it makes me want to get out of here faster. Get off the clock. Just 'cause the baby is my reason for living, my reason for coming to work."

Anderson has supported Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization trying to stop water pollution.[26] Anderson is a member of the Board of Trustees for Challengers Boys and Girls Club, a youth organization established in 1968 with the help of MacGyver producer Stephen Downing, and featured in an episode from season 4. He received the 1995 Celebrity Award from the Make-a-Wish Foundation because of his commitment to the foundation. He is also a supporter for various Sclerosis Society non-profit organizations and has done several public service announcements to show his support for the various organizations. Anderson is an avid supporter of the Special Olympics and was one of many speakers at the 1991 opening ceremonies. In recent years, he has helped several environmental organizations around the world. He is a member of Board of Advisors of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and has worked with the members of Earth Rivers Expeditions to Produce River Project.[27][28]


Film, Television and Video Games
Year Title Role Notes
General Hospital Dr. Jeff Webber TV series
1982 Young Doctors in Love Drug Dealer uncredited
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Adam McFadden TV series
1983 Emerald Point N.A.S. Navy Lt. Simon Adams TV series
1983 DC Cab Bad Guy
MacGyver Angus MacGyver TV series
1986 Ordinary Heroes Tony Kaiser
1986 Odd Jobs Spud
1992 In the Eyes of a Stranger Jack Rourke TV
1992 Through the Eyes of a Killer Ray Bellano TV
1994 MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis Angus MacGyver TV
1994 Beyond Betrayal Bradley Matthews TV
1994 MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday Angus MacGyver TV
1995 Legend Ernest Pratt/Nicodemus Legend TV series
1995 Past the Bleachers Bill Parish TV
1996 Pandora's Clock Capt. James Holland TV
1997 Fallout: A Post-Nuclear Role-Playing Game Mayor Killian Darkwater (voice) video game
1997 Firehouse Lt. Michael Brooks TV
Stargate SG-1 Colonel/Brigadier General/Major General Jack O'Neill (USAF) (main cast member 1997–2005, recurring 2005–2007) TV series
2008 Stargate: Continuum Major General Jack O'Neill, USAF Direct-to-DVD movie
2010 Facing Katie David Smith TV series (for 5 episodes)
2011 MacGyver Angus MacGyver
TBA Stargate: Revolution Lieutenant General Jack O'Neill, USAF Direct-to-DVD movie
Television Guest Appearances
Year Title Role Notes
1981 Facts of Life, TheThe Facts of Life Brian Parker 2.16 "Brian and Sylvia"
1981 Today's F.B.I. Andy McFey "The Fugitive"
1982 Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat Carter Randall 5.24 "Isaac Gets Physical/She Brought Her Mother Along/Cold Feet"
1990 Arsenio Hall Show, TheThe Arsenio Hall Show Himself
1990 Joan Rivers Show, TheThe Joan Rivers Show Himself
1991 Joan Rivers Show, TheThe Joan Rivers Show Himself
1991 Arsenio Hall Show, TheThe Arsenio Hall Show Himself
1992 Arsenio Hall Show, TheThe Arsenio Hall Show Himself
1996 Late Night with Conan O'Brien Himself
1997 Newton's Apple Himself
1998 Late Night with Conan O'Brien Himself
2000 Donny & Marie Himself
2000 Martin Short Show, TheThe Martin Short Show Himself
2000 National Geographic Explorer Himself "North America's Last True Wilderness"
2004 Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, TheThe Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn Himself
2004 Stargate Atlantis Brigadier General Jack O'Neill, USAF 1.1 "Rising (Part 1)"
2005 Stargate SG-1 Major General Jack O'Neill, USAF 9.1 "Avalon (Part 1)"
2005 Stargate SG-1 Major General Jack O'Neill, USAF z9.3 "Origin"
2006 The Simpsons Himself (voice) 17.17 "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore"
2006 Stargate SG-1 Major General Jack O'Neill, USAF 10.6 "200"
2006 Stargate Atlantis Major General Jack O'Neill, USAF 3.6 "The Real World"
2006 Stargate Atlantis Major General Jack O'Neill, USAF 3.10/3.11 "The Return"
2007 Stargate SG-1 Major General Jack O'Neill, USAF 10.14 "The Shroud"
2009 Stargate Universe Lt. General Jack O'Neill, USAF 1.01 "Air", 1.07 "Earth"
2010 Stargate Universe Lt. General Jack O'Neill, USAF 1.18 "Subversion", 1.19 "Incursion Part 1"
2010 Saturday Night Live Angus MacGyver MacGruber skits
Year Title Role Notes
1994 MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis Executive Producer TV
1994 MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday Executive Producer TV
1997 Stargate SG-1 Executive Producer TV series
1997 Firehouse Executive Producer TV
2004 From Stargate to Atlantis: Sci Fi Lowdown Executive Producer TV
Year Title Notes
1988 MacGyver TV series (song "Eau d'Leo" in episode "The Negotiator")


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Richard Dean Anderson". Hollywood. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  2. "Richard Dean Anderson Trivia and Quotes on". Retrieved 2010-08-18. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Nathan Southern. "Richard Dean Anderson". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  4. Pal Erickson. "Ordinary Heroes". Allmovie. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Plans underway for MacGyver movie". BBC. 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  6. Tim Appelo. "Gate Crasher". Entertainment Weekly!. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  7. John Connor (1995-04-18). "Television Review; A Writer Becomes His Hero In 1876". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  8. Norma Cavazos. "`Murder, She Wrote' Film May Air This Fall". The Dallas Morning Times. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  9. "Richard Dean Anderson — Interview". Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  10. Eramo, Steven (2002). "Richard Dean Anderson – Mr Anderson – Colonel O'Neill". TV Zone (Special 46): 4–9.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  11. "Don S. Davis ~ General Discussion ~ An Interview by M R Reed". Retrieved 2010-08-18. 
  12. Gibson 2003, p. 66, p. 117.
  13. Thar, Doug (September 9, 2004). "Air Force to honor actor, producer". Air Force Link. Archived from the original on 2007-12-30. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  14. Haugsted, Linda (2004-09-20). "Through the Wire". Multichannel News (Reed Elsevier Inc). Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  15. "Dan Castellaneta". The Films. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  16. "Simpsons' features Alberta museum". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-04-13. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  17. "Richard Dean Anderson as MacGyver in MasterCard Commercial". Richard Dean Anderson Forever. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  18. "In brief: MacGyver creator talks up film". London: The Guardian accessdate=2009-04-11. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  19. "New Line Gears Up For 'MacGyver' Film". Attack of the Show! – The Feed accessdate=2009-04-11. 
  20. "Comic Con: Richard Dean Anderson Talks MacGyver Movie". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  21. "Super Bowl Commercial: Pepsi – "Pepsuber"". Beverage Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  22. "Is Saturday Night Live leasing its sketches to advertisers?". CBC News. Associated Press. 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  23. Posted by DarkUFO (2010-06-23). "Richard Dean Anderson To Recur On New USA Series". Spoiler TV. Retrieved 2010-08-18. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Richard Dean Anderson". Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  25. "Gekko Film Corporation". Variety Magazine. Retrieved 2009-04-11. [dead link]
  26. "Richard Dean Anderson". Look To the Stars. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  27. "Richard Dean Anderson". Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  28. "'MacGyver' tackles seal hunt". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2005-03-08. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 

External links

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