Saturday, April 30, 2005

The dust that makes the stars shine

We watched the first few minutes of Blade Runner this AM on Satellite. (Gotta love Leon: "My mother? Let me tell you about my mother.") As the credits scrolled, I thought about William Sanderson, who played lonely replicant engineer J. F. Sebastian. Karen and I once sat next to him in the coach section of a 747. Then as now, Sanderson was better known for his role as Larry on the Newhart Show (Daryl & Daryl's brother), but I pumped him for information on Blade Runner. Yes, he thought a lot of the movie, too. No, he'd never read P. K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, but that didn't matter: Ridley Scott hadn't read it, either. I was in med school at the time, working on my MD/PhD. This really seemed to impress him. So we sat there, shooting the bull, each impressed with the other, two guys with crappy self-images stroking each other's ego. Well, maybe I'm projecting onto Mr. Sanderson . . . still, it struck me at the time that this fellow didn't have an arrogant bone in his body. Check out William Sanderson's page on IMDB. He's been busy. I wonder sometimes whether character actors get more work than the big boys and girls. From William Sanderson, my thoughts wandered off to another character actor, Ian Wolfe. Don't know the name? His filmography on IMDB lists 200 appearances, and that's not including over 80 'notable guest appearances' on TV. His career stretched from 1934 to 1990, when he made his last appearance as "Forger" in Dick Tracy. I remember that when he died in 1992, one of the local LA news anchors quoted Wolfe as having once said, "I was the dust that made the other stars shine." Still not ringing a bell? Here's a picture. And if you don't recognize him now, you're really too young to be reading this blog. D.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Maureen said...

Hi Doug - You had a crappy self-image? I won't believe it!

Nice blog. I think I'll bookmark you and come back from time-to-time.

(Even though, by your own definition, I'm way too young to read it.)

5/01/2005 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Hi Mo.

Here's my favorite poor self image story:

When I first came into town, someone from the hospital called me to do a phone interview. The hospital has a newsletter, and they wanted to do a meet-the-new-doctor spot. After getting the usual background data, she popped the question: Why did you become a doctor? My answer ran something like this:

"Like a lot of doctors, I harbor a lot of self-hatred. The only way I can keep going is to have constant reinforcement from my patients telling me how truly wonderful I am. My dependency on this reinforcement makes me a better doctor, I think."

Steely silence at the other end of the phone.

"And I like helping people."

I could hear the pencil scratching once again, along with the relieved murmur, "Like . . . helping . . . people."

I must have been in a cruel mood that day.

5/01/2005 09:18:00 PM  
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