Monday, August 12, 2013

"Webster" & "Things Were Rotten" co-star Henry Polic II Dies at Age 68

Henry Polic II

After a long battle with cancer, I am so sorry to have to announce this morning the death last night of my pal and client of nearly 30 years actor Henry Polic II.

Henry, who found television pop culture fame as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1975 Mel Brooks television series "When Things Were Rotten" and as Uncle Jerry Silver in the 1980s television series "Webster," was 68.

Henry was also a prolific and popular television game show player and host, having been a semi-regular on both "The $25,000 Pyramid" and its later incarnation "The $100,000 Pyramid," both hosted by Dick Clark. Henry also hosted the 1986 ABC-TV game show "Celebrity Double Talk" and found cult fame as the voice of the Scarecrow in the 1990s "Batman: The Animated Series."

In 2011, Henry joined me for a chat about his life and his career journey for four segments of our Web TV series "Inside the Business of Acting." I'm happy to share segment one with you here. The three that follow are available on-demand through links at

A memorial scholarship fund has been established in Henry's name at his beloved alma mater to provide funding to assist the School of Theatre's annual production of new works. Contributions can be made by contacting Fred Salancy at

Henry, you are already missed ... XX

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Fame and the evolution of an actor -- and a ground-break television series ...

I was a big fan of the 1970's ground-breaking comedy series "Soap." 

In 1977, before moving to Los Angeles, I got to interview series creator and producer Susan Harris for my WBZ Radio/Boston interview show. 

Then, in 1992, we were lucky enough to have series star Robert Mandan pay us a visit on "Lemack & Company Live," our little Beverly Hills-based coffee shop chat show. We talked about his life before, during and after his role as Chester Tate. We just added that interview to our collection.

Robert's story is an interesting on in the discussion of a career journey. He was a seasoned New York-based actor prior to coming to Los Angeles, where sit-com fame came to him. 

Much like other strong, comedic television characters (Carroll O'Connor's Archie Bunker, Jean Stapleton's Edith Bunker, Sherman Hemsley's George Jefferson and Isabel Sanford's Weezy Jefferson come to mind, among others), Mandan's "Soap" fame got him typecast in his Chester Tate character persona.

Fame ... It's an odd dilemma. Robert talks about what happened to him, casting-wise, post-"Soap" in our interview.

You can view a promo clip on YouTube.