Saturday, April 3, 2010

Is Highest Paid "Per Hour" Really "Highest Paid"?

Actor John Forsythe died yesterday at the age of 92.  I never watched Dynasty as a kid and very little of Charlie's Angels.  But from his 1 minute obituary aired on ABC World News last night (which you can watch HERE), he sounded like a very accomplished man who had a distinguished career.

But I'm not sure that ABC News' reporting about his death last night was quite as distinguished.  When mentioning his role as the unseen, mysterious "Charlie"on Charlie's Angels they noted, "that role made him the highest paid actor on television at the time."  I was sort of only half listening to the news in the background, but that caught my attention.  The highest paid actor on TV?  When he never appeared onscreen in Charlie's Angels, but only talked to the "Angels" for a minute or two via speakerphone at the beginning and end of each episode?  That shocked me.  There must be an interesting story behind how that came to pass.

Well, as it turns out, that's not really true.  He was the highest paid actor on TV alright, but only on a "per hour basis," when factoring in that he recorded his dialogue for each episode in a matter of minutes apparently, while the actors appearing on-screen in Charlie's Angels, like Farrah Fawcett, worked 15 hours a day plus a couple of hours of make-up.

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