Brandon Cruz is not a fan of Hollywood, and it’s not because after spending three years costarring on The Courtship of Eddie’s Father he felt abandoned by the system, tossed aside and lost himself in drugs and alcohol. Admittedly, all of that is true — more on that to come — but in this case, it’s about the man who played his father on the show, the late Bill Bixby. More specifically, his feeling that the Hollywood community has turned their back on him.
“I think he’s sadly overlooked,” says Brandon, 56. “If you think about the talent that he had and what he brought to audiences — if the ultimate goal of Hollywood and television is to reach a vast audience and sell commercials, in his time no one did it like Bill. He’d go from show to show and they were all high quality. It wasn’t crap. It wasn’t crazy. Bill brought a certain class to it and Bill never did anything that kids couldn’t watch. As crazy as his private life might have been, publicly and professionally he was pretty much a goodie goodie.”
Bixby, recently profiled by us through the eyes of his friends and coworkers, first came to the public’s attention as the costar of My Favorite Martian, moving on to The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, The Magician, The Incredible Hulk and Goodnight, Beantown, before shifting over largely to directing, particularly Mayim Bialik’s Blossom. In between, he made numerous appearances on other TV shows, films and on stage.
“Bill,” Brandon points out, “gave a lot of people their first break; he brought me on to Courtship of Eddie’s Father and I was untrained. I was just a kid. Lou Ferrigno was just a weight lifter and, yeah, a famous one, but he owes his entire career to Bill and The Incredible Hulk.”
Brandon brings this up because he remembers the moment he discovered that Bixby didn’t have a star on the Hollywood Walk of fame. “I was with some friends and they asked me, ‘Where’s Bill?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ We went to one of those kooky stores on the Boulevard that gives you a map of where the stars were. He wasn’t on it. How did Bill not have a star?”
For the answer to that question and so much more about Brandon’s life and experiences with Bill Bixby, just scroll down!
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