Lee Majors is speaking out on the death of his longtime TV co-star Richard Anderson. Anderson, who played OSI director Oscar Goldman on the 1970s TV shows The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, has died at age 91, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Anderson was best known for his role on the ABC science-fiction action series’, playing Oscar Goldman for more than 150 episodes from 1973 to 1978 and co-starring on both series at the same time for two seasons. When The Bionic Woman moved to NBC in 1977, Anderson became the first actor to portray the same character on two TV series running concurrently on two networks.
After news of Anderson’s death was announced, Lee Majors revealed that he first met Anderson in 1967 when they worked together for five episodes on The Big Valley before they reunited in 1974 for The Six Million Dollar Man. Richard Anderson later turned up in a guest role on Majors’ 1980s drama series, The Fall Guy.
“Richard became a dear and loyal friend, and I have never met a man like him,” Lee Majors told Deadline. “I called him ‘Old Money.’ His always stylish attire, his class, calmness, and knowledge never faltered in his 91 years. He loved his daughters, tennis and his work as an actor. He was still the sweet, charming man when I spoke to him a few weeks ago. I will miss you, my friend.”
In addition to Lee Majors, Anderson’s Bionic Woman co-star Lindsay Wagner also had fond memories of the late actor.
“I can’t begin to say how much I have always admired and have been grateful for the elegance and loving friendship I was blessed to have with Richard Anderson,” Lindsay Wagner said. “He will be greatly missed.”
While Majors and Wagner were the stars of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, playing bionic implant recipients Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers, respectively, Richard Anderson’s Oscar Goldman delivered the iconic opening line on The Six Million Dollar Man: “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, we have the technology…Better than he was before. Better … stronger … faster.”
The Oscar Goldman character was so popular that Kenner introduced an action figure of him in the mid-1970s. The Oscar Goldman action figure came complete with an “exploding briefcase.”
Richard Anderson also appeared with Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner in the reunion movies The Return of the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1987), Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1989), and Bionic Ever After” (1994).
In a 2015 interview with the Washington Times, Anderson talked about his real-life friendships with Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner. Anderson revealed producers sought him out for what would become his signature TV role.
“They wanted me for the role, “Richard revealed.
“They didn’t even ask me to read or audition. The Bionic Woman came after we were on the show. We were doing The Six Million Dollar Man and I said, “Let’s get a woman here.” There was [Lindsay Wagner], and she did one of the episodes, and the numbers were just wonderful. One of the producers then said, ‘We need to get her her own show.'”
Of course, Richard Anderson was much more than Oscar Goldman. The actor’s IMDB page lists over 180 acting credits dating back to the early 1950s. Anderson appeared in everything from The Rifleman to Charlie’s Angels and he made dozens of movies with MGM. In 2015, Richard Anderson published his memoir, titled Richard Anderson: At Last … A Memoir, From the Golden Years of M-G-M to The Six Million Dollar Man to Now.
Take a look at the video below to see Richard Anderson on the opening credits of The Six Million Dollar Man.
[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]