Thirteen big name movie stars who couldn't cut it on television - VIDEOS
Movie actors are a unique bunch of characters in Hollywood. Adept at script memorization, method acting, and being snobby little princesses (the males included), they are somewhat limited in their performance venues. They can switch pretty easily and thrive in theater productions because most of them began their acting lives on the stage in front of adoring audiences. Decades ago they could also do radio pretty easily; most likely because they could read right from the script and no one listening would know any different.
Television? Well, that's a whole different loaf a bread! For some reason, big-named movie stars with their Oscars and Golden Globes just tank when they decide to jump to the small screen. Their failures could be due to the show they've decided to star in, who they play on the show, or the fact that they are catering to a different audience than film-goers. Whatever the reason, some of Hollywood's most famous film stars had some famously big television flops. Here are but a few of them to digest.
1. Chevy Chase: Late night talk shows come and go, but not as fast as Chevy Chase's did. Star of such popular movies as Foul Play, Caddyshack and National Lampoon's Vacation, Chase had one of the shortest talk show runs in the history of television. Beginning on September 7, 1993, The Chevy Chase Show lasted less than one month. Yet, it still remains the brunt of many jokes.
2. Tony Curtis: After successes in such movies as Some Like It Hot, Operation Petticoat and The Great Race, Curtis decided to try his hand at series TV with the 1971 show The Persuaders! Costarring Roger Moore, the show about two world-hopping playboys who solve crimes lasted a mere five months on ABC.
3. Richard Dreyfuss: Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goodbye Girl. You probably remember all of these movies that starred Richard Dreyfuss. However, I'm sure you don't remember The Education of Max Bickford, the 2001 series that starred the actor as a college history professor. Lasting only one season, Max Bickford faded into television memory fairly quickly.
4. Faye Dunaway: The star of Bonnie and Clyde, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Network in a traditional three-camera, live audience sitcom? Well, people did crazy things in the 1990s. And Faye Dunaway was crazy enough to star with Robert Urich in It Had to Be You, which aired on CBS from September to October of 1993.
5. Henry Fonda: As the 1970s began, a number of older movie stars realized there was this industry called television they should try out. One of these was Henry Fonda. In 1971, he starred in the ABC dramedy The Smith Family. While it didn't do much for Fonda's career (it only lasted 39 episodes), it allowed co-star Ron Howard to continue his transformation from kid Hollywood star to grown-up Hollywood star.
6. Nathan Lane: A success in both film (The Birdcage) and theater (The Producers), Nathan Lane just couldn't make the mark in series television, despite the fact that he was surrounded by a plethora of talent in his flops. It began with NBC's One of the Boys in the early 80s, which also starred Mickey Rooney and Dana Carvey, continued with Encore! Encore! in the 90s, and possibly ended with CBS' Charlie Lawrence in the early 2000s.
7. Ray Liotta: You may not know this, but the star of Goodfellas and Cop Land was asked to to be Tony Soprano. It's true! (Well, Wikipedia says it's true.) Of course, if he took the role and flourished, then he wouldn't have starred in CBS' Smith, which had a three-episode run in 2006. And, we could have forgotten shows like the short-run series Our Family Honor and the TV version of Casablanca.
8. Shirley MacLaine: Yes, the star of The Apartment and Sweet Charity actually had a television comedy in 1971 called Shirley's World where she played a globe-trotting photojournalist. Don't worry about the failure of this series, which only ran 17 episodes; she'll have another shot at it when she's reincarnated.
9. Bette Midler: The star of The Rose and Beaches should have been a shoo-in for a television sitcom with her manic energy and humorous ways. Alas, her 2000 sitcom Bette only lasted a handful of episodes on the CBS schedule.
10. Robert Mitchum: Many of you probably remember Robert Mitchum from such classic movies as Cape Fear and The Longest Day, as well as the epic TV miniseries The Winds of War, North and South and War and Remembrance. That's good, because you probably forgot him in the two series A Family for Joe and African Skies, which he starred in during the 1990s. Everyone else probably has, as well, since both series ended shortly after they began.
11. Christian Slater: The latest victim in the movie to television transition is the former star of Heathers and Broken Arrow. While My Own Worst Enemy seemed promising, it just couldn't make it in a world full of similar shows. Maybe his television future is as Lieutenant Commander Jack Reese, the role he played on three episodes of The West Wing.
12. Jimmy Stewart: This It's a Wonderful Life and Rear Window star (as well as star of so many more great movies) made his much-anticipated television series debut in the 1971 comedy The Jimmy Stewart Show. Unfortunately, the anticipation faded quickly as the show ended after 21 episodes. Two years later he starred as a country lawyer who solved crimes in Hawkins. While the show won a Golden Globe award, it only aired for seven episodes.
13. Gene Wilder: You would think that someone with the wit and charm of thisThe Producers and Young Frankenstein star would be a a sitcom superstar. Sadly, that wit and charm didn't transition to the three-camera format in 1994 when Gene starred in the NBC sitcom Something Wilder. After only one season, this series took a quick bow and was never seen again.