Barbara Feldon

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her nearly two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Barbara Feldon speaks about her early interests in both acting and ballet, and chronicles her time at Carnegie Tech Drama School (now Carnegie Mellon). She discusses her appearance on The $64,000 Question, as a Shakespeare expert, and recalls several of her earliest appearances on television -- on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and East Side/West Side. Feldon then details the role and series for which she is most associated, that of "Agent 99" on Get Smart. She describes her character, gives her impressions of her co-stars and show creators Buck Henry and Mel Brooks and relates several production stories. She talks of her work in later series including Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, Cheers, and Mad About You and comments on some of her feature films, including Michael Ritchie's Smile. Feldon also expresses her love of writing and describes poetry and prose projects on which she's worked. Jim Colucci conducted the interview in New York, NY on October 22, 2007.

"I'd like to be remembered as someone who led their life fully. Not just in one area, but someone who lived her days with enthusiasm and curiosity. I think if you have curiosity and you live with enthusiasm, you have a life better than any star you know could possibly dream of having."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Barbara Feldon on the character "99" she played on Get Smart
Barbara Feldon on what Don Adams brought to "Maxwell Smart"
Barbara Feldon on the social agenda behind Get Smart
Barbara Feldon on her book of essays Living Alone and Loving It and her love of writing
Barbara Feldon on Get Smart catchphrases
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early years and influences; on her mother's musical talent; on her early interest in acting; on studying ballet
On attending Carnegie Tech Drama School (now Carnegie Mellon) and focusing on drama rather than ballet; on doing Summer Stock in Pennsylvania; on meeting Colleen Dewhurst; on moving to New York and living in the Bronx, then moving to Greenwich Village; on dancing at the Copacabana; on getting a bit part in a Sidney Lumet play
On being a contestant on The $64,000 Question and studying Shakespeare to become an "expert"

Chapter 2

On her appearance on the $64,000 Question -- around the time of the Quiz show scandals; on changing her name to Barbara Feldon; on disappointing roles for women; on her start in modeling and traveling to Paris
On the commercial she did for Revlon for Top Brass where she growls like a tiger; on other commercial work; on getting a role on East Side/West Side
On her part in Mr. Broadway; on initially turning down the pilot of Get Smart; on not watching much television; on guest starring on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
On the character "99" she played on Get Smart; on the premise and subtext of Get Smart - a satire about the world of political espionage

Chapter 3

On co-starring in Get Smart; on her Get Smart character, "99"; on working with Don Adams; on Get Smart catchphrases; on her Get Smart co-stars, and co-creators Buck Henry and Mel Brooks
On Get Smart showrunner Leonard Stern, director Jay Sandrich, and recurring actors on Get Smart; on Get Smart writer/performer Bill Dana; on the writing staff
On production of Get Smart; on Don Adams never rehearsing and having a wonderful memory; on her favorite episodes of Get Smart

Chapter 4

On the gadgets on Get Smart; on fan mail she received; on Get Smart switching from NBC to CBS after the 4th season and ending after 5 seasons; on reuniting with Don Adams for the TV movie Get Smart Again and remakes of the series
On her first movie, Fitzwilly; on the legacy of Get Smart; on being typecast from the show
On appearing on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In; on appearing on television variety shows; on hosting syndicated show Special Edition; on the film Smile; on hosting The '80s Woman
On appearing in television movies Sooner or Later, A Guide for the Married Woman, A Vacation in Hell, Children of Divorce, and The Unforgivable Secret

Chapter 5

On the TV movie Before and After; on guest roles on Cheers and Mad About You; on her love writing poetry and reading to people; on then-current projects and her book of essays Living Alone and Loving It and her love of writing; on voiceover work
On her career achievements and regrets; on her advice to aspiring actors; on how she would like to be remembered
Shows

$64,000 Question

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Barbara Feldon on being a contestant on The $64,000 Question
Barbara Feldon on her appearance on the $64,000 Question -- around the time of the Quiz show scandals

Cheers

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Barbara Feldon on her guest appearance on Cheers

Dean Martin Show, The

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Barbara Feldon on appearing on variety shows

East Side/West Side

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Barbara Feldon on getting a role on East Side/West Side

Get Smart

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Barbara Feldon on initially turning down the pilot of Get Smart
Barbara Feldon on the character "99" she played on Get Smart
Barbara Feldon on the premise and subtext of Get Smart - a satire about the world of political espionage
Barbara Feldon on the social agenda behind Get Smart and what people say when they recognize her from the show
Barbara Feldon on her Get Smart character, "99", Don Adams, and the actors and writers of Get Smart
Barbara Feldon on production of Get Smart 
Barbara Feldon on specific episodes of Get Smart 
Barbara Feldon on some of the props on the show Get Smart; on the final season of the show and reuniting with Don for TV movies and remakes of the series
Barbara Feldon on the legacy of Get Smart and being typecast from the show

Mad About You

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Barbara Feldon on her guest appearance on Mad About You

Man From U.N.C.L.E., The

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Barbara Feldon on guest starring on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

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Barbara Feldon on appearing on the first five episodes of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In

Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The

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Barbara Feldon on appearing on variety shows

Special Edition

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Barbara Feldon on hosting syndicated show Special Edition
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Barbara Feldon on the character "99" she played on Get Smart
Barbara Feldon on her Get Smart character, "99"
Barbara Feldon on Get Smart catchphrases

Quiz Show Scandals

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Barbara Feldon on her appearance on the $64,000 Question -- around the time of the Quiz show scandals

Women

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Barbara Feldon on her Get Smart character, "99"
Barbara Feldon on hosting The '80s Woman which focused on women's issues
Professions

Actress

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Barbara Feldon on her early interest in acting
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

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Barbara Feldon on the premise and subtext of Get Smart - a satire about the world of political espionage

Comedy Series

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Barbara Feldon on the premise and subtext of Get Smart - a satire about the world of political espionage
Barbara Feldon on the social agenda behind Get Smart, stars, writers, and production of the show
Barbara Feldon on some of the props on the show Get Smart; on the final season of the show and reuniting with Don for TV movies and remakes of the series

Commercials

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Barbara Feldon on the commercial she did for Revlon for Top Brass where she growls like a tiger
People

Don Adams

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Barbara Feldon on Get Smart co-star Don Adams
Barbara Feldon on her Get Smart co-star, Don Adams
Barbara Feldon on the Get Smart writing team
Barbara Feldon on Don Adams never rehearsing on Get Smart and having a wonderful memory
Barbara Feldon on reuniting with Don Adams for the 1989 TV movie Get Smart Again and remakes of the series

Mel Brooks

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Barbara Feldon on the subtext of Get Smart - a satire about the world of political espionage
Barbara Feldon on Get Smart co-creators Buck Henry and Mel Brooks

Bill Dana

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Barbara Feldon on Get Smart writer/performer Bill Dana

Colleen Dewhurst

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Barbara Feldon on meeting Colleen Dewhurst
Barbara Feldon on getting a bit part in a Sidney Lumet play
Barbara Feldon on getting a role on East Side/West Side

Patty Duke

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Barbara Feldon on the TV movie Before and After with Patty Duke

Jimmy Durante

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Barbara Feldon on dancing at the Copacabana with Jimmy Durante

Larry Hagman

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Barbara Feldon on a TV movie with Larry Hagman

Buck Henry

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Barbara Feldon on the subtext of Get Smart - a satire about the world of political espionage
Barbara Feldon on the social agenda behind Get Smart; the effect of comedy on serious issues
Barbara Feldon on Get Smart co-creators Buck Henry and Mel Brooks

Bernie Kopell

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Barbara Feldon on Get Smart recurring actors

Sidney Lumet

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Barbara Feldon on getting a bit part in a Sidney Lumet play

Edward Platt

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Barbara Feldon on her Get Smart co-star, Edward Platt

Cesar Romero

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Barbara Feldon on guest starring on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Jay Sandrich

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Barbara Feldon on Get Smart director Jay Sandrich

George Schlatter

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Barbara Feldon on appearing on the first five episodes of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In

George C. Scott

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Barbara Feldon on getting a role on East Side/West Side

Leonard Stern

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Barbara Feldon on Get Smart showrunner Leonard Stern

Bob Stewart

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Barbara Feldon on hosting The '80s Woman which focused on women's issues

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