Lynn Stalmaster

Casting Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Lynn Stalmaster speaks about his long and distinguished career working on such varied series as Gunsmoke, The Untouchables and Roots. He discusses casting John Travolta for Welcome Back, Kotter. He also talks about casting live television for Matinee Theatre. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Century City, CA on November 15, 2002.

"The director is the final voice. He must be pleased and satisfied. You're not just casting an isolated part. You have to find a blend. I don't want to use the word chemistry, but you're orchestrating an ensemble." 

Highlights
Lynn Stalmaster on casting John Travolta on Welcome Back Kotter
Lynn Stalmaster on casting Gunsmoke
Lynn Stalmaster on the challenges of casting Gunsmoke; the new Westerns
Lynn Stalmaster on casting live television, for Matinee Theater
00:59
Lynn Stalmaster on advice to aspiring casting directors
Lynn Stalmaster on advice to actors meeting with a casting director
00:46
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his name, his early childhood and education; on his early acting experience
On how he became involved in casting for film
On casting Gunsmoke

Chapter 2

On what he looks for when casting an actor
On the relationship between the casting director and the film's director
On the importance of the script and how sometimes you take a chance on an actor
On the relationship between casting directors and agents

Chapter 3

On Gunsmoke; the process of casting the episodes; on the allure of working on Westerns; on his work process
On casting other series: Matinee Theater (and live television), Twilight Zone
On his relationship with Desilu Productions; on working with Robert Altman and other film directors in TV
On transitioning to film; working with Robert Wise; on his philosophy to use "new faces" when casting roles

Chapter 4

On casting My Favorite Martian; Hogan's Heroes; on casting for sitcoms
On how influential networks were in the casting process; casting Welcome Back Kotter; on his rules for casting; casting Mr. T and Tina; working with Garry Marshall
On casting the Three's Company pilot
On working with producer Aaron Spelling
On casting for made-for-tv movies versus film and tv series; on working with agents

Chapter 5

On working with Richard Crenna on Footsteps which he produced; on casting films in the 70s and 80s with Sissy Spacek, Jack Lemmon; on casting Denzel Washington; casting The Shadow Box with Paul Newman
On casting The Executioner's Song with Tommy Lee Jones, Christine Lahti, Rosanna Arquette; on casting The Thorn Birds; Ernie Kovacs Between the Laughter; Get Smart, Again !; 
On casting Roots which he calls "a dream come true"; on Alex Haley

Chapter 6

On the legacy of Roots on television
On casting William Shatner in T.J. Hooker; on casting AfterMash and Hotel; 
On casting Chicago Hope; working with David E. Kelley
On the casting process and how the profession has changed

Chapter 7

On his more recent casting projects; looking back on his fondest professional memories; 
On advice to aspiring casting directors
Shows

Ben Casey

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting Ben Casey; one of his favorites

Chicago Hope

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting Chicago Hope; working with David E. Kelley

Gunsmoke

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting Gunsmoke
Lynn Stalmaster on the process of casting Gunsmoke; there were not many Native Americans in the series

Hogan's Heroes

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting Hogan's Heroes

My Favorite Martian

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting My Favorite Martian; on how he cast a martian
01:23

NBC Matinee Theater

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting live television, for Matinee Theater
00:59

Roots

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting LeVar Burton on Roots
Lynn Stalmaster on casting Roots: "a dream come true"
Lynn Stalmaster on the legacy of Roots

T.J. Hooker

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting William Shatner on T.J Hooker
01:24

Thorn Birds, The

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting The Thorn Birds

Three's Company

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting the pilot of Three's Company; John Ritter
01:02

Twilight Zone, The

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting for The Twilight Zone

Welcome Back, Kotter

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting John Travolta on Welcome Back Kotter
On casting Welcome Back Kotter; John Silvester White, Gabe Kaplan, John Travolta; on the direction he was given in casting the show
Topics

Minorities

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Lynn Stalmaster on the risks taken with Roots and portrayl of minorities on network television, and how it changed
Professions

Casting Director

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Lynn Stalmaster on becoming a casting director, and what was gratifying to him about the process
Lynn Stalmaster on the relationship between a film's director and the casting director
00:44
Lynn Stalmaster on how influential networks were in the casting process
Lynn Stalmaster on how the casting business has changed over time
Lynn Stalmaster on the secret to working with so many varied personalities and celebrities
Lynn Stalmaster on advice to aspiring casting directors
Lynn Stalmaster on advice to actors meeting with a casting director
00:46
Genres

Western Series

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Lynn Stalmaster on the challenges of casting Gunsmoke; the new Westerns
People

LeVar Burton

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting LeVar Burton on Roots
Lynn Stalmaster on the risk in casting LeVar Burton for Roots

Jeff Goldblum

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting Jeff Goldblum for Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter

David E. Kelley

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting Chicago Hope and working with David E. Kelley

Garry Marshall

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Lynn Stalmaster on working with Garry Marshall on Hey Landlord
02:33

Paul Newman

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting Paul Newman in The Shadow Box

William Shatner

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting William Shatner in T.J Hooker
01:24

Aaron Spelling

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Lynn Stalmaster on working with producer Aaron Spelling

John Travolta

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting John Travolta on Welcome Back Kotter
Lynn Stalmaster on working with John Travolta on Welcome Back Kotter; "he had magic"
01:10

Denzel Washington

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Lynn Stalmaster on casting Denzel Washington in Flesh and Blood

Robert Wise

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Lynn Stalmaster on working with film director Robert Wise

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