Reuben Cannon

Casting Executive / Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour-and-forty-minute Archive interview, Reuben Cannon talks about his early years and moving to Los Angeles, where he took a job in the Universal mailroom. He recalls moving up at Universal into the casting department and becoming the first African-American casting director. Cannon helped cast Ironside, Emergency!The Rockford Files, and Baretta, and worked with Alex Haley on casting Roots: The Next Generations. Cannon discusses forming his own company, Reuben Cannon & Associates, and outlines casting Bruce Willis in Moonlighting, Michael J. Fox in Palmerstown U.S.A., and Oprah Winfrey in "The Color Purple," which led to him later casting her in the miniseries The Women of Brewster Place. Cannon also describes his long-time working relationship with Stephen J. Cannell and casting The A-Team and The Greatest American Hero. He talks about becoming a producer, and later going to work with Tyler Perry, producing his feature films as well as his TBS series House of Payne. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on October 17, 2014 in North Hollywood, CA.

"My advice is no matter what part of the business you're in, learn that aspect of the business but also create something for yourself."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Reuben Cannon on casting The A-Team
Reuben Cannon on casting Tenafly and being diverse in his casting
Reuben Cannon on casting and co-producing Amen
Reuben Cannon on his partnership with Oprah Winfrey on The Women of Brewster Place and meeting Maya Angelou
Reuben Cannon on how the business of casting has changed since he started
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on moving to Los Angeles and starting at Universal
On working in the mailroom at Universal; on getting into casting at Universal; on casting for Ironside, Emergency!, The Rockford Files, Baretta, and Sanford and Son
On casting Tenafly; on casting Roots: The Next Generations
On starting his own company; on casting Palmerstown, U.S.A.; on casting Lazarus Syndrome

Chapter 2

On his company Reuben Cannon & Associates; on casting Greatest American Hero, A-Team, and Hunter
On casting the feature film A Soldier's Story; on casting The Winds of War; on casting Santa Barbara
On casting Moonlighting; on the importance of chemistry between actors in a project
On casting the feature film "The Color Purple"; on casting Amerika; on casting the feature film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"

Chapter 3

On casting the feature "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"; on casting Touched By an Angel and The Bernie Mac Show; on what makes a good casting director and the craft of casting
On the process of casting; on a typical casting session
On casting and co-producing The Women of Brewster Place; on his partnership with Oprah Winfrey on The Women of Brewster Place and meeting Maya Angelou
On casting "Desperado" and producing "Get on the Bus"

Chapter 4

On producing the feature film "Dancing in September"; on producing the feature "Down in the Delta"; on producing "Woman Thou Art Loosed"
On meeting Tyler Perry; on working with Tyler Perry's studio; on executive producing House of Payne
On how casting has changed since he started; on advice to aspiring casting directors and producers; on how he'd like to be remembered 
Shows

A-Team, The

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Reuben Cannon on casting The A-Team

Amen

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Reuben Cannon on casting and co-producing Amen

Baretta

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Reuben Cannon on casting for Ironside, Emergency!, The Rockford Files, Baretta, and Sanford and Son

Bernie Mac Show, The

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Reuben Cannon on casting The Bernie Mac Show

Emergency!

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Reuben Cannon on casting for Ironside, Emergency!, The Rockford Files, Baretta, and Sanford and Son
Reuben Cannon on casting Emergency!

Greatest American Hero, The

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Reuben Cannon on casting The Greatest American Hero

Herman Wouk's The Winds of War

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Reuben Cannon on casting Winds of War

Hunter

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Reuben Cannon on casting Hunter

Ironside

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Reuben Cannon on casting for Ironside, Emergency!, The Rockford Files, Baretta and Sanford and Son

Lazarus Syndrome, The

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Reuben Cannon on casting Lou Gosset, Jr. in Lazarus Syndrome

Moonlighting

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Reuben Cannon on casting Moonlighting

Palmerstown U.S.A.

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Reuben Cannon on casting Palmerstown U.S.A.

Rockford Files, The

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Reuben Cannon on casting for Ironside, Emergency!, The Rockford Files, Baretta, and Sanford and Son

Roots: The Next Generations

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Reuben Cannon on going to work for Warner Bros. and casting Roots: The Next Generations
Reuben Cannon on working with Alex Haley and the producers of Roots: The Next Generations

Sanford and Son

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Reuben Cannon on casting for Ironside, Emergency!, The Rockford Files, Baretta, and Sanford and Son

Santa Barbara

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Reuben Cannon on casting the soap opera Santa Barbara 

Touched By an Angel

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Reuben Cannon on casting Touched By an Angel
Topics

Advice

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Reuben Cannon advice to aspiring casting directors
Reuben Cannon on advice to aspiring producers

Diversity in Television

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Reuben Cannon on how the business of casting has changed since he started as the first black casting director

Historic Events and Social Change

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Reuben Cannon on how the business of casting has changed since he started as the first black casting director

Minorities

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Reuben Cannon on how the business of casting has changed since he started

Television Industry

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Reuben Cannon on how the business of casting has changed since he started as the first black casting director
Reuben Cannon advice to aspiring casting directors
Reuben Cannon on advice to aspiring producers
Professions

Casting Director

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Reuben Cannon on the importance of chemistry in casting
Reuben Cannon on what makes a good casting director and the craft of casting
Reuben Cannon on the process of casting
Reuben Cannon on a typical casting session 
Reuben Cannon advice to aspiring casting directors

Producers

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Reuben Cannon on advice to aspiring producers

Talent Professionals

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Reuben Cannon on the importance of chemistry in casting
Reuben Cannon on what makes a good casting director and the craft of casting
Reuben Cannon on the process of casting
Reuben Cannon on a typical casting session 
Reuben Cannon advice to aspiring casting directors
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

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Reuben Cannon on casting The Greatest American Hero
Reuben Cannon on casting The A-Team

Comedy Series

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Reuben Cannon on casting for IronsideEmergency!The Rockford FilesBaretta  and Sanford and Son
Reuben Cannon on casting and co-producing Amen
Reuben Cannon on casting The Bernie Mac Show
Reuben Cannon on executive producing House of Payne

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Reuben Cannon on casting for IronsideEmergency!The Rockford FilesBaretta  and Sanford and Son
Reuben Cannon on casting for IronsideEmergency!The Rockford FilesBaretta  and Sanford and Son
Reuben Cannon on casting for IronsideEmergency!The Rockford FilesBaretta  and Sanford and Son
Reuben Cannon on casting Moonlighting

Daytime/Primetime Serials

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Reuben Cannon on casting Santa Barbara 

Drama Series

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Reuben Cannon on casting Palmerstown U.S.A.
Reuben Cannon on casting Touched By an Angel

Medical Dramas

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Reuben Cannon on casting for IronsideEmergency!The Rockford FilesBaretta  and Sanford and Son

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Reuben Cannon on casting Roots: The Next Generations
Reuben Cannon on casting Winds of War
Reuben Cannon on casting Amerika 
Reuben Cannon on casting and co-producing The Women of Brewster Place
People

Marlon Brando

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Reuben Cannon on going to work for Warner Bros. and casting Roots: The Next Generations

Stephen J. Cannell

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Reuben Cannon on casting for Ironside, Emergency!, The Rockford Files, Baretta, and Sanford and Son

Michael J. Fox

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Reuben Cannon on casting Michael J. Fox in Palmerstown U.S.A.

Redd Foxx

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Reuben Cannon on casting for Ironside, Emergency!, The Rockford Files, Baretta, and Sanford and Son

James Garner

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Reuben Cannon on casting for Ironside, Emergency!, The Rockford Files, Baretta, and Sanford and Son

Alex Haley

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Reuben Cannon on working with Alex Haley and the producers of Roots: The Next Generations
Reuben Cannon on casting Palmerstown U.S.A.

Sherman Hemsley

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Reuben Cannon on casting Sherman Hemsley and co-producing Amen

Alfred Hitchcock

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Reuben Cannon on working in the mailroom at Universal

Quincy Jones

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Reuben Cannon on working in the mailroom at Universal

William Katt

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Reuben Cannon on casting William Katt on The Greatest American Hero

Stan Margulies

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Reuben Cannon on going to work for Warner Bros. and casting Roots: The Next Generations

George Peppard

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Reuben Cannon on casting George Peppard on The A-Team

Della Reese

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Reuben Cannon on casting Della Reese on Touched By an Angel

Connie Sellecca

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Reuben Cannon on casting Connie Sellecca The Greatest American Hero

Cybill Shepherd

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Reuben Cannon on casting Cybill Shepherd on Moonlighting

Bruce Willis

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Reuben Cannon on casting Bruce Willis on Moonlighting

Oprah Winfrey

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Reuben Cannon on casting Oprah Winfrey in the feature film "The Color Purple"
Reuben Cannon on casting and co-producing The Women of Brewster Place

David L. Wolper

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Reuben Cannon on going to work for Warner Bros. and casting Roots: The Next Generations

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