Robert Conrad

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Robert Conrad describes his early years as an athlete, singer, and actor in Chicago, before he set out to look for professional acting work in Hollywood. He talks about his early auditions, learning to do his own stunts, and being signed as a contract player by William T. Orr for Warner Bros. Television. He tells of landing a role as a series regular on Hawaiian Eye and describes the premise of the series. He then details the series with which he is most closely associated, The Wild Wild West, on which he played the lead, "James T. West." Conrad recalls performing his own stunts for the show, discusses working with his co-star Ross Martin, and notes the series' cancellation due to political pressure about violence on television. Conrad then speaks of his lead role as Gregory "Pappy" Boyington in the series Baa, Baa Black Sheep (later titled Black Sheep Squadron) and his association with the real-life World War II hero he portrayed. He also recounts his work on the miniseries Centennial, his participation as NBC team captain on Battle of the Network Stars specials, and his Eveready battery commercials, which featured him placing a battery on his shoulder and looking into camera demanding, "I dare you to knock this off." He speaks of his career as a battery pitchman, and also talks of directing for television. Gary J. Rutkowski conducted the interview on August 30, 2006 in Thousand Oaks, CA.

"They only see what I want them to see, what I'm selling -- an image."

Highlights
Robert Conrad on his character, "James T. West," on The Wild, Wild West
01:39
Robert Conrad on the violence on The Wild, Wild West
01:46
Robert Conrad on his chemistry with The Wild, Wild West co-star Ross Martin
00:58
Robert Conrad on leaving and returning to Hawaiian Eye in a contract dispute with the studio
01:08
Robert Conrad on his Eveready Battery commercial 
01:32
Robert Conrad on losing to Gabe Kaplan on Battle of the Network Stars
01:24
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early singing career; on training as an actor and his first professional acting job; on doing publicity for "Giant"; on moving to Hollywood
On the first time he saw television; on getting his first agent; on learning to do stunts; on early jobs in television; on being under contract at Warner Bros.
On auditioning for and shooting Hawaiian Eye; on his increasing popularity

Chapter 2

On the premise of Hawaiian Eye; on studio head William T. Orr; on auditioning for The Wild, Wild West; on his character and stunts on The Wild, Wild West
On director Irving J. Moore and original producer Fred Freiberger; on guest stars and critical reaction to The Wild, Wild West

Chapter 3

On The Wild, Wild West props and opening sequence; on the cancellation and legacy of The Wild, Wild West
On Mission: Impossible; on being cast on Baa-Baa Black Sheep; on what he expects as a director
On Baa-Baa Black Sheep creator Stephen J. Cannell; on the premise and cancellation of Baa-Baa Black Sheep; on his role in Centennial  

Chapter 4

On competing on Battle of The Network Stars; on his Eveready battery commercial; on hosting Saturday Night Live
On his short-lived series Search and Rescue and High Mountain Rangers; on playing himself on Just Shoot Me; on his image
On his proudest career achievement and regrets; on advice to aspiring actors; on his legacy
Shows

Baa-Baa Black Sheep

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Robert Conrad on playing "Greg 'Pappy' Boyington" on Baa-Baa Black Sheep
04:52
Robert Conrad on directing Baa-Baa Black Sheep
02:47
Robert Conrad on the premise and cancellation of Baa-Baa Black Sheep
01:56

Battle of the Network Stars

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Robert Conrad on competing on Battle of the Network Stars
04:01

Centennial

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Robert Conrad on his character "Pasquinel" on Centennial
02:45

Hawaiian Eye

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Robert Conrad on auditioning for and shooting Hawaiian Eye
03:29
Robert Conrad on the basic premise of Hawaiian Eye
00:44

Just Shoot Me!

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Robert Conrad on playing himself on Just Shoot Me
01:28

Saturday Night Live

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Robert Conrad on hosting Saturday Night Live
00:49

Wild Wild West, The

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Robert Conrad on auditioning for The Wild, Wild West
02:23
Robert Conrad on his character "James T. West" on The Wild, Wild West
01:39
Robert Conrad on his chemistry with The Wild, Wild West co-star Ross Martin
00:58
Robert Conrad on The Wild, Wild West stunts
06:33
Robert Conrad on The Wild, Wild West director Irving J. Moore
00:57
Robert Conrad on The Wild, Wild West guest stars
04:46
Robert Conrad on critical reaction to The Wild, Wild West
01:49
Robert Conrad on The Wild, Wild West props 
00:43
Robert Conrad on The Wild, Wild West opening titles
01:08
Robert Conrad on The Wild, Wild West violence
01:47
Robert Conrad on the cancellation of The Wild, Wild West
00:46
Robert Conrad on the legacy of The Wild, Wild West
01:04
Robert Conrad on returning to The Wild, Wild West in made-for-television movies
02:20
Topics

Advice

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Robert Conrad on advice to aspiring actors
01:38

Characters & Catchphrases

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Robert Conrad on his character "James T. West" on The Wild, Wild West
01:39
Robert Conrad on the legacy of his The Wild, Wild West character, "James T. West"
00:53

Memorable Moments on Television

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Robert Conrad on his Eveready Battery commercial
01:32

Pop Culture

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Robert Conrad on his character, "James T. West," on The Wild, Wild West
01:39
Robert Conrad on the legacy of his The Wild, Wild West character, "James T. West"
00:53
Robert Conrad on his Eveready Battery commercial
01:32

Sex & Violence

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Robert Conrad on the violence on The Wild, Wild West
01:46

Studio and Network Management

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Robert Conrad on being under contract at Warner Bros. Television
02:06

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Robert Conrad on the first time he saw television
00:37

Television Industry

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Robert Conrad on being under contract at Warner Bros. Television
02:06
Robert Conrad on the violence on The Wild, Wild West
01:46

We Laughed

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Robert Conrad on his Eveready Battery commercial
01:32
Professions

Actor

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Robert Conrad on his approach to acting and early influences
01:10
Robert Conrad on learning to do his own stunts
02:49
Robert Conrad on advice to aspiring actors
01:38

Directors

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Robert Conrad on directing for television and movies
02:47

Performers

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Robert Conrad on his approach to acting and early influences
01:10
Robert Conrad on learning to do his own stunts
02:49
Robert Conrad on advice to aspiring actors
01:38
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

View Genre
Robert Conrad on auditioning for and shooting Hawaiian Eye
03:29
Robert Conrad on the basic premise of Hawaiian Eye
00:44
Robert Conrad on playing "Greg 'Pappy' Boyington" on Baa-Baa Black Sheep
04:52

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Robert Conrad on auditioning for and shooting Hawaiian Eye
03:29

Drama Series

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Robert Conrad on the basic premise of Hawaiian Eye
00:44
Robert Conrad on playing "Greg 'Pappy' Boyington" on Baa-Baa Black Sheep
04:52

Reality TV

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Robert Conrad on competing on Battle of the Network Stars
04:01

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Robert Conrad on his character "Pasquinel" on Centennial
02:45

Western Series

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Robert Conrad on auditioning for The Wild, Wild West
02:33
Robert Conrad on his character "James T. West" on The Wild, Wild West
01:38
Robert Conrad on The Wild, Wild West stunts
06:33
Robert Conrad on the violence on The Wild, Wild West
01:46
Robert Conrad on the legacy of The Wild, Wild West
01:04
People

Stephen J. Cannell

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Robert Conrad on working with writer/show creator Stephen J. Cannell
01:07

Fred Freiberger

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Robert Conrad on The Wild, Wild West producer Fred Freiberger
00:36

Gabe Kaplan

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Robert Conrad on losing to Gabe Kaplan on Battle of the Network Stars
01:25

Ross Martin

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Robert Conrad on his chemistry with The Wild, Wild West co-star Ross Martin
00:58

Irving J. Moore

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Robert Conrad on The Wild, Wild West director Irving J. Moore 
00:57

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