A recognized actor, MONTE MARKHAM, has been playing since early age, first in stage plays and then in television with his own series "The Second Hundred Years." Ever since he's been in many roles in television, including that on Kyle Durham, the psychotic stalker of "Hotline," the TV movie in which he co-starred with Lynda Carter.
Q: How did you become an actor?
A: “I was one of a family of four, and we kids did the usual things that kids did in the 1950’s, tap dancing lessons, family singing around the home, and when I was in High School a teacher asked me if I wanted to be a school play. I had a small role, and I liked it so much that when I graduated I got an acting scholarship in college, and continued doing stage plays.”
Q: Did you have favorite types of theatre roles, comedic or serious?
A: “I played in all types of plays, Shakespeare, Moliere, and my favorite role was Death in “Death Takes a Holiday.” I played that in California, and later on Broadway.”
Q: How did you become a movie and television actor?
A: “I went to Hollywood in 1965 and got a great agent, who im-mediately got me roles in four films, and my own television series “The Second 100 Years” where I played a father and my own son.
That was a great series, written by a joke writer on the “Carol Burnett Show” who got 8 Emmy Awards for that show.”
Q: How did you get the role of Kyle in “Hotline”?
A: “I had worked on Airport ’77 with Jerry Jameson, the director, and he called me and I went to talk with him and Ron Samuels. I later learned that Lynda had asked for me, so I was very pleased. She was of course famous as “Wonder Woman” and had done a couple of tv movies that had done well, so I was very happy to be wanted by her for her film.”
Q: How did things go on the film?
A: “Very smoothly. We shot at a place in Malibu called Silo Pig Ranch, which at the time was in a rather run down area, but there were great cliffs overlooking the ocean, and a nice dark forest for the final scenes. Steve Forrest played a movie actor, and I was his stunt man and friend. It was a very unique role, and I got together with the makeup man to try out some strange makeup that would highlight the character, like painted teardrops on the face.”
Q: Did you enjoy working with Lynda?
A: “She was a pleasure to work with. She was very beautiful, very professional, and all of our scenes went smoothly.”
Q: In the film, the final scenes are of your assaulting her and trying to kill her. Was that difficult to shoot?
A: “Yes, it was. Jerry shot those scenes in the forest in the early morning, about 1:00 am, and Lynda and I became very emotional, while they were lining up the shots in the dark. I don’t mean that we had any arguments, it was just an emotional scene for us both. I actually cut a large piece of her hair off. Of course it was one of the last scenes shot.”
Q: Did anything about the final scenes stand out in your mind?
A: “Yes, the final scene where she fires the spear gun was very hard to do. The art director had basically placed us in a closet, very tight, and of course you can’t fake the firing of a spear gun. It really has to shoot, and it had to really miss me even though in the film it kills me, and it was very hard to do in that closed in space. But the art director placed mirrors to make it seem that when she fired, it went through me.”
Q: You are now doing lots of documentary work. How did that come about?
A: “I always wanted to produce and direct my own films, and was able to direct some episodes of “Baywatch” in 1989. About ten years ago I was hired by US News to do some news specials. It was then that I decided to form a company, Perpetual Motion Productions, with my wife Claire, and we did the first 10 biographies for the weekly A&E Biography series, and we have done other series such as “Air Combat” and “The Great Ships.” I will try to act in roles occasionally, but it is hard, since as a producer my wife and son and I have to travel all over the world for the documentaries. We have filmed in China, Great Britain, and many other wonderful places.”
Q: Like Lynda, you are trying to spend your time between your family and your career. How are you able to do it?
A: “Well, life has a way of happening. The more you do what you do is to keep active, there’s so much to do and so much to enjoy the work there, but the other side of the coin is to do those things that are of value, and I think with the documentaries I can control what I do. We have a reputation for extremely high quality, and that what I guarantee the people I work with, and that’s been the most satisfying. But on the other side you do have family, you do have friends, and life is very precious. 9/11 was more precious to all of us…you need things like that to happen. It’s terrible but that’s what makes you do it, but you still go on the same way. In many ways, the longer you do what you do, the more greater variety of friends and people you meet along the way. Life is very precious, Lynda has a very full life in DC, and she still has talent, still has ability, still has desires and needs, and so do we all.”
Q: Thank you for sharing your memories of your fine career, and working with Lynda on “Hotline.”
A: “It was my pleasure. Tell Lynda hello for me!” Special Thanks to MONTE MARKHAM.
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Interview © 2003 by WONDERLAND • The Ultimate Wonder Woman Site. All rights reserved.
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