Ever wonder how an actor can be catapulted to stardom? The fourth episode reveals how Western Legends Roundup’s honored guest in 2015, Bruce Boxleitner, was noticed in a small part in “Six Pack Annie” and then cast in the starring role of Luke in “How the West Was Won”.
The Casting Director for the pilot episode, Steve Stevens, was even told that if he even screen-tested Boxleitner, Stevens would no longer have a job in show business. In true rebel fashion, Stevens decided to do it anyway; when the screen tests of all of the candidates were run past those in charge, they unanimously agreed that Bruce was the man for the role of Luke, hands down.
However, the representative from ABC had other ideas, and ordered Stevens to pick up the option on Richard Hatch instead! Stevens bit the bullet and went directly to James Arness: “ABC wants Richard Hatch. If you want Bruce, you’ll have to ask for it. Just please don’t tell John Mantley that I called you!”
Two hours later, Stevens got the call from ABC telling him to hire Bruce Boxleitner for the role of Luke.
And, as they say, the rest is history!
What did the process look like from the other side? Don’t miss Episode Five: Bruce Boxleitner shares what it was like to get his big break on “How the West Was Won”.
“If you want Bruce, you’ll have to ask for it. Just please don’t tell John Mantley that I called you!”
A WORD ON WESTERNS is a series of tributes about western films featuring interviews with actors and filmmakers sharing personal memories. Hosted and produced by Rob Word, portions are edited into short episodes airing on YouTube. WESTERN LEGENDS ROUNDUP is bringing them to you right here on one site for you to share, return to, and enjoy often.