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Not too long ago, the prestigious Los Angeles Times published a long story about the new stars of tomorrow. They were all under 25, some under 20, and while the young men might make some young girls’ hearts go pittypat, women who are looking for real MEN won’t find the answer in these heartthrobs.
So let us consider British Simon MacCorkindale, who can and probably does raise blood pressure in all women. He’s tallЧsix feet. He’s slim, about 165 pounds. He has fashionably coiffed hair, not too long, not too short. It’s sort of brownish blond. Perhaps a bit sunbleached because he plays a lot of tennis. And this writer’s notes read “Honorable blue eyes.” It was a first impression obviously.
What ARE honorable blue eyes? That’s opposed to shifty. Here is a man you can trust. A stalwart soul who’s wondrously attractiveЧthe English accent just adds to his charm. And a wicked sense of humor goes with the package.
For those who haven’t been paying attention this year, Simon plays Greg Reardon, the attorney on CBS’ “Falcon Crest.” To date this season, he has dallied with Ana Alicia, who plays Melissa; with Sarah Douglas, who’s Pamela and with Laura Johnson, as Terry. The latter two women, he confides, are leaving the show at the end of this season. Out in the real world, Simon is married to actress-producer Susan George.
How then, one wonders, does he get in the mood to make love to so many women practically on cue?
He considers the question for only a moment and out pops the answer: “I get in a love-making mood based on the size of the paycheck.”
And who says the British aren’t humorous? Judging from Simon’s early life, he’s been fun-loving all along. When he was eight years old, he wrote his first play but it never was produced.
“It required an enormous cast and a considerable amount of rum drinking. I did better with my second play, a dramatization of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ in which I played the lovely leading lady.” he recalls.
Even with that auspicious beginning, and a truly prestigious number of credits in England, viewers who enjoy seeing him work had best watch “Falcon Crest” faithfully this season and next: it will be his last. His avowed intention in life is to direct. He got into acting because he wanted to learn directing. He explains:
“I went to drama school (in England) to learn to act so I could direct better. But they discovered I could walk and talk at the same time, so I became the star pupil. I also learned I didn’t know enough about directing, so I continued to study acting, and to work on my own projects.”
To date, he has been successful at juggling both interests. In fact, he accepted the Greg Rear-don role in this series only because part of the deal included his being allowed to direct some of the shows. He will do at least one this season, of a script in which his part is minimal.
“It’s impossible to direct myself. I’m an actor who needs a director and unfortunately in TV. directors direct the cameras, not the actors. That’s soap opera,” he says, not angrily, but with a tone of resignation. It goes with the territory.
His being on “Falcon Crest” is one of those flukes of timing. He was supposed to be a regular on “Dynasty.”
He looks like a man you can trust – those clear blue eyes, that straightforward smile, that lovely British accent – and a lot of the women on “Falcon Crest” thought so, too. But Simon MacCorkindale admits that…
“The Falcon Crest” people had been inquiring about my availability for several months, although the part was originally written for a cowboy from Idaho. Not an Englishman! I had been written into the ‘bible’ of ‘Dynasty’Чa character who would have love affairs with Pamela Sue Martin (Follon) and Joan Collins (Alexis), but negotiations for that deal were going slowly and I was offered the part in ‘Jaws 3-D.’ So I took it, and then ‘Dynasty’ happened.”
Even superstars can’t be in two places at the same time. He got devoured by a 35-foot shark in the movie, made a lot of money and got the “Falcon Crest” offer. It’s an interesting character, this Greg Reardon. Simon explains who he is: “His father was an American diplomat. His mother is English. My character was brought up In England but he wears cowboy boots because most Englishmen want to appear In cowboy movies. They fantasize themselves as the early cowboy pioneers of the 1800’s.”
Simon had no such dreams as a youngster. The closest he came to playing a cowboy was in an ABC miniseries a couple of seasons ago, “The Manions of America.” His first international TV debut was playing Lucius in “Jesus of Nazareth.” He played Lucius again in “I. Claudius.” hi British TV he’s been in “Will Shakespeare,” “Romeo and Juliet,” as Romeo of course, the callous vet in “Baby,” and then there are all the narrow escapes he’s had in films.
“Shot and killed in ‘Death on the Nile.’ Had my hand smashed in ‘The Riddle of the Sands.’ Shot in the shoulder in ‘Cabo Blanco.’ Hanged in ‘The Gayden Chronicles.’ Beheaded in ‘Mac-beth.’ Drowned in ‘I, Claudius.’ Hung myself after committing murder in ‘An Outpost of Progress.’ Hung in chains and tortured in ‘The Sword and the Sorcerer.’ Shot in the shoulder in a duel with David Soul in ‘Manions of America.’ ‘Falcon’s Gold’: beaten up, chased, beaten up again. And eaten by that shark in ‘Jaws 3-D.”
Simon has had a long string of successful directorial assignments including several productions of “Sleuth.” “The Merchant of Venice,” and “A Doll House.” His wife recently produced Simon’s one-man show, “The Importance of Being Oscar.”
“Directing is more satisfying. I have a need to be able to tell stories. An actor is not a story teller.
“And I do want to be one of the best directors around,” he states seriously. So despite those drop-dead, understated good looks, of which he is seemingly unconscious, he won’t miss being before the cameras.
“I need and want the recognition but I don’t want it, if you know what I mean. I feel people lose their dignity when they’re around celebrities.”
“The worst I can remember was walking through an airport and some stewardesses in their 30’s and 40’s were making an absolute scene. They wolf-whistled at me! And I realized what men have been doing to you women for so long.”
And another male had his consciousness raised. With gallantry, he apologized for all the men’s wolf whistles, polished off his Perrier and went back to work.