AVM: This must be the most terrifying conversation youâve had in a long time, then. McRaney holds the distinction of being the last guest star to meet "Matt Dillon" in a gunfight on Gunsmoke (1955) - in the episode, Gunsmoke: Hard Labor (1975), first broadcast on February 24, 1975 (he lost). You know, you donât hear about this ratings business. Not long after he entered the â80s, he made the jump from character actor to leading man, spending eight seasons playing Rick Simon on CBSâs Simon & Simon before shifting into sitcom mode for four seasons of Major Dad. (We commiserate about the recent passing of Leonard Nimoy.). GM: Yeah! Thereâs a law of diminishing returns that comes into play at some point. AVC: You and your wife have also worked together a few other times, but it seems like thereâs a decent shot that you might have a story to tell about working with Willie Nelson on Where The Hellâs That Gold?!!? Something might be gaining on you.â. And that was a great joy for me, because my dad and Iâand this is going way backâwould listen to Gunsmoke on the radio, and then we were big fans of it when it came on TV, so to wind up with a role on that, strapping on the six-guns and going out on Dodge Streetâ¦ That was great. The first inclination I had about acting was in junior high school and, you know, like any other kid who grew up with the cowboys and stuff like that, I was sort of interested in the movies on that level. And I began to get the feeling that what we were doing wasnât really right, because it sort of indicated that post-apocalyptic life was not only survivable but, you know, wasnât really all that bad! You’ve been acting for several decades. Thatâs basically the premise of the show â the adventures that are had by the vice president and her secret agent. That made an impression on me, and I wanted to see her again. And then in ninth grade I messed up a knee about halfway through football season and was out the rest of the season, and somebody suggested that I go over to the drama club and help them build sets, because my father had built houses and I had worked as a carpenter. As I said, I am the Chief Steward, but in addition to that, I am a former Agent X myself and the handler of the guy who is the current Agent X. I have no idea. AVC: Maybe they felt like you had to live up to Raquel Welchâs fashions. Photography: Lewis Jacob/Netflix ... (Gerald McRaney), drunk at the wheel, drive his vehicle into a ditch. And then through her I got introduced to her nephew, and this guy, he was going to be making this little low-budget film, and we all sort of hit it off, and we wound up making a movie. Get me on that set!â, But then the dates conflicted. What the hell do I know about Hebrew? GM: Nah. The fourth season is now airing on Netflix after being cancelled by A&E Network after season 3. That one stands out because it was the first role I had in Hollywood, and letâs seeâ¦ All of those Quinn Martin roles, those were great fun, because it was that Quinn Martin repertory company. In fact, in the early portion of Gerald McRaney's career he almost always played the villain; but, since his first series, Simon & Simon (1981), hit it big, he's played mostly good guys. You are going back. I thought that wouldâve been a great experience because we had a little house in the French Quarter at the time, and it wouldâve been nice if thatâd gone to series. That was terrific. His father, Barlow Connally (Gerald McRaney), a â¦ How boring! McRaney can currently be seen in the fourth season of Longmire, the seriesâ first since making the jump to Netflix. I just remember having to learn it. GM: Well, the last showdown. Simon & Simon was a great, great launching pad for everything Iâve done since. Jameson and I did â for eight years. AVC: And yet it was obviously not the only movie that you made with Joy N. Houck Jr. How did you fall into his orbit in the first place? Absolutely it was. GM: Oh, well, on that oneâ¦ I think you might be able to appreciate this one: Iâd get so fascinated watching [Robert] Duvall work, I forgot it was my turn to talk! And the writers in that episode stole a line from me, because thereâs a scene where the brothers are driving to meet this lady, and A.J.âJameson Parkerâs roleâhas never even heard about this woman, and thereâs this big effect that the mention of her name has on me, and he wants to know about her, and Iâm being rather closed-mouthed, and he says, âAll right, justâ¦ what does she look like?â And thereâs a little back and forth, and finally I said to him, âAll right, well, one thing: Sheâs got those kind of gin-clear blue eyes that a man knows, once heâs lost in them, heâs never going to find his way out.â [Laughs.] Thatâs what Iâve always been. AVC: Did you know that going into it, or was it just something you picked up on? I sidled up next to him and whispered in his ear, âSome guys just canât wear the hat.â. The third season of Longmire wrapped up many ongoing storylines, finally unveiling the fate of David Ridges, Branch's shooting, Vic's past in Philadelphia, and most importantly, what happened to Walt's wife in Denver. No, not right now. Where the writer took it upon himself to write the subtext for the actors. Is there any role you would like to play that you havenât yet? And I thought, âHey, this is kind of fun! To just sit and have coffee with that man and have conversation is worth anything you do. Other interests include shopping (especially when it comes to finding the best bargain! It was like one of those Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland âmy uncle has a barn we could useâ scenarios. But it started out with those roles, and it just built up. But nothing bad. GM: Just what everybodyâs also heard, and I think at this point thatâs a rumor that Iâm not prepared to take to the bank. And when I got word through my agent that this director had asked for me to do this little role in a film that he was doing, I was, like, âWhen do I show up?â [Laughs.] And I was in Virginia, and my agent called me again and said, âWhen can you be back home?â I said, âWell, that all depends on how Butch does tomorrow.â He said, âWell, let me know as soon as you can, because theyâre holding that role open for you.â. I really liked it. So we had a wonderful time on that show because we very rarely did anything! But she was terrific. With Barlow, itâd be a lot easier to figure out the people he didnât piss off. I love that show! Now I can have my coffee in the morning again and itâs not a problem. AVC: This next one is the most obscure thing on my listâthereâs not even so much as a clip from it on YouTubeâbut the credits alone are fascinating enough that itâs a must-ask. But the way that role came about was that I had gotten as far as testing for the studio and it was down to me and a couple of other guys for a thing called Gypsy Warriors, which was going to be a series about two Americans during World War II who go behind enemy lines in France and work with the underground at making ready for the invasion of Europe. You have entered an incorrect email address! And it was another case where it was about the numbers. âLongmireâ will be available in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. GM: Oh, just that idiotic conceit of stomping on a glass with a bare foot. I tell people all the time, if you could make a good living at it, Iâd still be doing rep, because thatâs where all the fun is. The script is just the adhesive material that connects one explosion to the next. Iâve never had what you would call a breakout. Yeah, that was my description of Delta. But it didnât happen. [Laughs.] I donât really even remember if it wound up in the movie at all. Thereâs no nonsense with him. It was just one of the best experiences Iâve had in my life. AVM: That reminds me: youâre credited on The A-Team for âStunt Double.â Is that an inaccurate credit, or were you your own stunt double? AVC: When you first started on Longmire, was Barlow intended to be a recurring character even then, or was he originally a one-off? And at the same time, I was doing those little low-budget films and a little piecemeal work in various and sundry other projects. I think the most important thing all of us learned from that was how not to make a movie. You donât notice those sort of things so much as a guest actor. My God, Iâd hate to be a cynic. Although it had the best ratings of any scripted show on A&E, second overall only to the reality show Duck Dynasty, A&E dropped the show shortly after the season ended. I read the script, and I was, like, âWhoa, what did I do to piss somebody off?â. Iâve known a few men like that, who wanted a 5-year-old to straighten out, which is ridiculous, of course. Most people know Gerald McRaney from the long-running series âSimon & Simonâ and âMajor Dadâ and, more recently, âHouse of Cardsâ and â Longmire ,â in which he plays the wealthy and powerful real estate magnate Barlow Connally. But heâs just that damned good! Football, baseballâ¦ It doesnât matter. But there it was for me to learn. At all. But then someone once said to me that people think “Star Trek” is filmed on location! One of my favorites also! GM: Yeah, I proposed the Simon & Simon reunion movie to CBS and they went for it, and that was fine. Reel Life With Jane is your entertainment news and pop culture website. And to work with Kevin [Spacey] was so much fun. He has a one younger brother Buddy McRaney. But normally he just loved everybody. Gerald has been lucky to have such caring parents. [Laughs.] Wolfgang Petersen is, as you well know, one of the finest film directors ever, and I had justâwell, several months before being offered that role, Iâd seen Das Boot, and I was just blown away. I had promised my sister that I would go and be with her while my brother-in-law went through open-heart surgery in Virginia, and the dates conflicted, and I had to turn it down. Has it changed from when you were acting in your 20s to now? AVC: During the run of Simon & Simon, you and Jameson also teamed up to work on a film called Jackals, directed by Gary Grillo, who was a director on the show. It really was. It was a magnificent experience. GM: No, not really. Very rarely did he go to his trailer, unless he was tired or there was an interview or something like that going on. Robert [Taylor] is just a joy to work with, and everybody on that show gets along with everybody else, which was another great part of the experience. GM: When they asked me back. And I went in and read with Jameson for the studio people and the network people all crammed into Philâs office, and by the time I got home that afternoon, I found out that Iâd better start packing, because weâd start working Mondayâ¦ in Florida! But I had to earn my way all the way up to that level, and itâs been that way ever since. [Laughs.] So it wasnât weirdâ¦ except occasionally in a particular scene, weâd laugh about something. Was it weird because it was two different creative teams? People still talk about “Simon & Simon.” Adam Scott and Jon Hamm went so far as to recreate the opening credits shot for shot. AVC: You had the experience of doing an episode when Aaron Sorkin was at the helm of the show and then another one when he wasnât. Thatâs all anybody on that show cares about. Iâm sort of the barrier between the two, but my boss wonât listen to me. Iâm playing all manner of different roles. Thereâs one speech in particular, one scene in particular, where Hearst is waxing eloquent about how the agreement upon gold having value is going to be the savior of humankind, and it was just magnificent what he had written for me. GM: Oh, I think he was influenced by any number of people, but I think primarily Buffett. And was. Especially for an actor who started out on the stage, I think, but having delicious words like that to say, thatâll just make your day. We provide you with the latest breaking news and videos straight from the entertainment industry. And since he had an apartment in Paris, it was decided, âLetâs go shoot there!â So he wroteâor had writtenâa two-hour episode of Simon & Simon, and we went to Paris for a month and shot. Television show Simon & Simon a very pleasant experience novels by Craig Johnson itâs ta... 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