Ritch Brinkley, the Infatuated Cameraman on 'Murphy Brown,' Dies at 71
He also played William the Cook on another CBS series, 'Beauty and the Beast,' and was the captain in 'Cabin Boy.'
Ritch Brinkley, who played Carl Wishnitski, the burly cameraman who was lovingly obsessed with Candice Bergen’s character on the CBS sitcom Murphy Brown, died on Nov. 5, his family announced. He was 71.
The bearded Brinkley also was known for his role as William the Cook on the 1987–90 CBS series Beauty and the Beast, starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman. And on David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, he portrayed prosecutor Daryl Lodwick in a couple of episodes of that ABC drama.
Brinkley was quite funny as Carl, who would gladly lay down his life for his beloved anchorwoman, on 28 episodes of the acclaimed Murphy Brown, which aired from 1988 to 1997. He also appeared on Dolly Parton’s short-lived 1987-88 ABC variety series.
Diane English, the creator of Murphy Brown, said on Twitter that she “wrote the part [of Carl] especially for him after he appeared on another show I produced, My Sister Sam,” starring Pam Dawber.
In The Man With the One Red Shoe (1985), Brinkley was one of the CIA agents, a listening expert, who worked for Dabney Coleman and followed Tom Hanks everywhere. And he played the captain of the boat The Filthy Whore in the Chris Elliott comedy Cabin Boy (1994).
Brinkley also appeared in the films Brubaker (1980), Parton’s Rhinestone (1984) and Big Business (1988) and on such TV shows as Hill Street Blues, Falcon Crest, Newhart, Get a Life and Saved by the Bell: The New Class.
Brinkley was born in Colorado City, Texas, and raised in the small town of Kermit. When he was in junior high school, he worked as a “legman” for Roy Orbison, bringing him bottles of soda pop during his breaks.