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I did a Charlie’s Angels episode [in 1976]. It was supposed to be a recurring role — Jaclyn Smith’s boyfriend, when they were trying to give the Angels more of a private life — which was pretty exciting for an out-of-work actor, which I was back then. But it ended up being only one episode. It did not recur.
I don’t think I met Leonard back then, thank God. I’d have been too nervous. But years later, after he cast me on Blue Bloods and we became friends, I would sometimes kid him about how he once fired me. He would say I was his only choice for Blue Bloods, and I’d be like, “So why’d you let me go on Charlie’s Angels?”
He had a good sense of humor and a great sense of irony about the business. But he loved what he did — and he pioneered an awful lot of stuff, from television to movies to running a studio. And he always conducted his business with civility and kindness. He treated people with respect, which is not always the case in this industry.
What happens to Blue Bloods now? I don’t want to say “the show must go on,” but it must. Yet Leonard will be greatly missed.
This story appears in the Dec. 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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