Last Updated: 18 October 2000
I MARRIED A MONSTER PRESS RELEASE - Oct 2 1998
I Married a Monster Debuts on UPN
Richard Burgi (The Sentinel) and Susan Walters (Melrose Place)
star in I Married a Monster, based on the 1958 cult classic, I
Married a Monster from Outer Space, the premiere presentation of UPN's new
movie franchise, "UPN's Thursday Night at the Movies," airing
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8 (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET/PT) on UPN. Designed as entertainment
for the entire family, "UPN's Thursday Night at the Movies" delivers
a compelling mix of themes ranging from futuristic and action adventure, to
suspense and love stories with a twist.
Married a Monster opens in the small town of Blue Falls, longtime
sweethearts Nick Farrell and Kelly Drummond are about to marry when, without
warning, the groom becomes possessed by a monstrous being that's intent on
procreating its dying race through humans. After the wedding, Kelly realizes
there's something otherworldly about her new husband and, when other men in
the town begin behaving as oddly as Nick, she knows it's up to her to fight
the beasts that are taking over Blue Falls.
Starring are Richard Burgi as Nick Farrell; Susan Walters as Kelly Drummond
Farrell; Barbara Niven as Linda Harris; Tim Ryan as Steve Talbot; Richard Herd
as Uncle Paul Drummond; Tim deZarn as Bud Riley; Dick O'Neill as Pop; Jason
Van as the deputy; and Vaughn Armstrong as Sheriff Collins. Nancy Malone and
Duane Poole are the executive producers. Nancy Malone is the director. Academy
Award-winning composer David Shire (Norma Rae, All the President's Men,
Saturday Night Fever, The World According to Garp) is the composer. I
Married a Monster, based on the 1958 classic Paramount movie, I Married
a Monster from Outer Space, is a Stu Segall production and is distributed
by Paramount Network Television. It was filmed on location in San Diego,
The film carries a TV PG parental guideline.
RICHARD BURGI INTERVIEW - Oct 9 1998
Magazine has published their interview with Richard Burgi.
In this interview he discusses the shock news that The Sentinel was not renewed, his thoughts
on the character of Jim Ellison and his approach to acting.
This Week, He Marries a Monster From Outer Space
by Michelle Erica Green
This week Richard Burgi returns to UPN as a married monster from outer space,
but that's not the comeback his fans are waiting for. They're anticipating new
episodes of The Sentinel, which will arrive at mid-season - or when the
network cancels one of its new shows, whichever comes first. For Burgi, the
return is highly anticipated but bittersweet.
This spring wasn't the first time Burgi found himself on a series which a
network had unceremoniously dumped...but in this case, he took it personally.
"I was hurt, I was depressed, I was pissed off," said the actor who
plays Detective (and Sentinel) Jim Ellison, now back in Vancouver to film eight
episodes, or possibly more. Consistently one of UPN's highest-rated series last
year, The Sentinel's abrupt cancellation took many industry insiders by
surprise - including its own actors and producers.
"We were all under the impression that we would be starting up in July,
that's how we left the show," Burgi recalled. "It's a sad
acknowledgement of the industry in some ways, the lack of dignity." Though
his co-star Garett Maggart was literally left in limbo when UPN failed to pick
up The Sentinel at the end of last season - after an episode in which
Maggart's character died onscreen - it's Burgi who talks about the series'
revival as a redemption of sorts from purgatory, a chance to play out the show
or at least to say goodbye properly.
"Even when I'm off, I still hold the inertia of going back to work in my
being, so I really needed to let all of it go, which I did - when I heard, I
told my wife, look, I need to go and clear out my head. I had a very emotional
reckoning with it," reported the actor, who said he was unaware of the fan
uproar and immediate formation of a campaign to save the series. "I left -
four days later, we went to Albuquerque on family stuff, and when I was in
Albuquerque I got a call about a project which I was offered and started a
couple of days later. I guess I have a different sense about it, having let it
New Jersey-bred actor is unwilling to make any more predictions about how long
the series might last, having been saved once from oblivion. "The
prevailing sentiment in terms of a lot of the people here is that there might
likely be another order of shows, but I don't put any stock in that," he
noted. "I'm looking forward to whatever comes. We're doing some fun
episodes; I'm just happy to be working. What would I like to have happen is that
it either goes on or dies a dignified death: press on with valor, or die with
Burgi had a similar experience at CBS on One West Waikiki, a detective
show set in Hawaii which co-starred Cheryl Ladd. "The show was very
well-received and was gaining in popularity, it was doing very well for CBS.
Then a new regime came in and needed to put their imprint on the programming.
There's a lot of egos involved."
This time around he got over his depression with the help of his family,
including his nearly two-year-old son, who ran around giggling in the background
throughout this interview while Burgi's wife played with him. "He's running
around naked, running on his hands," reported the actor, tone switching
from frustration to joy. "I'm more in love than I've ever been. I can't
imagine anything that surpasses this. The other side is, I could throw it all
away tomorrow and try to exist real simply, eke out a humble existence
someplace, have a garden and live a very pastoral, candlelight existence with my
Burgi is more philosophical and open than Jim Ellison, of whom he joked,
"I think the part of the character that looks like me is a lot like
me!" On Ellison's appeal, he hedged, "I guess I like the part of him
that's very, I don't know, masculine. In some ways he's a throwback to kind of
the hard-bitten, quasi-strong, silent type. He's not very effusive, he doesn't
embroider a lot of things, he's kind of acerbic, a bit cynical, I guess he's a
bit of an underdog in a lot of ways; I guess in some ways that's how I
As for what makes Ellison popular with the show's hundreds of thousands of
female fans, Burgi observed that "there's not a lot of bullshit about the
guy. He's a straight shooter, I guess he's just kind of a throwback to a
simpler, more streamlined type of man. He's not a product of some New Age status
quo," beginning to laugh at himself, "not some '90s version of a man
who's been beaten down by the feminist movement - I don't know! God, I don't
know! There's an assimilation of all of that!"
Ellison is of course in some ways the quintessential New Age man, in touch
with his animal nature (in his case a jaguar) and unafraid to express his
feelings for his partner and guide, Blair Sandburg. "But those are very
private things," Burgi pointed out. "I don't think that he would buy
crystals or go to a channeler for help. It's not like Bewitched where he
can wiggle his nose and conjure up the puma. There's a part of him that's very
secretive; people don't really see what his inner life is like, and they don't
need to, because he exudes a triumphant quality. Maybe that's what appealed to
me as well - this character who on the surface can be very cynical or doubtful,
but wants to see things in a concretized, heroic American way, and fight for the
weak and oppressed."
As for the relationship between Ellison and Sandburg, Burgi said it was one
of the things that attracted him to the role in the pilot movie when he
auditioned. "The relationship with Blair attracted me, and some of the
mystical qualities of the whole thing attracted me," he recalled. "The
subtext, the nascent quality of a sentinel and the relationship between these
characters, there's an undercurrent that people might be getting. I think it
bleeds through sort of like subliminal advertising, there's stuff that Bruce
[Young] and Garett and I have in our lives that bleed in. I think we all have
woven it into a fabric that has a deeper textual quality, so maybe that's what
is actually being perceived."
Asked about the section of the series' following who perceive a strong
homoerotic undercurrent between Ellison and Sandburg - the slash fans, who are
among the most passionate and vocal supporters of the series - Burgi laughed,
"That's funny!" but didn't resist the suggestion. "It's not
deliberate, but I think it's also something that lies dormant in the
super-unconscious of all men. You have these two who embody a relationship, it
just happens to be two men; the dichotomy is that they're from completely
divergent backgrounds and outlooks on life. They disagree, and then they choose
to grow within themselves, looking at the other as a reflection, trying to find
a sense of growth and understanding through forgiveness and compassion."
actor sees these issues as the underlying themes of the series, and credits them
much more than the action-adventure elements with The Sentinel's appeal.
He said, "I think the creators and the characters have all done a lot of
interesting work on ourselves and we all have a kind of gnostic spiritual
approach to things that embraces all religions, all spirituality, all kinds of
stuff. That's something that as I said is sort of subtextual. So on the surface
there's a denial of it in a lot of ways, but it's maybe a mirror for those
watching it - they can actually see within themselves something that's being
Burgi, who comes from a family of performers, has played a detective for many
years - "My younger brother and I had a little detective agency when we
were kids, we had this lab in the basement and we fashioned ourselves as junior
sleuths." He was interested in the Secret Service, "I loved the name,
I loved the idea of the stealthy nature of protecting and serving, doing all
that cloak and dagger bull." But he was not as interested in settling down
and getting busy with an acting career in his youth. He traveled throughout the
U.S. and Europe working odd jobs before starting to act, "kind of
late," having desired "that life patina that you can only grow from
Burgi described his father's death as a pivotal event in his youth, sending
him "propelled into a world of instability" which he needed to work
out of. Settling down to work as an actor helped with that; so did the acting
itself. "Every time you go in front of a camera or get on the boards,
you're out there on a limb and have no idea what's going to happen," he
explained. "It's kind of like when I was a kid and I used to jump off high
cliffs into water; I never knew if I was going to make it. I have the training
and a sense of method, but I just try to allow for the magic of the moment to
After laughing at his own alliteration, Burgi turned philosophical about the
value of performing. "It's like a Zen meditation, being in the moment
within the context of the present that is a fantasy - the fantasy of the
illusion of eternity, you know?" he asked rhetorically, then tried to
explain, "There's someone in Los Angeles - or India - just responding to my
being in the moment in a fantasy situation that is a reality for them, but it's
also a non-reality...an illusory moment of fantasy and reality at the same time.
I think that's where I am with life."
So he's trying to live in the moment even if the moment's not real?
"That probably sounded a little long-winded," he amended. "Sorry!
I guess I can be a little diffuse. This isn't just actor-speak for Burgi, who
said he applied the Stanislavski approach to his first job on the soap opera
Another World, which he followed up with parts on As the World Turns, One
Life To Live and Days of Our Lives.
"I tried to really live in that space at that time - I did more work in
preparation, I did a lot of Method work then, I feel really blessed that most of
the time, those emotions and that life is very available to me," said the
son of two performing artists. His recurring role as villainous Laine Cassidy on
Viper introduced him to The Sentinel creators Danny Bilson and
Burgi observed that at that point in his life, he was "living a darker
existence," and he believes that was what the team first saw in him. Now,
however, they have him playing "a champion of the light, of the good,
that's where he is, that's where I am in some way." His character Mack
Wolfe from One West Waikiki also started out "more lugubrious,"
but evolved into a hero. "I think it was organic in that way to take him in
that direction, because I think to watch people struggle through their dark
elements is appealing. Going through it and out and up into a joyful, winning,
positive, light area is appealing...and the possibility of sliding back."
The fan response to his shows have been gratifying for Burgi: "I think
that part of my philosophical, existential approach to life is that I'm really
here to serve, and my purpose on this planet is to hopefully make somebody's
life a bit more enjoyable, so it's terrific that what I'm doing is
appreciated." Lest he sound too serious, he also pointed out that he likes
to "goof around - it's all goof to me, I like to have fun, you know,
goofing." But even the goofing has a serious element for him. "I come
from a wild, vibrant household where the parties were very frequent and it was a
very fecund time of creativity and productivity, musically and artistically, and
What made him decide to play an undeniably goofy role in UPN's remake of I
Married a Monster From Outer Space? "I play this guy who gets abducted
and spat back and turns into a blob," Burgi laughed. "It was an hour
from my house, I could drive past my favorite surf break, I could see my wife
and son at the end of the day." The break from The Sentinel gave him time
to work on some projects that he hopes to produce, including some of his own
Burgi, whose fan club can be contacted at http://www.richardburgi.com, declined to
predict whether producing will supplant acting in his career over the next
decade, but said he hoped to be able to work on "a couple of different
projects that I've helped manifest, with a group of people that I really feel
connected to, trying to put out quality work with integrity, and hopefully
enlightening people. I think there's a constant urge on my part to heal and save
the planet and simplify life."
He also might like to have more children, and volunteer for environmental
causes. "I really want my son to maintain a connection to nature - any
project to preserve Mother Nature, I am there to support, and that's what I
would like to instill in my son as well - a real love for the natural element
and his place in the grand scheme of things." And one more thing: "I'd
like to be hanging ten on a really beautiful overhead glassy wave with my son
next to me on a board," admitted Burgi. "With my wife either on
another board or on the beach with her smiling countenance. Having a good
Interview originally published by Mania
Magazine on October 9, 1998
OFFICIAL FAN CLUB FOR RICHARD BURGI ANNOUNCED - Oct 11 1998
The following announcement comes from the fan club committee:
Not your typical star...
...Not your typical fan club.
The Official Richard Burgi Fan Club
Show your support and appreciation for Richard Burgi -- join his official
fan club today!
Members will receive:
Visit the RBFC website for
membership and Club information or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- an autographed photo
- a subscription to the Club's quarterly newsletter
- updates on guest appearances and interviews
- all the latest news about Richard's current and future projects
UPN'S PREMIERE WEEK A DOWNER - Oct 15 1998
Excerpt from Hollywood Reporter in the wake of the first week of UPN's new fall programming.
"UPN's week of premieres was a downer, with strong results on Wednesday and satisfactory
numbers on Thursday (I Married A Monster), but weak Nielsens on Monday, Tuesday and
"For Oct 5-11 UPN was down 37% vs. results for the same week last year. Rookies showing varying
degrees of promise are UPN's 7 Days. First-year disappointments include UPN's Guys
Like Us, Mercy Point, and Legacy. New shows in the deepest trouble include UPN's
DiResta and Desmond Pfeiffer.
"UPN's Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer (1.4 rating, 2 share in homes, 0.8/2 in adults
18-49) is all but dead after two airings, down on Oct. 12 by 13% vs. its disastrous premiere
last week. For the night, UPN averaged a 1.6/2 in homes, down a tenth from last week's rough
start for the netlet's worst-rated firstrun regular-fare Monday ever.
"UPN wobbled with its Friday launch, as Love Boat drifted 34% behind its season average
on Mondays last spring, equaling its lowest firstrun rating to date.
"UPN got off to a respectable Thursday start (I Married A Monster) beating WB's first
Thursday 18-49 rating of three weeks earlier. UPN got some (more) welcome good news from it
premiere of Seven Nights, (sic) which earned that netlet's best Wednesday rating since
last March 4.
"UPN's debuting lineup looked shaky, down by 30% vs. its year ago Aug. 26 Tuesday premieres.
UPN's premieres... hit an all-time UPN low for regular firstrun fare... on Monday."