The Official Website of
Paul Michael Glaser
"Our ability to love is our truest power, our greatest power as human beings." PMG
July 1, 2007
A Candid Interview with Paul, May, 2004
Pam: How wonderful it was to see you in ?Something?s Gotta Give? and ?Third Watch?. Will you be doing more work in front of the camera in the near future? (more major roles please!)
PAUL: I have no idea what is in the near future.
Pam: I am really looking forward to your book. I hope that it is your autobiography (and that you do it in audio book format as well). Your fans are incredibly excited about your 2 new screenplays that you are writing. We keep hearing rumors about ?Sam & Harry?, LOL! (Wish I could help you get the financing you need!) Your online fans and friends have been trying to think of a way to raise that $6 million for you. Gotta love that spirit! What can you tell me about your screenplays and the TV pilot that you?re working on? Is one a film for you and David? (Hopefully you?ll be the lead of each regardless!)
PAUL: The 'book' of which you speak, if and when I write it, is not an autobiography. As for screenplays and projects, it's bad luck to talk of them before they are happening. Sorry.
PAM: What is your TV pilot about?
Pam: Whether physically or emotionally, I will say that you always play being wounded with such passion.. makes me shiver. Brings a tear to one?s eye, a little tachycardia, ya know! How did you like playing ?by the book? Capt. Steeper?
PAUL: The 'Capt. Steeper' experience was enjoyable mainly because the 'Third Watch' people are a terrific group.
Pam: What do you feel are your greatest achievements so far?
PAUL: my greatest achievement so far is the last breath I just took.
Pam: How would you define your success today?
PAUL: I wouldn't define my success today. 'Success' is a dangerous word because it implies something achieved, something by which we identify ourselves. The only constant in the universe is change. So the only 'achievement' is my sometime success at focusing on the process,...staying present, and not believing in any 'thing' that I have accomplished.
Pam: In addition to your wonderful family, what brings you the greatest joy?
PAUL: My next breath. A well hit golf ball.Peace and Love.
Pam: What is your favorite type of music? Your favorite song or musician?
PAUL: Good music. How can anybody have a 'favorite' song? That implies that one song fits all moods, all times, and in that we are always changing, our moods and feelings always different, the music/songs that reflect those moments change as well.
Pam: What are your favorite books?
PAUL: Good books. May I presume to offer the distinction between 'writing' and 'literature.' 'Literature' speaks to a distinctive 'voice' on the part of the writer. That and the capacity to teach me and move me.
Pam: Are there one or two particular books that have helped make a difference in your journey?
PAUL: Far more than two.
Pam: If you had a book club, what would be your list of suggested readings?
PAUL: My memory prevents me from answering this very well. Here are a few books that I can remember:
'Hunchback of Notre Dame'
' The Green Accordion'
'Many Minds Many Masters'
'The old Testament'
'The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ'
Anything by Charles Dickens
'Interview with a Vampire'
'Stranger in a Strange Land'
'The Agony and the Ecstacy'
'Stones in the River'
' Uncle Remus'
And on...and on...
Pam: For years we all have heard about your artistic side (painting, photography, etc.) Is there a particular artist you draw inspiration from? Do you have a favorite artistic style such as contemporary, mosaic, still life, etc? Can we see some pictures of them?
PAUL: A good painting, a good photo, etc. What's 'good?' It's entirely subjective: what moves me, speaks to me, teaches me, reminds me.
Pam: From my personal experiences throughout the years, you?ve always seemed to be open, accessible to your fans. How do you really deal with it? I mean, I can?t imagine how it must be having the paparazzi lurking about or people always wanting to intrude on your space. (Ah, like now, LOL!)Your fans have even more admiration and love for you today than they did in the ?70?s. Do you absorb the goodwill and love of your fans or is it too surreal, a little scary?
PAUL: Celebrity can either be a creative experience, or a victim's curse. I have vacillated over the years, getting better at the 'creative' side as I get older. By 'creative' I speak to the realization that took until just a few years ago to dawn on me;...that time, circumstance, my needs etc.chose my life to be public. I can either say 'why me?' or 'Why not me?.' That and a degree of clarity that exists in the basic truth that people create their 'gods' in order to eat them. The positive side of the experience is that there is a lot of energy and love to tap into in the world. The most difficult thing is to honor the need and value to be alone.
Pam: Did you come to know yourself in a different way when you opened your heart again and found love and joy with Tracy ? How has that enhanced your journey?
PAUL: When you open your heart you come to know yourself and everybody else.
Pam: What are some of your favorite things about being a father?
PAUL: Being a father. WE don't get to choose the good the bad, the happy, the sad, the painful or the pleasure. But we do get to experience it all. And that's better than the alternative.
Pam: You have set forth an admirable example of incredible courage and strength in your life. That is not an easy thing to achieve when you?re constantly in the eye of the public. Those who?ve admired you all these years attribute a lot of their positive strengths to you. What are your thoughts about this? What advice can you give to people on teaching the younger generation to be courageous and strong in today?s world where many public figures often show bad behavior?
PAUL:. I think it's all about 'integrity: the ability to truly love and honor one's self by honoring others. The ability to learn as we teach, teach as we learn, give as we take, take as we give. Not identifying how 'different' we are, rather how much the same we are all. To understand that fear is meant to be in our lives in as much as we are powerless in the face of our mortality, but powerful in our ability as humans to know this and choose to have compassion for ourselves in our fear, and therefore compassionate towards others. Without fear, we would not find love, (compassion). To the extent that we can accept, be with that fear, not act on it or cover it with rage, anger, hate, jealousy, envy, greed, belief in the need for an exclusive truth,...is the extent to which we find ourselves a part of the human family...and it a part of us...and in that, we find our comfort, our love, our true identity,...and our integrity in our ability to honor that.
Pam: What are you most proud of about the man that you?ve grown into?
PAUL: To have learned to be a student.
Pam: What qualities do you have that would most make you want to be your friend.
PAUL: I make a mean fruit smoothy
Pam: What is something special about you that people would be surprised to know?
PAUL:. I make a mean fruit smoothy.
Pam: What would you say is your personal motto?
PAUL: "Nothing to do, nothing to change, everything is perfect just as it is."
Pam : What?s on your life?s ?to do list??
PAUL: Meditate on the above mantra
Pam: What are some of the best gifts you have ever received?
PAUL: Knowledge, wisdom, love,...this life.
Pam: You have said many times that you were not a happy child; a ?brat? is your definition of yourself. What fun childhood memories of Newton , MA do you have?
PAUL:Skating at Kennard's Pond. Pillaging the Concord grape vines in the back yard. Walking to Newton Centre for a soda. Jumping into Autumn's piles of dead leaves. Walking home on snowy evenings. Finishing mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, picking up the apples. Watching the winter squirrels leap across the leafless tree branches from my window. Jack Oven, the 'Fruit Man' and his green fruit truck. Dogs; Duke, then Dorn. Walking in the woods. The coolness of the garage on hot summer days.
Pam: A beautiful collection of memories.
Pam: What are your strongest motivators?
PAUL: Fear and love
Pam: Who was your mentor(s) growing up?
Pam: Let me rephrase. Were there actors you appreciated that influenced your career?
PAUL: I?ll forget more than I?ll remember. Olivier, Brando, Max Adrian, Johnny Depp, Paul Muny, Edward G. Robinson, Bogart, Peter ...?...., Sidney Greenstreet, Jimmy Cagney, Cary Grant, Cary Grant, .....character actors whose names I can?t remember, or never known. W.C. Fields, Charlie Chaplin, Lou Costello, George E. Brown, Rod Stieger, Marcello Mastroianni, Richard Burton, Peter O?Toole, Peter O?Toole, more of the ?Sirs? I am shamed to say I can?t remember,...James Dean, James Dean, on and onand on.....
Pam: What values did this person(s) contribute to your well-being and journey?
Pam: Was there a TV program or film that you remember which particularly attracted you to the craft of acting?
Pam: If you could interview someone you admired (living or dead), who would that be and what is the most important thing you would want to ask.
PAUL: Jesus. What really happened?
Pam: If his answer was ?it was as it was written,? how would that affect you?
PAUL: I?d ask him to speak to the editor and clarify what?s allegory and what?s not.
Pam: You call yourself a ?Jew-BU?. It is my understanding that Buddhism encourages its practitioners to engage in smrti ( sati) or mindfulness, developing a full consciousness of all that you are about and all that is within you and to know that there is good in all of us and that all of us should just try to be the best person we can be. Do you feel that you have achieved this for yourself?
PAUL: I don't think we ever 'arrive' at or 'achieve' any place, or accomplishment, albeit we run in pursuit of the goal and then try to frame it, own it or describe it.The journey is everything. The arrival is an illusion.
Pam: How do you weave Judaism into your beliefs?
PAUL: It weaves itself.
Pam: Your first directorial was S&H?s ?Bloodbath? episode. What was that experience like? From that experience, what would you like to share with someone who was about to take on their first role as director.
PAUL: 'Ass bites chair.'
Pam: What aspects of directing do you enjoy most? What aspect do you find challenging?
PAUL: I enjoy teaching, moving the camera, solving problems, telling the story. Most challenging is fighting the clock and the elements and striving for some balance.
Pam: What are some of the most difficult problems you have been challenged at solving?
PAUL: My next breath.
Pam: I don't particularly care for the rapid "panning camera" angle shots that some programs use. It moves too quickly around the scene and shifts too fast between actors. How do you decide how many camera angles you will shoot and whether or not you want to use that type of camera shot?
PAUL: I try to look for the ?organic? connection to what is happening in the scene, from who?s point of view, the emotional rhythm, pace, transition from one scene, moment to the next. When I plan a film, I try to sit down and ?shoot the script? with the cameraman at least two or three times, not so much to plan shots, though ideas do flow, but rather to get a handle on intent, p.o.v., color, temperature, pace, transitions, etc.
Pam: If you could direct and act in any production of your choice, what would that be or would you write something for yourself to do? (Your new script perhaps? J )
PAUL: Acting and directing at the same time is counter-productive.
Pam: Yes, I guess it would be and yet you successfully did that several times in S&H.
PAUL: You?re biased. I also wrote myself out of as much as I could.
PAM: Ah, hmm, yes that's true (and I do try not to be biased )..but still, it worked even though your visual performance was only about 20% of the script!
Pam: When you develop and portray your character roles, how do you put his attributes together? How do you pull his personality out from inside of you?
PAUL: We are all the same. Same fears, same feelings, same needs. Just need to identify the character's attributes in you.
Pam: And you do that so well. For example, you put so much personality and passion into ?Starsky? that one could think that it was actually an autobiographical portrayal rather than a fictional character.
PAUL: Aside from the writer/creator?s biographical creation of the character, film characters, especially one?s that become iconic, are never very far from the personality of the actor. That?s not to say the actor?s personality is iconic, just those elements that he/she has trotted out to feature in that character.
Pam: Which comes easier for you: the creative process of developing a character for you to portray from someone?s script and working him into the scenes. or writing and developing a character in your own screenplay.
PAUL: Both different. Both layers of an onion revealing deeper and deeper layers.
Pam: Clearly the craft of acting and film-making is, for you, more about the expression of the aspects of the character or the story which the actor or director finds themselves. It's like disclosure or discovery.
Many in the culture of Hollywood seem to be doing the opposite: putting on masks provided by stories or characters. Acting is for them just pretending.
PAUL: Yes, acting is a ?taking off of masks,? not a putting on of them. I try to find the parallel to my own life at that time in whatever I do so I can understand the ?why? of what I?m doing and therefore know where ?home? is when I run into problems.
Pam: Do you see yourself as a teacher helping people to take off such masks and allow what is real to be ?more honestly expressed?? Is this at the heart of your ?teaching? role as director?
PAUL: I would say that ?learning? is at the heart of my teaching. When I teach, I learn more about myself, more about that part of myself I love.
Pam: Has your career, so far, been as fulfilling as you had dreamed of or are there still some directions that you would like to try?
PAUL: I try not to focus on that question because there are always things you wish you could do, have done,...but that has nothing to do with what is. And what is, is all there is. ("Nothing to do, nothing to change, everything is perfect just as it is").
Pam: Tell me about your summer stock stage experiences.
PAUL: Two and a half summers of two-week stock, (rehearsing a play for two weeks while performing another the same two weeks). One summer of one-week stock. One summer of Shakespearean repertory.
Pam : What are your fondest memories of your college days at Tulane and BU?
Pam: ?The Lady Cries Murder?, I think, was your last stage appearance. Would you ever do stage work again? What would you like to do?
PAUL: The theatre is the actor's medium. I'd always like to go back.
Pam:You once said that you would love to write a role for yourself as Shakespeare?s King Richard. Did you, at least write one?
PAUL: Don't remember saying that,...
Pam: Looking over your career so far (directing, acting or writing), what do you consider your best work and why?
PAUL: I don't think I've done my best work.
Pam: No time like the present!
PAUL: I stand corrected. The present is all we have. So I guess, right here, right now, this is my best work.
Pam: ?Wait till Your Mother Gets Home? and ?The Great Houdini? are two of my favorite movies that you have acted in..so far! Is there one that you performed in that you are most proud of?
Pam: The stunts you performed in ?The Great Houdini? were amazing. Being submerged upside down for so long must have been a little scary. How demanding, especially the water tank, were they for you to learn?
PAUL: Past the discomfort of water rushing up my nose while being lowered upside down into the tank and the increased water pressure,....it wasn't too difficult.
Pam: I have many favorite ?Starsky & Hutch? episodes; Starsky?s Lady, Tap Dancing (no one can dip like ?Ramone?!), Bloodbath, Deckwatch (loved the symbolism of that loudly ticking clock), A Coffin for Starsky, The Fix, Survival, Shootout, Pariah, I love you, Rosie Malone, to name just a few. The wonderful friendship and love that you and David shared on and off screen is what made that series. Is there a particular episode that emulated the beauty of your friendship? Do have a favorite episode or two?
PAUL. I can't remember.
Pam: If you were to write, direct and star in a movie project with David Soul, what would you most like it to be about?
Pam: In 1976 and 1977, we were all happy to vote for you for the People?s Choice Awards and you won the 1977 & ?78 Photoplays ?Favorite Male Actor?. After the lights and camera?s were off that evening, how did those awards make you feel and do you still proudly display them?
PAUL:People create their "gods" in order to eat them.
Pam: Hmmm, not sure how I feel about that response
PAUL: Think about it. We endow certain people with God-like capabilities, that is to be able to overcome their fear of death and attain goals: heroism. Once they?ve done that, we want a piece of them. Their picture, piece of clothing, autograph, .....communion wafer....
Pam: Yes, that's why I had to think about how to respond to that. I have been thinking about it since you first said it. I won't say that I don't have a few pictures of you because, of course, being a follower of your career, ummm..yes I do. And when did that start? On the big screen with our favorite mover and shaker ... "Perchik"..LOL.
I am, at heart though, an admirer of your skills and yes that includes all your "achievements." Does that say that I "createmy gods in order to eat them"? Perhaps so and still, it makes me question myself. I know, as a well educated professional that I shouldn't idolize (for lack of better word) but in my heart, I do enjoy you and your work.In fact, I am enjoyingyour insights... always teaching, aren't you!
PAUL: We ALL create our gods in order to eat them. It's a human condition.
Pam: I find that most of your responses are very spiritual. Certainly, it's an important part of your life. Is there a teacher or literature that has been particularly helpful to you?
PAUL: INSIGHT MEDITATION: Joseph Goldstien, Sharon Saltzberg. It?s an ?eclectic? journey. I have been fortunate to have a number of ?teachers.?
Pam: I loved your cameo in the S&H movie (ah.. the only reason I went to see it). I was invited to see an early premier of it in late February and when you and David came on the screen EVERYONE cheered and gave you a standing ovation. It was awesome to see, it truly was and I must say, I did get a little teary eyed about it! I loved your reluctancy in handing over the keys and fighting for the Motorola with Ben! I was, however, disappointed that they made a spoof out of it where you and David put a lot of hard work into the characters of S&H. What was it like sliding back into that role after all these years?
PAUL: Like riding a bicycle.
Pam: The EGPAF has helped to make profound strides in the fight against pediatric AIDS. I am happy to be able to volunteer and do what I can for them and in honor of you. HIV / AIDS has had a tremendous impact on your life as we all know. What is the most positive thing that you have embraced from your experience?
PAUL: We can choose whether to be victims in this lifeor strive to acknowledge and accept our fear and to embrace the opportunity to open our hearts and find compassion for ourselves as well as others.
Pam: How would you like to be remembered?
PAUL: For my smile.
Pam: That already is a given! I think that people will include in their memories of you that you are a man of deep intellect, full of passion and spirituality. One of the finest examples of courage, strength and wisdom. A teacher of the human spirit whose smile lights up the world.
Pam: Years ago, your recipe for Curried Squash Soup was printed in S&H Monthly. I love it and make it frequently. What are your favorite foods? Places to eat? What do you enjoy cooking for yourself and friends?
Pam : Describe your typical exercise routine.
Pam: What is your favorite golf course and why?
PAUL: Riviera ..... It's old, but it never gets old.
Pam: What?s your handicap?
PAUL: Right now? 11
Pam: Say, that?s pretty good! I won?t tell you mine!
Pam: You wear a knitted speckled black & white scarf a lot. Did someone special make that for you?
Pam: What?s the best thing that you have bought or done for yourself?
PAUL: My clogs. Smiled.
Pam: Red Sox or Yankees?
PAUL: Need you ask?
Pam: Well, of course you?re still a Sox fan!
Pam: Any closing remarks?
Pam: So? you are in your glory in the fullness of the truth of who you are as both divine and human in this life, moment by moment.
I for one, rejoice knowing that you are filled with peace and serenity.
PAUL: Would that I were. I strive to know it, and do occasionally, when the pendulum swings from the extreme of attachement, past that moment of peace/presence, on its way to the extreme of aversion.
Pam: I wish that you, and I for that matter, did come to know and experience it completely. Perhaps the joy of the journey is always striving to get there. To be at the point at which peace and serenity is everywhere at every moment.
Pam: Thank you Paul!
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