The Official Website of
Paul Michael Glaser
"Our ability to love is our truest power, our greatest power as human beings." PMG
January 16, 2007
Jewish Television Network, 1998
This interview was conducted in 1998 at "Jerry's Famous Deli" in Westwood CA with Jewish Television Network's "Celebrity Profile" host, Saul Turtletaub. They sat at a nice table in the middle of the room where they were served coffee, orange juice, water, a fruit plate and bagel. PAUL was wearing a lovely slate blue jacket and shirt, blue jeans and brown clogs.
Paul is very relaxed, a wonderful interview.
ST: This, as you know is JTN Celebrity Profile. I am Saul Turtletaub, and, I, my profile today
PAUL: Looks good.. turn to side
ST: ...you like my profile?... is PAUL Michael Glaser, ah,who you know as many people. You know as an actor, as Starsky, and we were talking before and that we now known as Starsky and Klutz, Paul and I. You knew him when he was doing Starsky and Hutch and also as a super director. What do you like doing better?
PAUL: Ah, you mean acting or directing? (Big smile) Can you give me a few more choices(laughs)?
ST: Not that we need them. What else is there? (laughs)
PAUL: Well.., there's golf
ST: There's, like, golf
PAUL: There's golf, and there's ah, reading and there's ah, my baby daughter.
ST: Yes, Zoe.
ST: How old is Zoe?
PAUL: Zoe's 8 months,....she's 8 months.
ST: Ah. She is cute. The last time I saw PAUL, was at the "Bris" of our grandchild that, ah...
PAUL: That's right.
ST: ... that Maxwell Lee Turtletaub's "Bris"..
PAUL: That's right.
ST:..and Zoe was there...
PAUL: And Zoe was there.
ST: ...sizing them up!
PAUL: Well, (laughs) that's right. She's actually gotten into pointing now.
ST: Oh, really.
PAUL: Yes, you know. They get to a point where all of a sudden there's (PAUL looks up at the corner of the room and points) you look where they're pointing....
ST: I'm waiting.
PAUL: you look and you go "What are you pointing at?" and they go.. (PAUL points at different parts of the room, then down at the table and then his nose)
ST: (laughs)That's it, they're pointing at their finger tips.
PAUL: (laughs) that's right.
ST: I'm waiting for those things to happen, where, right now, Max is only 3 1/2 months and I'm waiting for stuff. When does "stuff" happen?
PAUL: Well, you know, I'm really bad at this. I don't know. ah, Zoe started to roll...
ST: In the bed?
PAUL:(laughing) In the bed. She started rolling she, ahh, you know something, she'll never crawl She'll just roll. You know....
ST: She'll just roll.
PAUL: ..you know those trains, you know, you know the train yards, where the train would come in and the train turntable would move, you remember those...
ST: Right, that's right.
PAUL:...were incredible and you say "wow... that would be a great thing to see.."
ST: Right, that's right.
PAUL: Well, Zoe, rolls to where she wants to go. She looks over there (pointing to his left) and says "I want to go over there and she gets on the turntable and crabs around with her arms and then she rolls over there and then she wants to go some place else, she kinda crabs around and rolls that way.
ST: You know the old saying you have to roll before you can crawl.
PAUL: I don't think so, I don't think so..
ST: You don't think she'll crawl?
PAUL: (big smile)No, she's gonna go right from rolling to give me the keys! (PAUL and Saul both laugh)
ST: That's good. That's good. Now you gotta, I guess, well we never had daughters, as you know, so I don't know. I think I'd be a nervous father if I had daughters.
PAUL: I think that the mother has more trouble with the daughters than the father does. The father as the trouble with the sons. You know...
ST: Why, because you feel that's it's your obligation to make a...
PAUL: Well, I think the son goes, son compares him and, and, and, competes with the father and the daughter compares and competes with the mother.
ST: You know what I think you're right, and I think that never stops. I think it goes right on till their 35.
PAUL: Till the grave!
ST: Yea, 'til the grave and that's it and maybe even afterwards!
PAUL: (laughing) Probably!
ST: That's the expression he turned over in the grave. The rolling never stops.
PAUL (laughing) Rolling never stops.
ST: Now, tell me where you and Tracy met, cause, I don't know that. I know...
PAUL: We met at a meeting...at a business meeting
ST ah huh
PAUL: ... . I was coming into talk to somebody about a project.. and, ah she was, ah, the president of the company.
ST: What company was it?
PAUL: It was, ah,ah, Peter's Entertainment
PAUL: And so we started having, ah, conversations about this project, then I asked her out for lunch and I grilled her.
ST: For lunch.
PAUL:(laughing) for lunch
ST: Was that delicious or what!
PAUL: (hearty laugh) Oh God help us!
ST: So and, and it ..did she have anything to do with, ah, Kazaam, the movie?
PAUL: Well, she kinda, kinda,it,she had a lot to do with it in that she was there and she was my support, and she was my feedback, my mirror. You know, this was, this happened,... Kazaam was a project that ah, about 2 months after Elizabeth had died, some one called me and the said "do I know of a good film role for Shaquille O'Neal?" I said no and , he otta play a genie and I hung up the phone. I thought to myself, well, that's not a bad idea and I was taking Jake to the All-Star game in Phoenix...
ST: Jake's, Jake is Paul's...
PAUL: that's my son, Jake's my son.
ST: Jake's your older son, right.
PAUL: My son, Jake's my son, right, 13 1/2. and so, when I got there, um, I met, ah, Shaquille O'Neal, I met his attorney / manager and I said what do you think of this idea? And, of course, they said "well, its great. Do it." It would be great or and whatever. Then I got very fortunate. I found a couple of writers, we sat down and we ah, we ah, created this script and then 10 1/2 weeks we had a green light and a script....
ST: Who, who gave you... what company was that?
PAUL: I did it with Robert Quark, my friend, Robert Quark, who was at that time at Interscope.
ST: Oh,yah, that's right,Ted Fields.
PAUL: Yeah, and then DISNEY ended up, ah, releasing it.
ST: Ah, huh, well, I saw it, I told you, I saw it over the weekend.
PAUL: Yea, you told me that.
ST: And, ah, I was impressed with, first of all, knowing now how hard it is to be a director, since my son has become a director. Ah, I was impressed not only with watching the movie that's fun to watch, but what you had to know. I mean, there's a lot of special effects in there and I don't know how they do any of that. Did you know any of that when you started?
PAUL: Ah, no, I didn't, I didn't, ah, you know, but, you know, so much of directing is ah, ah, problem solving. When it gets to the point of you making the movie....
PAUL: ..... and, ah, I'd like to think that with enough information you can problem solve and then the issue is how specific you are about applying your attention, you know...
ST: I thought you did a great job with O'Neal cause he came off as an actor... I mean...
PAUL: Well, I...
ST: A lot of these guys don't..
PAUL: He had a very nice presence, a very nice presence, you know.
ST: He really does, and I was telling Paul before, Jake, his son, is in the movie and is terrific!
PAUL:(proud grin) yea
ST: And he is what you call a natural.
PAUL: (nodding his head) Jake is, he's a good actor
ST: He really is. It was a surprise to see him there and a happy surprise to see that he knows what's he's doing
PAUL: (biting his lip) Well,yea
ST: Did he enjoy doing it?
PAUL: Yea, he enjoyed it. He had a good time.
ST: When did you know you were gonna be in this business. How old? I know you come from Massachusetts and your dad was an archi....
PAUL: My father was an architect. My dad was an architect, I Have 2 older sisters, the middle....the... younger of the two older sisters, ah, was determined to be an actress and I think, when,. we were very close when we were kids and I think I kinda followed in her footsteps and I found myself in my last 2 years of High School pursing aggressively starting to think about acting and getting involved in it. My mother used to do a lot of story telling and ah, um, you know and performance....
ST: Were you close to your mom, your dad, your...
PAUL: Yea, my mother, she really did an awful lot of about , you know, we had a lot of music, a lot of art, a lot of ah, ah, theater. Took us to the theater a lot..
PAUL:... and so I kinda headed in, ah, that direction. So when it came time to apply to a college, I choose a college with a good theater department. Then in the summers I did summer stock and repertory.
ST: So you know that you were aiming all the time...
PAUL: I was aiming that way then I went to England and studied in England for a while.
PAUL: yep and...
ST: But you got tired of acting.
PAUL: Well, when I ah, when I did Starsky and Hutch, I ah, kinda felt like I, it was not gonna go anywhere from there That was not a time when there was a lot of transition from television to film, ah, for actors. Only a few people had done it. Um, I think also, that film became very intriguing to me. I began to really enjoy the whole idea of dancing with a camera and telling a story. I've always liked photography so, I loved telling a story with pictures and I love teaching and I love helping actors, and ah, so I gravitated to the ideas of, ah, of ah, directing and learning directing. So along about the second year of Starsky and Hutch, I said that's it, I'm gonna direct.
ST: How many years did they do?
PAUL: Starsky and Hutch?
PAUL: 4 years.
ST: So, the last 2 years you had your mind on...
PAUL:The last 2 1/2 years, I was saying to them, "Ah, look, I wanna direct so write David and write me down and so...
ST: So you could direct Starsky and Hutch?
PAUL:So, they kept saying to me "well, but, David will become star!". I said, Right, that's it (big smile), I'll direct!
ST: Well, you know how I know how strongly you felt about that because in 1982, my partner and I came up with Eve Branstein for Norman Lear, a show called "ER".
PAUL: Oh, yes.
ST: We did a show about an emergency room and the title of that show was in fact, "ER" and one of the stars in that show was George Clooney as a matter of fact. And Jason Alexander and we wanted you to be the lead on that show.
PAUL: That's so interesting.
ST: You remember that conversation?
PAUL: Well, you know, going way back, there was a producer, a,ah, Lawson...
ST: Glen Lawson.
PAUL: Glen Lawson, had a show about an emergency room and for 5 brief minutes, I had said, wow, that would be a really interesting thing to be involved with and it just didn't work out at the time. And, I don't think the timing was right. But, I,.. I,... I think that was ah, a great, that's a great place and it's been proven by it's success.
ST: Right and when we talked to you about coming and considering the show you said no, you decided you didn't want to act anymore, you gonna, you wanna direct.
PAUL: No, I think that for me, you know, I think,I...I hit my exposure at the time, you know and I wanted to move on. When I look back at my, my career or careers or whatever, I find that I've always gravitated towards moving from one thing to another, you know, ... OK, that was an interesting challenge, now I like to move to something else and to something else and so, ah, you know, once in a while I think myself you know. It was a career move but, if it was an interesting role,or a director or situation, it would be fun to get back on that bicycle and ah know, I did it for along, long time and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the dance of it. You know, it's what I (big smile) call the dance, like Cary Grant had a great dance, his timing was great and ya know....
ST: Well, you did a musical.
PAUL: I did a musical.
ST: I remember and most people, I don't know that if you know, that in the movie, Fiddler on The Roof, Paul played Perchik...
PAUL: That's right.
ST: One of the guys that married one of the daughters.
PAUL: The revolutionary.
ST: The revolutionary.
PAUL: He was abandoned to Russia.
ST: Now, now,how did you get that part?How did that all come about?
PAUL: That was a, that was interesting. I was doing a, ah, soap opera during the day in New York, one of the last LIVE soap operas.
ST: Which one?
ST: ah, huh.
PAUL: And, um, and I was doing a Broadway show at night. I was doing "Butterflies Are Free".
ST: Ah, huh. I remember that. Leonard Gersh wrote that.
PAUL: Yeah, and I got a phone call from my agent saying they were doing Fiddler on The Roof and I was dating a girl from Fiddler on The Roof of, the, the, Broadway show. And so, I had only seen the last 10 minutes. I had never seen the whole show. So, I had picked it up and read the ah, the script and I called my agent back and said "This guy here is, ah, 19 years old in Victorian Russia, so that means he really is 16, and I am 27. This doesn't work. I'm too old. She said "Well, they wanted to meet you". So I said "OK" and so I went to Sheri Netherlands and knocked on Norman Jewisons' door and Norman opens the door and looks at me and says "What are you doing here?"I said. "I'm here to read for Perchik" he says "You're too old"( Paul gives a big laugh and grin).
PAUL: (laughing) "That's what I came to tell you". Hello! So he said, "Well, come in,I've got 45 minutes, I got nothing to do. Come on in." So I went in there and we, ah, he said "You wanna read, lets read." So we started to read and I picked Norman up and danced him around the room and he said "Well, thank you, Good". And a week later he called me and asked me out to Hollywood to do a ah, a screen test.
ST: And the rest is.....
PAUL: And the rest was, ah, right.
ST: Now,did you have a song in that? I don't remember.
PAUL: There was a song. They took Perchik's song out from the Broadway show and they, we, prerecorded a new song and up till the day we completed the scene, after which the song was to have been sung, they were undecided. Norman was undecided whether to use the song or not and ultimately we did not use the song.
ST: So you didn't have a song?
PAUL: It was a great song.
ST: You wanna do it now for us?
PAUL: No, I can't remember it. It was great though (laughing).
ST: (laughs) That's terrific. Now, I saw it last night or recently, I don't know when this show is exactly going to be shown. But, recently on the News I saw that you were at the ah, affair for Pediatric AIDS.
ST: And it brought back fond memories for, of course,of Elizabeth and the beginnings. I remember we were at the very first running. How was it? First of all, what progress is being made there? Is stuff getting done?
PAUL: Yes, it's ah, ah, you know, the Foundation funds 5 new scientists a year for 5 years. It's called the Elizabeth Glaser Scientist Programs or Awards and they do what we call interdisciplinary research which is communication with each other while they're doing the research.
ST: That's great.
PAUL: Which until the advent of the HIV virus, it was unheard of scientists to have that kind of communication. Ah, that along with ah, the Foundation constantly trying to ah, ah, create a greater focus on the issues of availability of the drug, expensive drugs, clinical research done by the pharmaceutical companies. One of the big problems has been not only in Pediatric AIDS but in all pediatric diseases, that the pediatric medicine is not a lucrative, as lucrative a field as adult medicine. So the pediatric pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies haven't a reason to go in there and so one of the things I've been ah, ah, going on and on about is finding ways to make people understand that our, our children are our legacy and they're our future and we really need to make sure that we grow a strong crop and continue to do that and not think of ourselves in the short term but think of our planet in the long term. And one..........
ST: And they, they just financially should realize the pharmacists, that they get these kids to grow up, then they will buy the adult drugs.
PAUL: (laughs)Then they'll be able to.
ST: And then they'll get money from them... you know,
PAUL: So, that's, you know, that's, so,so, it;s an interesting problem because what's happened is pediatric AIDS has become and AIDS in general has become what's perceived as a manageable disease, which means that it's no longer the crises, the darling crises, that,oh my God, this is happening. We gotta deal with it now.
PAUL: Now, enough medicines have been found that people are very content to be able to say,"it's under control". We don't have to worry about it, it's like diabetes....
ST: But you always worry.
PAUL: Well, the problem is in this country, we've always been able to ah,ah, bring the issue of pediatric AIDS under control to a great degree. Although, one of the big issues now is getting, ah, pregnant women to understand that they should be tested...
ST: Ah, huh.
PAUL: There's been a lot of resistance up to the present, but now, if we can get them tested, then we have a , up to 95%% efficacy rate on intervening with drugs to stop the transmission of the virus from mother to child.
ST: Well, that's, that's marvelous and we're just talking about money for this research.
PAUL: Well, so we're talking about money for this research, we're getting to talk about advocacy, we're talking trying to get people to understand more that this is an issue that is not going away and ya know, the other reality is that world wide it's a very grim picture
ST: ah, huh.
PAUL: Nobody wants to hear that, nobody wants to hear "chicken little the sky is falling, the sky is falling...
PAUL: But, the reality is that we all live cheek to jowl in this world. It's a close smaller world and what whatever's going on over there is going on here so it's only a matter of time to let it born out of the truth so it is prudent of us and smart...
ST: Uh, huh.
PAUL: ...of us to get into this and deal with it.
ST: Now, we were talking about Starsky and Hutch. Are you and David, ah,ah, I knew you during those years, but I don't think we were ever the same place that he and you worked together.
ST: Were you friends on that show?
PAUL: We were, we were. We had a very strong connection, the two of us.
ST: And do you see each other still?
PAUL: We speak about once or twice a year. David lives in England.
ST: Oh, does he?
ST: What's he doing over there?
PAUL: He does plays, does theater, does his music.
ST: Cause I do find in this business, you can be close with someone day after day for 5 years or 4 years...
PAUL: That's the nature of....
ST: ... and then suddenly "bang", it's gone away.
PAUL: That's the nature of our business. It's like you get together to do a movie, it's like a gypsy company getting together or it's like, you know, everyone comes together. It's such an intense journey and such a close journey. There's a strong sense of family....
PAUL:... and then it's over.
ST: Did you, ah, have any kind of Jewish feeling about when you were young of Judaism and?
PAUL: Well, my father's father was a very religious man. He was one of the founders of a very big conservative temple in Boston Kehilath Israel in Brookline, Massachusetts and my mother wasn't, ah, at all raised in a very strong Jewish tradition.As a matter of fact,she was basically agnostic.
ST: Ah, huh.
PAUL: Ah, but, he, my father, he continued, not a conservative tradition, so I had my experience of Sunday school, ah..
ST: Bar Mitzvahed?
PAUL: (big delightful smirk here) I was Bar Mitzvahed, umm..
ST: Ah huh, in the conservative?
PAUL: No, reform, reform and ah, then I, ah, then I kinda went... I've been in a very spiritual journey of my life. I don't know that in Judaism, I have found an awful lot of the idiom or the teaching's applicable in my daily life. And I, I know it's there....
ST: Ah huh.
PAUL: ...I hear more and more about people studying the Kabbal..Kabbalah? Kabbal?
PAUL: I hear, I, ah, about young progressive Rabbi's who are, are, bringing the teachings of Judaism to a applicable....
PAUL: understanding or you know, ah, ah, in, in terms of day to day living.
ST: Uh huh.,
PAUL: I don't think I ever ah, ah, achieved that or was able to experience that. So I find myself, I'm kind of a fringe what they call a "JewBu".
ST: What is a "JewBu"?
PAUL: Jewish Buddhist.
ST: Ah, huh.
PAUL:Yeah, so, I find myself very interesting. I think a lot are interested in Buddhism and I find probably a lot of that for me is that the spiritual core of my religious training which, ah, I got from my father and my grandfather, I, in an interesting way and, and think I am more able to extract that from another teaching without all of the distraction of the rituals....
PAUL: .....and the paraphernalia. It's...
ST: It's interesting but I can't follow too well because I don't know what Buddhism is and what they say.
PAUL: Well, if you consider all religions talk about the same thing...
ST: Right, which is...
PAUL: ... and I really believe that. Well...
ST: Goodness and God and belief in another being.
PAUL: Ah, consciousness here and now and you can on and on about, but it, I think ultimately for me, throughout history, all religions speak about the same things. We can all say "no, my religion speaks about better or we speak about different things..."
PAUL:... but, I think that we're providing an illusion for ourselves because we're all one. We're all in this together. We're, in we're all in the same, all part of the same thing. So, you know, if you choose, you say, I like roast beef instead of turkey I like this religion as opposed to that religion. I think that in the, my training as a young man and as I grew up, I think that for me while there was a strong emotional attachment, a spiritual attachment,...
PAUL: ..well, lets say an emotional attachment and a social conditioning to, ah, Judaism or from, ah, Judaism, I think that I was always searching for something that was spiritually spoke to me...
ST: ah huh.
PAUL:... without all the weight, the guilt, the weight...
PAUL: ... the, the, the stuff, ya know, do this and therefore you will be. Save this, do this, wear this, obey this and therefore you will be. It never worked for me and I found myself always looking for some way to experience myself free of all that razzmatazz.
ST: Right. Have you been to Israel at all?
PAUL: I've been to Israel twice.
ST: ah huh.
PAUL: So, you know, so I found....
ST: How do you feel when you get over there? Does it do anything?
PAUL: Well, you know, Israel was an interesting situation. First time I was in Israel in 1959, I worked in Kibbutzim, Giv'atayim.
ST: What were they..
PAUL: Giv'atayim was a big, ah, it's a cannery apparently, they have peaches,ah, I think avocados, I don't know, I'm guessing. And Kfar Giladi , I don't remember really well. It was a border with Kibbutz. They had ah, ah, a good history of fighting you know , with the Arabs at the time. When I went back there in '79, I took my father because he had never been to Israel and I wanted him...
ST: Now, will you tell me why you went there in the first place?
ST: Ah huh.
PAUL: And he was from Israel and my father who was a graduate of MIT, met him and asked him to teach me my Haftorah and teach me Hebrew. So, he and I became very close, this man, this teacher, and he went and ended up taking 12 young men to the Brussels's World's Fair and...
ST: That's nice.
PAUL:... through France and then we got on the Theodore Hertzl, which is one of the reparation boats and we sailed from Marseilles to Haifa and we spent a month and one-half in Israel, two months in Israel.
ST: That's exciting and then you went back and took your dad?
PAUL: So, I took my dad, my dad, dad (he stutters) "thoo", (laughs) back in '79. He had never been to Israel ah,and I wanted him to go and he had a few, ah, you know, intense periods when his Judaism mean a lot to him, so I wanted him to have that...
ST: That's beautiful!
ST: It usually works the other way, the father takes the son.
PAUL: Yah, so, I took him there and at the time, Starsky and Hutch was through the roof, it was huge a hit and over there it was out of control.
ST" Was it a ....
PAUL: Yah, totally.
ST: Did they know you from the other movie, from Fiddler on The Roof?
PAUL: Ah, they might of, I don't know and,um, so we, ah, so ya know, so I took him over there and he loved it and,ah, we had a very interesting time and I found that, I found that I had very, very ambivalent feelings. You know, you had that feeling of putting your foot on the tarmac and going I'm home.
PAUL: And then you have the feeling that Israelis are looking a you and saying "Are you American or are you a Jew?"
ST: Ah, huh.
PAUL : I go,"Wait a minute guys, relax, (he waves his hands and laughs), relax!"
ST: That's a feeling, nobody, did they, they actually said that to you?
PAUL: No, that was articulated, that was articulated... you know..
ST: (laughing)They said it, those words?
PAUL: Ya know, the Israelis, its understandable, have a fair amount of, you know, aggressiveness in their opinions, their attitudes.
ST: Yes, they sure do, yah.
PAUL:And so,they were, ah, you know, why don't you speak Hebrew, you know, it was, they,they, were very aggressive and I, I found myself feeling like, well, wait a minute guys you know, I'm Jewish...
ST: I understand.
PAUL:...and I like being Jewish and I don't have a problem with it, but....
ST: That's a nice thing to hear as we fade out, cause, I'm told it's time to say good-bye (moving his hand like a puppet) or else Sheri Lewis is over there talking..
PAUL: Oh, (big smile).
ST: Thank you for watching us, Thank you Paul for talking to me..
PAUL: Thank you
ST: It's funny, I've know you so long and now I'm just beginning to know you and I'm glad and I want to get to know Tracy and Zoe. Thanks for watching JTN Celebrity Profile (he looks at Paul) which you have and are.
Transcribed by Pamela
Please use the SITEMAP for complete navigation of this site!
All contents copyright of PaulMichaelGlaser.org
Speeches are the personal property of Paul Michael Glaser, and paulmichalglaser.org
They are NOT to be copied and posted on other sites or used in any other fashion.
Transcripts by Pam.
Linguist team: Raffaella, Hilly, Marion