Q&A with Alex Cord

Article by Haakon Kjole 37 / Published 24 Jan 2002, 05:20
Alex is of course Archangel who played a big part in most of the Airwolf-series. Who can forget this man with his distinct look, immaculate white suits & black eyepatch? We have been fortunate enough to interview him, and here is the result.
Hi Alex, it´s great that you have agreed to answer the questions from all of your loyal fans! We have had tremendous feedback while developing this online Q&A, and most of the questions have been emailed us from fans all over the world. We have chosen to divide the interview into sections, with some of the "standard" questions first. Here we go:
1. What have you been doing lately?

Writing a novel; "Yes". Becoming a grandfather of twins, a boy and a girl.
2. Do you have any TV or movie appearances coming up in the near future?

No. But scripts are constantly coming in and am looking for the right one!
3. How did the cast get along together, off camera, during the shooting of "Airwolf"?

Everybody got along very well. Ernie Borgnine was a prince and still a great friend, the consummate professional. We both share Italian heritage. Jeanne Bruce Scott was a sweetheart. Jan Michael Vincent was an extremely talented and interesting actor to work with. Off camera, a man of diverse interests and pursuits.

4. Have you kept any props or momentos from the show?

Two straw hats .. a white cashmere sweater .. a pair of white shoes .. I gave the canes and the patches back.

5. With regard to some standing sets ... obviously Archangel´s office and Hawke´s cabin were on a sound stage in the backlot at Universal. But can you remember were they shot the scenes with you and Belinda Bauer "up at the lake"? i.e./ Where were the lake scenes shot. Even a general area would be very helpful.

It was up at Big Bear Lake in California.

6. Can you tell us more why Don Bellisario and Deborah Pratt left the show after the 2nd season? Do you feel their departure affected the tone and direction of AIRWOLF in it´s last season?

They did not leave the show while it was produced here in the United States.

7. How long was an average day on the Airwolf set? In some of the Archangel-intensive episodes such as ´Fallen Angel´ and ´Fortune Teller´, you´re on screen at least half of the time. You were usually being tortured!

14 hours a day was about average and I enjoyed being tortured. It prepared me for real life.

8. Do you think it is possible for a new series, or a movie even, to be made, with the original cast?

I wish it were so; anything is possible.

9. How would you describe working with the talents of Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine? Any of the actors you "preferred" spending time with?

This has been answered above pretty much. I still see Ernie Borgnine a lot and communicate with Jeanne Bruce Scott once in a while. Spoke to Jan bout two years ago. I hear he is doing real good right now.

10. Are you still in touch with the other actors from the series? I´ve ( Tom Erland Sveen speaking ) had the pleasure of being pen-pals with Jean Bruce Scott over the Internet. She only had good things to say about you, do you wish to return that favor?

I think I have answered this question above also...sweetheart I believe was the exact phrase I used. Jeanne and her husband Randy have pursued a academic careers in the theater and I have tremendous respect for their dedication to passing on their knowledge and expertise to young people.

11.Airwolf was an fresh concept. It was very different yet incredibly realistic. What was it like working on such unconventional show? Did you think the show would "take off", like it did?

I did think it would take off the way it did; the pilot script was extraordinary, beautifully written by Don Bellasario. He also directed the pilot and I feel that much, if not all of the credit for "Airwolf´s" originality should go to him.

12.Looking back, would you work on the show all over again? from the show?

In a minute.

13.Do you feel a 3 Season run for was good enough for the show, or do you feel Airwolf had potiental to go further?

I feel it had potential to go much further and that it was canceled due to executive and corporative politics.

14.Were you, and the rest of the cast asked to remain for the syndicated Canadian 4th season of the show?

We were asked but declined due to the fact that it was clear the show would suffer in terms of quality because of lack of production funding.

15.In the AIRWOLF episode "Fallen Angel" (my personal favorite), just how long did they keep you in the water tank?

Several hours, it was warmed up but it was not much fun.

16.Who were the players on the Airwolf polo team ?

Bill DeVane, Doug Sheehan, and Stephanie Powers and myself .. of course.

After some general questions regarding "Airwolf", we jump right to questions regarding your character, Michael "Archangel" Coldsmith Briggs III:

17.Why do you think Don Bellisario picked you for the role of Archangel?

He´s a smart man.

18.How would you describe Archangel´s personality? How are you and Archangel alike and different?

Well, we´re alike in our love for horses, our need for personal privacy and mystery, our appreciation of beautiful women, cashmere, linen and fine leather and good cars. We´re different in that he came from old money and I came from no money. His parentage was aristocratic and mine is peasant. He liked wearing white, I´m too messy to do that.

19.Your portrayal of Archangel, a man who seemingly had to operate in three worlds... The political world, the intelligence world, and of course, the ´real world´ (meaning Archangel as a human being), was outstanding. What did you do to prepare yourself to take on that role?

I think the role was very well written and left me plenty of room to add the humanity of the man, so I just brought whatever human qualities I have to it.

20.How was it to dress in white, and wearing an eye patch every week, for 3 seasons?

A pain in the ´ass´, but it was great for the character.

21.How many different duplicates of those immaculate white suits did you have per episode? It must have been awful for the Jean-Pierre Dorleac and the costume team to keep the suits clean. There was a great line in ´To Snare A Wolf´ at the end of the 1st season when Hawke and Dom were landing in Airwolf in front of Archangel´s white JetRanger with you and (Laura) an assistant standing beside it. Dom says to Hawke: "Do you think he gets that helicopter washed every day?" "Yeah. With him in it!" Hawke replies. That just seemed to summarize the character.

About 4 or 5 suits and I was very consciencious about not parking my butt on a greasy grip box.

22.Was it nice having another beautiful new side-kick every week (the White ladies) after Deborah Pratt left? Your White ladies in the 3rd season never got to say much though.

It was more than nice, it was something to look forward to. They didn´t need to say much. Most people say more than enough anyway, including me.

23.Alex Did you ever meet any real life counterparts of Archangel And if so What did you think of them

I have a friend who is an ex-cia agent and he is one of my dearest friends and one of the most interesting, intelligent, loyal people I´ve ever known.

On to some questions regarding other tv-shows and appearances:

24.What are your future career goals? Who are your "heros" in the industry either past or present?

My future goals are to write more and be kinder to everyone who crosses my path. My heroes are George C. Scott, one of the best and most generous actors I´ve ever worked with. Kirk Douglas, a great movie star. I played his brother and got to kiss him on the mouth. Lawrence Olivier was the best.

25.Is there any one actor you´ve always wanted to work with or a part you wanted to play - and never have?

Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp.

26.Ernest Borgnine recently guested on JAG. Can we look forward to seeing you in a JAG episode?


27.What role(s) holds the best memories for you and would you share some of those memories with us?

My first feature film, after ten years in the theater was called "Synanon"; the character was Zanky Albo, a dope fiend. He was rich many faceted, tragic figure.

28.Gene Roddenberry´s Pilot episode "Genesis II" has been shown three times in the last couple of years here in the UK. It looked promising. I know its going back a long way but have you any good memories from this show? Didn´t they do a second Pilot a few year´s later without yourself in the main role?

Mariette Hartley was a good memory. The wardrobe was a bad memory, a nightmare, in fact. They did do a second pilot which had no more success than the first, in fact, less.

29.Do you ever watch/have you ever seen the show in syndication, or do you not watch your work afterwards?

I usually don´t watch it.

30.You´ve worked with Ernie Borgnine on a quite a few projects in the past: ´Fire!´ and ´Dirty Dozen IV: The Fatal Mission´. What was it like working with him again in DD4? Do you still keep in touch with him?

We filmed in Yugoslavia, in the dead of winter, a horrible place. Ernie was blessed by having his presence required for only 3 days. Mine was required for 6 torturous weeks.

31.What do you feel is the most personally satisfying work of your career thus far?

A play that I did on the London stage called "Play With a Tiger" by Doris Lessing in which I co-starred with the great Irish actress, Siobhan McKenna.

A personal question:

32.When is your birthday? Some of us fans have seen more than 1 date.

May 3rd, 1933 (but don´t tell anyone)

Some questions regarding your writing:

33.Years ago I read your book SANDSONG which a friend had sent to me, then some time later I heard that you were writing a screenplay based on the book. What happened with that project?

It is still constantly under option.

34.How many manuscripts have you written? What subject ranges do they cover? What´s your best/favorite script? Any upcoming scripts?

6. From science fiction, love stories and romantic thrillers.

35.How can I obtain copies to your writings? ( I´ve heard about the collection at Georgetown University, but I´m located in another part of the country ) Do you have any suggestions on where to look?

Used bookstores or wait for the new novel which is called "Yes" and should be out in a few months.

Some questions regarding your interest in horses:

36.Are you still showing horses and if so, what is your show schedule for 1998?

Horses are a serious part of my life and have been all of my life, I ride every day, I compete in cutting horse contests and team roping in rodeos.

37.Will you be attending th National Cutting Horse Championships as a celebrity judge in November 98 and 99?

No plans at the moment.

38.Was the horse he rode in "Airwolf II" one of Alex´s personal horses?


This concluded our Q&A with Alex Cord

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