Cliff Robertson joined the cast of the TV series 'Falcon Crest' in the 1983-84 season playing Lana Turner's on-screen nephew. Back in 1963, Cliff played Jack Kennedy in 'PT 109', "Nobody was more surprised than I…but yes, I was President Kennedy's personal choice...John Kennedy chose me to play him and I felt duty-bound, therefore, to do the best I could."

Of 'Falcon Crest', Cliff recounted, "One day my agent called and said they wanted me for CBS' 'Falcon Crest', which I'd hardly even heard of. They sent over 4 cassettes, and I was impressed with the production values. My 14-year-old daughter (Heather) overheard the telephone conversation. She said, 'Daddy, you're going to be on 'Falcon Crest?' She went into spasms of rapture. I’d starred in more than 40 features. I've got 3 pictures coming out. She said more people would see me on one night of 'Falcon Crest' than in the first 6 months of a movie. The catalytic influence was my daughter. She wasn't that excited when I won the Academy Award." 

Cliff pointed out in 1969, "I think the year after an actor wins the award is the fastest year of his life. It's the year in which you have to consolidate. I have nightmares about people sitting around trying to remember who won the Academy Award 2 years ago. Hardly anyone remembers, so you've really got to establish yourself within a year. After you win the Award people come and offer you ridiculous sums of money to work for them.

"But I'm trying to resist that and concentrate on parts rather than money. Most of the pictures I've made in Hollywood have been with one or two exceptions, rubbish. I want to get out of the rubbish area." On reflection in 1991, "Hollywood has never been first out of the gate on any kind of issue. They are known as Monday-morning quarterbacks. If there's one film on the mistreatment of women and it makes money, everybody joins the pack. It's the lure of the buck. It's not done out of some searing social consciousness." 

Frank Sinatra received the Oscar on Cliff's behalf because Cliff was in the Philippines filming 'Too Late The Hero'. Of shooting on location, Cliff told Associated Press in 1965, "Some day, I would like to be a corny American tourist, with the loud sport shirt and the gaping mouth, following a native guide around some foreign monuments." Cliff said filming on location was not as glamorous as it appeared to be, "It may look that way but that's not how it turns out. In the first place, you work a 6-day week on foreign locations. That leaves Sunday for sight-seeing. But the kind of pictures I do – lots of action, and I'm in every scene – leaves me too tired to dash out and stare at cathedrals. There's no time after the picture is over, either. I come right home to take care of business matters, or I head for another picture." 

Cliff had said in 1962, "The difference between a big star and some other actors is the distance between the corner theater and that box in the living room. It's the difference between going to church or listening to a guy at the corner preaching from a soap box. Some of those people acting on TV could become big movie stars. I wish my movie roles were half as good as my TV parts. I've done 10 movies and I've yet to have a very good role in a very good movie, whereas on TV I always get a very good role in a very good show. Some actors look down their noses at TV. I look up at it. If they could take that film and put it in a movie house, I'd be home free. It's the same film, just being shown some place else." 

Cliff made his Hollywood acting debut in 1950 during the "golden days" of television. However he confessed, "50% of the contract stuff (Cliff made his film debut in 1955), I've never even seen." In 1961, he starred in the episode of the TV series, 'The United States Steel Hour' called 'The Two Worlds of Charlie Gordon'. Cliff decided to buy the movie rights to Daniel Keyes' 1959 book, 'Flowers for Algernon'. Cliff explained, "I bought it because I'm tired of doing TV shows and plays and then having them given to somebody else for movies. It has happened to me 4 times. I decided to buy 'The Two Worlds of Charlie Gordon' when we were rehearsing the show. And sure enough when the show was done, studios wanted to buy it." 

It took Cliff 7 years to find a financial sponsor to make the motion picture, 'Charly', released in 1968. He negotiated 25% ownership of the film, "It's a nice feeling to have 25% of the profits of such a picture. Especially when you hear the kind of projections that have been made - $9 million domestic gross. $4 million overseas. I don't know what effect the Oscar will have on the gross; the rule of thumb is a million dollars added to the total. But I suspect that the amount will be greater in the case of 'Charly' because I'm not a big, fat box office star. The Oscar will cause more people to take notice of the picture." 

In 1977, Cliff starred in the TV mini-series 'Washington Behind Closed Doors'. Then on Christmas day 1977, Cliff made the headlines when he went public with the "Hollywood-gate" scandal involving David Begelman of Columbia Pictures published on The Washington Post. Cliff recounted, "The 'Hollywood-gate' windmill took 4 years of exile. Now there's less 'creative bookkeeping' in Hollywood.

"I've never considered myself a Don Quixote, with or without portfolio. But I just feel we can’t accept unfair treatment if you're an American citizen. It's your obligation to stand up and be heard. There's a small percentage of corrupt people in Hollywood. Only 1% represent the pinnacle of power. They've been frightening people for years, and now they're frightening others into 'ipso facto blacklisting' me. I went through a 4-year period of exile.

"The industry simply would not let me work in a film…Suddenly the phones stopped ringing. The town was worried that what I had done – confront creative bookkeeping – was going to set a precedent...Once (Doug) Trumbull cast me (in 'Brainstorm'), my phone began ringing constantly. All it took was one person to hire me, and the exile was over. I've been in 2 other movies since 'Brainstorm', and now this TV show ('Falcon Crest')." 

It all started when Cliff "came across an IRS 1099 from Columbia Pictures for $10,000 in his 1976 tax return." The payment was for promotional work but "I knew that couldn't be true. I've never been paid for any promotional work…" When Bagelman called Cliff to clarify, Cliff was prepared to overlook the whole thing "but that my accountant needed a copy of the check for tax purposes, so I wouldn’t have to pay tax on it." Cliff didn't hear back. "If Watergate proved that the judicial system works, then this thing called 'Hollywood-gate' is proving that the free press works...I’m going against big money. If they don't already have some sort of information on me, they're powerful enough to manufacture it." 

The sequel 'Charly 2' was released in 1980, "I told a producer I could do it for a reasonable price, say, $5.5 million. You know what he said to me? 'If I had a $16 million picture, I could steal a little money. I can't bury anything on a picture that cheap.' The bigger the budget the more opportunity for creative bookkeeping. The adage remains: 'Thou shalt not confront big mogul on corruption, or thou shalt not work.' I don't consider myself a Don Quixote. I just didn’t want to pay taxes on something ($10,000) I didn't earn. Frankly, I thought it was a computer error." In the 1950s, Cliff had "engaged in many a battle with the studio's autocrat, Harry Cohen." 

Cliff maintained "that neither the presence of money – nor the absence of it – affected his motivation," insisting "the way I look at it, if you pay me a dollar and I don’t give you a buck-and-a-half's worth of effort, then I don't deserve the job." He made the point, "I must have worked at every type of job available to an inexperienced kid while I was waiting for a chance to act. I was a longshoreman on the Manhattan docks, a cab driver, an errand boy and busboy - which at least meant I could have a meal in the kitchen." 

Cliff's parents divorced when he was 2. Cliff shared, "I had a father who clipped coupons and married a lot all of his life. My mother had been living with her mother. Seeing that my father had already remarried...and my mother died 6 months later of a ruptured appendix...and not wanting me to fall into that (wasted life) entrapment…(she) immediately recognized my father as a well-intentioned playboy... my grandmother adopted me.

"It turned out to be a strange yet wonderful family fabric...I was never going to do what my old man did. I was raised in the work ethic. So I worked all my life...She still had her son living with her; he was like a father figure to me. Then her widowed daughter and her 2 children came to live with us. So I had brother-sister figures, we called my grandmother 'Mom', and my uncle was my father."

Cliff told the press in 1972, "My energy is a genetic accident. I really don't do anything to help it. I mean, look at me, I smoke, I drink, I don't do pushups like Paul Newman, I've only recently (back in the 1970s) become interested in health foods because I have a 3 ½ year old daughter (Heather) and I'm worried about the junk we're stuffing her with. Deeny (Dina Merrill) is always after me to take care. I'm just lucky I picked the right parents."

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