From Santa Barbara to Robocop

 By Alena Prime, Télé Star, 1995

 Home   Cette page en Français  

The fact that Robocop triumphs in France, is not astonishing him. Richard Eden knows that, in the countries airing the show of which he is the hero, it is the same "Robocopmania". So much that he is invited everywhere, even if the shootings of the new episodes prevent it from travelling. France however, he would not have anything against : "It is the country I prefer, after the United States. I lived there the most beautiful years of my youth. I went, bag on the back, from town to town. I do not have family over there anymore, but it was my mother's country."

Richard acknowledges having suffered a lot from the divorce of his parents, when he was only 11 : "That left me a solitary side, not wanting to encumber of anything. I hesitated a long time before marrying me. I thought that a woman would find me too wandering. Fortunately, Shannon knew to convince me. She is a really marvellous woman."

Married since September 5, 1993, Richard Eden is 36 years old : "It still happens to me, when I am at homee, to want to be alone. I put myself in a corner with my cats - that I adore - or  I go out in the street and I look at people. I study them, their expressions, their gestures. When I return, I sit down in an armchair and I imitate them. My wife calls me the "chameleon", but she could call all the actors like this."

Let us return to Robocop, a real chameleon : "It changed my life. This character fascinates me. I wish that this adventure last a long time. I know that becoming half man, half machine, much of actors dreamed for." Richard Eden was selected among two hundred candidates, of which some ready to many financial sacrifices to obtain the role, knowing that the show, coming after the success from the movies, may have the luck to know the same fate. To prepare himself better, Richard had been sly : "I watched at the video tapes of the two Robocop during a whole night. At the end, I had the impression to know each plan, each image, as well as the director. That is how I realized that I was finally going to please to young people !" Richard Eden tells it with humour. An allusion to the preceding role which allowed him to cross, already, the gates of celebrity. But which was reserved for a more general public : Brick Wallace, in Santa Barbara : "I played it from 1984 to 1987, and I was named for an Emmy in 1987. I was the illegitimate son of Lionel Lockridge and Sophia Capwell, a kind of black sheep who obsesses all the family, somebody a little insane, it should well be said !"

Native of Hartsdale, in the State of New York, from an English father and a French mother installed in the United States during the Second World War, Richard Eden studied dramatic art in an academy, which leaded him to theatre : "I became at the same time stockbroker, what ensured me of the incomes if the job of actor would not be enough. I even wanted to install in New York where the Stock Exchange functions well." And then, it was enough with a role in a show St Elsewhere, and another in a TV movie, Summer Fantasy, so that a casting director calls him for Santa Barbara. Fortunately. If not, he would never have met, then, Robocop !

Several Canadian editors already asked Richard Eden to write a book of memories about the shootings of the show, in particular to tell his feelings, which he describes himself as impressive and suffocating. At the beginning, Richard lived at the hotel, in Vancouver. Since the show is renewed, he rents an apartment, which allows him, in spite of his taste of loneliness, to invite his wife to join him, especially the long weekends : "I am so tired that I do not have the taste to discover the surroundings and we stay in the heat in front of the television."

Richard Eden is a "compulsive eater of books", who never moves without a full bag of novels and especially of historical biographies. Besides he dreams one day to play of historical roles and appreciates a lot as many others in France the exploits of Scott Bakula in Quantum Leap which, by the force of astonishing scenarios, could move in time. "I would like to reincarnate myself, for television only, in Vercingétorix." That is far away from Robocop !