Monday, September 15, 2014
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Ted Danson: Dead or Alive?

When we last saw evil businessman Arthur Frobisher in FX's fantastic Damages, he was lying shot up in some swamp. Co-star Glenn Close couldn't get away from fans' questions. "'Is he dead? Was he dead?'" she said people asked her on the street. "I don't know," she would reply. "It's a long shot."

Ted Danson: Dead or Alive?

Ted Danson
Ted Danson

When we last saw evil businessman Arthur Frobisher in FX's fantastic Damages, he was lying shot up in some swamp.

Co-star Glenn Close couldn't get away from fans' questions. "'Is he dead? Was he dead?'" she said people asked her on the street. "I don't know," she would reply. "It's a long shot."

Well, apparently the people making Damages don't know, either. FX boss John Landgraf said this morning that Frobisher survived. The show's producers said his character would be back, but implied it would only be in flashbacks. "Arthur returns, and that's all I'll say about that," Todd Kessler, co-creator, executive producer and writer, told the TV critics.

Either way, Ted Danson, whose portrayal of Frobisher was the best supporting acting on TV in the past year, is happy he'll be back when the show returns in January.

"I've never had carte blanche to be as narcissistic, except in real life, as I did in this part," he quipped. "When I was in my 30s, playing an easygoing, womanizing bartender [on Cheers] was great. But when you're in your 60s, this is way more fun. …

"I'm so grateful to be part of this cast, part of this show. It has made me really excited about going to work as an actor again, and that is worth everything to me."

Danson told me he went to Close's acting coach, Harold Guskin, to get some pointers on playing such a self-important character. Just do whatever you want, Guskin said. If you don't want to say all the words in the script, you don't have to.

Just like Jack Nicholson or Marlon Brando.

Danson still has no plans to ditch his recurring role as one of Larry David's friends on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. "It's Larry's world, and he just assumes we'll show up, and I do. The phone rings, and for some sad reason, I'm available."

About this blog
My So-Called Life, Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Survivor, I’ll Fly Away, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The X-Files, Northern Exposure, Roseanne, Gilmore Girls, NYPD Blue, Frasier, Ally McBeal, and, in the much-too-overlooked category, American Dreams, The Riches, Flight of the Conchords and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

TV has given us wondrous fare over the last 20 years, and Philadelphia Inquirer TV critic Jonathan Storm has been paid to watch it. He has also been forced to watch five cycles of presidential debates, Fear Factor, The Swan and Bill O’Reilly. There is no free lunch in life.

He’s still watching and talking to the folks who make TV, from mega-producers Jerry Bruckheimer and David E. Kelley to the little kids in Medium. And now he’s blogging about it, with insights and info that you won’t find anywhere else. Reach Jonathan at jstorm@phillynews.com.

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