Bill Bixby’s Quotes


On Public Recognition:

TV STAR PARADE May 1964…………………..

On being recognized in public:

"I’m so new at it, I still get self-conscious and don’t know how to handle it comfortably. I realize that people who recognize me have related to me as someone they know—but I haven’t adapted to that relationship yet."


"I even like going out on personal appearance tours. I know some performers complain about p.a. tours, but for me they’re a delight, a chance to meet in person all those people who have been plugging the show. And if I keep reminding myself that it isn’t me they’re fond of, but Tim O’Hara, the character I portray, then I’m able to avoid the self-adoration that can become so dangerous.

"I’ve discovered that you’ve got to prove to people you’re a nice guy. If you’re in show business, you’ve got to go a little out of your way to prove this point.

"You know, most people who ask me for my autograph are polite and nice. Then there are the others…They’ll walk up to me, arrogant, almost rude and demand that I sign the piece of paper they stick in my face. With a sneer that says, ‘I wouldn’t bother for myself,’ they’ll explain that they’re asking for a son or daughter or for some young friend.

"You know what I do with people like these? Very politely I’ll ask them for the name of the person for whom they’re getting the autograph, then I’ll sit down and write a very long personal note. In other words I go a little out of my way. And almost invariably the same thing happens: the person grabs the paper from me, marches off, and a few minutes later, after he’s had a chance to read the note, he’ll be back with a very sincere thank you and veiled apology that goes something like this: ‘I never thought you’d be so nice, so unconceited.’ You see, I guess all everyone wants is for you to prove you’re not a conceited snob, that you’re a regular guy."


….(photo added 8/5/05)


The Mike Douglas Show (telecast March 1972):

BILL BIXBY: This is the center of publicity. People make much more of all your behaviors whether you’re married or single…for no apparent purpose other than to sell magazines or drive publicity.

MIKE DOUGLAS: Do you ever get tired of people recognizing you everywhere you go? Do you ever get to the point where you’d like to hide-?

BILL BIXBY: I think we all do. There is always a point in which you would like to get privacy, but it’s ..a privilege to be recognized and it’s part of it….There’s just..Like on a Sunday some time when you’d just like to go and do what everybody else does, and enjoy on the same basis but—that’s part of the business. I have yet to pay my dues and that’s one of the dues.



"When you go to dramatic school, there’s no course in how to handle success. An actor’s ego has a hard time handling that. The world doesn’t treat you normally."



"Everyone thinks you’ve got the world by the tail when you come on the air with a new series. But, everyone is wrong.

"It’s the world that’s got you by the tail when your debuting in a show—and the pressure can be hell…When you begin a show you want it to succeed…And if you’re going to succeed you’ve got to court everyone from press to public to promotion people. And don’t think that isn’t pressure.

"It’s damned hard work. Particularly an action adventure show like ‘The Magician’. It’s got class; it’s got flair. And I think the concept of my playing a millionaire who solves crimes by tricks instead of violence is exciting and different enough to make it a hit.

"But it’s going to mean my working 14 hours a day to do it right, plus the pressures of promotion, of publicity—and putting up with people who act as if they have every right to invade my most privileged privacy.

"When a stranger grabs my arm and twists me around to say, ‘Hey, you’re Eddie’s Father, right?’—I’m going to react in hostility. I can’t give him the gentle smile and the 14 quick answers to a perfect life he’s been seeking.

"How dare people like that carry their fantasies over into my private life?"

BOSTON HERALD April 15, 1973 interview with Richard K. Shull

"Do you know how lonely it can be, to be yourself when the world accepts you as a character?"

(Bill) told of instances of strangers approaching him in public places, expecting him to be the soft-spoken daddy he was in "Courtship of Eddie’s Father" and their shock when he responded as himself.

"Then after a while, I began assuming the character of Eddie’s Father in public. I assumed the character because it was expected of me. Now that’s frightening," he said.

CHICAGO SUN TIMES June 1978 Bill Bixby interview with Frank Swertlow

"I came up very slowly. I’m grateful I was not an overnight discovery."

In reference to other actors who are not prepared for fame:

"Yesterday, no one knew who they were and then all of a sudden they find themselves in a TV series—they are famous and they are no longer normal. And no one has prepared then for this. There’s no school for fame. There’s no school for success. No one tells you what to expect when you arrive because no one ever figures you will arrive."

"And when you finally get there it’s like a pyramid turned upside down. You’re on your point, and keeping our balance is extremely difficult because everyone around you on the job is treating you like someone terribly, terribly special. Other people are trying to take advantage of what momentum you are generating. Suddenly you have no proportion on which to weigh yourself and we end up not with creatures but monsters created by our business."

"It’s very difficultit’s difficult enough for me being in show business because you are not treated normally. It’s very difficult for me to go public anywherepeople talk so differently. People use foreign tongues, screaming ‘O-o-o-h-h-h, H-H-i-i!!!’"

TV GUIDE July 28, 1979---------------------------------------------------

"I don’t go to parties. I’m not good at social events. If I go out, it means I go as Bill Bixby, the actor. That means they want to talk to Eddie’s father or Tim O’Hara, or the Magician, or Dr. Banner. I’ve come to accept that. I used to hope someone would want to talk to me, to Bill, but I’ve learned it won’t happen."


The Incredible Success of Bill Bixby (interview with Yvonne-Wyatt Rees circa 1980) source: Margaret Herrick Library, Los Angeles

"In show business, you have to realize that everyone, in fact, is a freak—and that’s something they don’t tell you about when you go to acting school. People treat you differently because you happen to be a ‘celebrity’."



ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT (telecast Dec. 23, 1983)

"Well, there’s no question that you’re under a microscope and it takes a big personal commitment to keep yourself normal. Because the one thing that you become in this business, once you become well-known, is a freak. You’re no longer treated normally anywhere you go. It’s easy to complain about that. And I have had my moments of complaining about it when it overwhelmed me on occasion. But it was really my not knowing how to deal with it."


On the tabloid press:

"I don’t understand how people can be so ungracious and so unkind even in the face of death—they don’t care. There is no respect for life. And I resent that and I resent the people who do it and make a living off of it and I think they should examine their own character."

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT (telecast Sept. 29, 1993)

On the tabloid press:

"First you feel defenseless...totally defenseless…To read descriptions by ‘parties close to...’-- that wonderful First Amendment right that gives them the privilege to damage everybody’s else’s life--and to make any kind of assumptions they choose to make for the sake of selling their papers. One of the reporters I spoke to once, said, ‘What else can I do? They pay us so much money.’ Well, whatever happened in this country to our own morality? I wonder now. I wonder as I watch the news. It isn’t just the tabloids. The tabloids are a great part of it—it’s a personal, terrible, hurtful thing to do to anybody. But I worry about the conscience of our own country as I look around and see it, and how life is becoming more and more meaningless."






/My Favorite Martian/ /The Courtship of Eddie’s Father//PBS’s "Steambath"//The Magician/

/The Incredible Hulk//Goodnight Beantown//On Acting//On Directing// /On Television//

/Some Personal Thoughts/  





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