‘Dukes of Hazzard’ star Tom Wopat mentioned he ‘by no means actually aspired to do’ TV earlier than hit sitcom: ‘A blessing’

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‘Dukes of Hazzard’ star Tom Wopat said he ‘never really aspired to do' TV before hit sitcom: 'A blessing'

2022-11-27 18:30:36

Tom Wopat at all times had huge goals of turning into a singer – so when he was supplied to star in a present referred to as “The Dukes of Hazzard,” he didn’t know what to anticipate.

“Singing has at all times been my primary precedence,” the actor advised Fox Information Digital. “’Dukes’ was actually form of an aberration. I by no means actually aspired to do tv. I put my deal with making data, doing stay reveals and being within the theater. However ‘Dukes’ actually was a experience.”

On the time, the now-77-year-old had simply completed doing an off-Broadway manufacturing of “Oklahoma!” and was in New York Metropolis. A casting director, who beforehand noticed Wopat on stage, felt he can be an ideal match for the brand new sitcom.

Tom Wopat had simply completed doing an off-Broadway manufacturing of “Oklahoma!” when he was supplied to learn for a brand new sitcom titled “Dukes of Hazzard.”
(Picture by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Photos)

“That they had everybody lined up by then,” Wopat defined. “I used to be requested to go to Los Angeles for a display check. So I took a paper bag full of garments and acquired on a airplane. I met John [Schneider] on a Wednesday, we did a check on a Friday and 10 days later we have been taking pictures in Georgia.”

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Nonetheless, the present about two good ol’ boys was going through scrutiny earlier than it even premiered on CBS in 1979. B. Donald Grant, who was the community’s programming chief on the time, discovered himself in a room with a number of TV critics who hated the present. They objected that “the 2 male leads look like on the mistaken aspect of the regulation, that the topic of illegitimate parenthood was handled humorously, and that one of many feminine regulars is commonly seen in a skimpy costume,” The Hollywood Reporter revealed.

Grant ignored the critics and the collection went on to air. In response to the outlet, the present drew as many as 20 million viewers per episode. By the third season, it had grow to be the second-biggest present on TV. Whereas “Dukes of Hazzard” led to 1985, it ran for years in fixed syndication.

American actors (left to right) John Schneider, Catherine Bach and Tom Wopat in a promotional portrait for the TV show, "The Dukes of Hazzard," circa 1980. They played Bo, Daisy and Luke Duke, respectively. 

American actors (left to proper) John Schneider, Catherine Bach and Tom Wopat in a promotional portrait for the TV present, “The Dukes of Hazzard,” circa 1980. They performed Bo, Daisy and Luke Duke, respectively. 
(Picture by Silver Display Assortment/Getty Photos)

It additionally saved the solid, which consisted of Wopat, Schneider and Catherine Bach, busy as they met with followers for the years at conventions. The annual fan conference “Good Ol’ Boys Fest” in West Virginia was hosted by Ben Jones, who performed Cooter the mechanic earlier than he turned a Democratic Georgia congressman from 1989 till 1993. The outlet famous that the conference would draw over 100,000 spectators.

Pictured from left to right is John Schneider, as Bo Duke, Catherine Bach, as Daisy Duke, and Tom Wopat, as Luke Duke, in the made for television movie, "The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion!," circa 1997.

Pictured from left to proper is John Schneider, as Bo Duke, Catherine Bach, as Daisy Duke, and Tom Wopat, as Luke Duke, within the made for tv film, “The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion!,” circa 1997.
(Picture by CBS through Getty Photos)

“You’ll be able to by no means inform when one thing’s gonna pop,” Wopat defined. “However a while within the first yr, we simply knew we had one thing superb right here. The followers are distinctive in that they hand down their love for the present from era to era. I’ve met third and fourth-generation followers. It’s superb. It’s a present. The present will lengthy outlive me, that’s for positive.”

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“I feel folks have been drawn to ‘Dukes’ for a similar motive many individuals have been drawn to ‘The Andy Griffith Present’ – it’s family-oriented,” Wopat continued. “It’s not too dramatic. We’ve got a pleasant mixture of motion, comedy, a handsome lady and a automotive that behaved like a human being.”

American actors Tom Wopat, left, and John Schneider arm wrestle as Catherine Bach, center, watches in a still from the television series, "Dukes of Hazard," circa 1980. Wopat told Fox News Digital the cast became incredibly close on set.

American actors Tom Wopat, left, and John Schneider arm wrestle as Catherine Bach, heart, watches in a nonetheless from the tv collection, “Dukes of Hazard,” circa 1980. Wopat advised Fox Information Digital the solid turned extremely shut on set.
(Picture by Fotos Worldwide/Courtesy of Getty Photos)

Wopat shared that his favourite reminiscence of filming “Dukes of Hazzard” was working alongside Schneider, 62.

“I don’t know if there ever have been two guys who made one another snicker as exhausting as we did,” he mentioned. “We actually loved one another. We turned lifelong mates. However the entire solid was fairly darn shut… We tried to not take ourselves too significantly and I feel we did a reasonably good job of that. We’ve misplaced a few of the older guys since then and it’s a disgrace. We have been a household on set… I nonetheless see Catherine and John to this present day… I like him like a brother. [The show] was a blessing.”

When “Dukes of Hazzard” got here to an finish, Wopat mentioned he was not fearful about being typecast. He immersed himself in what he liked doing greatest – music.

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Tom Wopat, left, said he kept busy after ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ came to an end.

Tom Wopat, left, mentioned he saved busy after ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ got here to an finish.
(Picture by CBS through Getty Photos)

“I used to be blessed with the truth that I had already achieved musicals earlier than ‘Dukes,’” he defined. “Positive, I did a few short-lived issues, however they have been by no means as enjoyable as what we did… I feel bouncing round in numerous mediums and preserving busy is essential to this enterprise. I’m at all times writing songs to maintain me contemporary.”

Wopat later starred in “Cybill,” a collection a couple of struggling middle-aged actress who makes an attempt to revamp her profession. It starred Cybill Shepherd, Christine Baranski and Alicia Witt, amongst others. Wopat performed Shepherd’s first husband, a flirty Hollywood stuntman.

“She’s nuts – that’s what I bear in mind most,” he joked about working with Shepherd, 72. “No, she’s one in all a sort and tremendous gifted. It was an attention-grabbing half. I acquired to sing a bit bit in it. That was enjoyable. They let me go after some time. I simply didn’t actually match into a few of the storylines. That’s OK. I used to be prepared to maneuver on.”

"Cybill" was a CBS television sitcom about a struggling actress whose career had passed its peak. Tom Wopat played Jeff Robbins.

“Cybill” was a CBS tv sitcom a couple of struggling actress whose profession had handed its peak. Tom Wopat performed Jeff Robbins.
(Picture by CBS through Getty Photos)

Nowadays, Wopat is starring within the sequel to 2017’s “County Line” titled “County Line: All In.” It tells the story of Sheriff Rockwell, performed by Wopat, who groups up with the unlikely new sheriff of York County to resolve a homicide. The movie stars Kelsey Crane and Patricia Richardson of “Residence Enchancment” fame.

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“[My character’s] a stud,” Wopat laughed. “He’s a bit little bit of a rock star. He’s self-deprecating. They make some extent of addressing his age, which looks like residence to me. There’s plenty of motion, however there are additionally plenty of heartfelt moments. Everyone who’s in it’s simply terrific although I used to be a jerk on-screen. However we shortly bonded. I took the solid and crew out for bowling. I’d carry them a giant pot of chili or barbecued ribs. It was vital for me to verify all people acquired alongside and that they only had fun.”

Nowadays, Wopat is keen for what the longer term holds for him. He teased {that a} potential collection could also be within the works.

Tom Wopat teased that a "County Line" series could come to fruition.

Tom Wopat teased {that a} “County Line” collection might come to fruition.
(INSP Movies)

“I feel creating one thing that’s for all generations is in brief provide as of late,” he mentioned. “And I feel that stuff remains to be makable. Hallmark shouldn’t be actually my cup of tea, and I’m probably not into rom-coms. However I feel folks do need one thing they’ll watch with the household and look again on.”

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