When I was a little kid growing up, I gravitated toward certain characters and actors. Syndication was a big deal back then and I would plop my butt in front of the TV, turn on “Chicago’s Very Own” WGN and watch daily reruns of some of the the most memorable shows in my entire childhood. Simon & Simon was one of those shows, and ever since those days as a little boy, I’ve been a fan of the man who played Rick Simon, the very talented Gerald McRaney. To this day, tell me McRaney’s in it and I’ll probably give it a shot. It has filled me with nothing but joy to see one of my favorite actors start to get the recognition and screen time he deserves once again. There are many people who enjoy his work when they see him, but may not know much about the man. To combat this travesty, and hopefully drum up new fans, I submit to you, dear reader:
Five Reasons Gerald McRaney Is Awesome
5. The guy can go toe to toe on screen with Kevin Spacey and hold his own.
Even with a career as varied and celebrated as Kevin Spacey’s, you’d be hard pressed to find anybody who wouldn’t list his portrayal as corrupt politician and schemer Frank Underwood from House of Cards among his best work. When you have one of the finest actors in America turning in some of the most magnetic and compelling work of his life, you need to make sure that the entire cast is at least keeping pace, moreso for an individual in the role of the antagonist. Enter McRaney as Raymond Tusk, a man that has Congress and the White House wrapped around his finger until Frank comes around. McRaney’s Tusk is such a credible threat in this groundbreaking program, it could be argued that he is raising Spacey’s game.
4. He was last guest star to meet Marshal Matt Dillon in a gunfight on the TV version of Gunsmoke
In TV, being either the first or last of something in any series is very important. When the show in question is one of the most celebrated and important TV shows in history, this truth is amplified. The Gunsmoke franchise ran for 20 years on TV, and in 1975, in the episode Hard Labor, a young McRaney left his important mark on this landmark series as it was approaching its end.
3. The guy was on TV non-stop from 1981 to 1993 in 2 different series.
Simon & Simon ran from 1981 to 1989 and Major Dad ran from the fall of 1989 until 1993. That means that McRaney had to wrap up one successful series and move on to an entirely new one within the same year. 12 years straight between two shows? That is hard work worthy of a medal.
2. He is one of the main actors out there in the world making the ‘Western’ cool again.
McRaney’s career in westerns stretches well past his work on Gunsmoke. As the western has enjoyed a bit of a modern resurgence, McRaney has been there to add his presence and rightfully so. Deadwood, Justified, and Longmire have all had McRaney on at some point and he has been great in each one. Plus there is the undeniable fact that McRaney just looks snappy in a cowboy hat. Here is to more westerns and more McRaney!
1. He was Rick Simon.
Okay, so this last one is really just my own personal bit, but I love the hell out of Rick Simon. Growing up I wanted to be Rick Simon. Who doesn’t want to wear a cool hat, drive a beater truck, have a big cool dog, punch bad guys, solve mysteries, score with lovely ladies, and carry around a big gun. I was able to relate to the constant bickering between Rick and his brother AJ as it in some ways mirrors the relationship I had (and still do) with my little sister. I liked Rick’s laid back attitude towards life, he defied convention and lived how he wanted to. Plus the theme song was catchy as hell!
I love every part of this show, and I always will.
As always, we want to hear from you. Do you like Gerald McRaney as much as I do? Who are some of your favorite actors that you think don’t get there due accolades? Let your thoughts be known in the comments below!