Interview with Roy Huggins

My six-hour Archive of American Television video interview with legendary writer/producer Roy Huggins is now up on Google Video. The interview was conducted back in 1998, not long before Roy’s death.

Roy created and produced such series as MAVERICK, 77 SUNSET STRIP, THE FUGITIVE and THE ROCKFORD FILES…and was Stephen J. Cannell’s mentor in the business.  He was a mentor of mine, too.

I put myself through college as a freelance journalist. I snagged an assignment from a magazine to do an article on the complete history of the TV series MAVERICK. So I tracked Roy down at Warner Brothers, where he’d just been fired as showrunner of the BLUE THUNDER TV series. His misfortune was my good luck — he had time on his hands.  He invited me down to the studio and, over the next several weeks, screened every single episode of MAVERICK for me, giving me a running commentary. And each day he’d take me to lunch and tell me stories about his days in TV. I was  in TV heaven. I couldn’t believe it. 

A few years later, I interviewed him again at length for Electronic Media magazine (now known as Television Age). He was the showrunner of HUNTER at the time, working for apprentice Steve Cannell. And not long after  that, I became a TV  writer and actually ended up as a story editor on HUNTER. The first thing I did was give Roy a call to share with him my pleasure (and astonishment) that I’d gone from being a "Roy Huggins fan" to writing on a show that he’d  produced. He was very happy for me and gave me some good advice about dealing with the various people he knew who were still working on the show. I told him I hoped we’d get a chance to work together some day. Sadly, that day never came.

But we stayed in touch and I was thrilled to have the chance to interview him for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Archive of American Television.

2 thoughts on “Interview with Roy Huggins”

  1. Amazing how things work out. I remember when we wrote that Episode Guide to Maverick for, I believe, VIDEO REVIEW, and got paid a whopping $700 — and they never published it. Years later, of course, we both utilized portions of it, and the entire thing wound up, somewhat expanded, in my book, MAVERICK: THE MAKING OF THE MOVIE AND COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE TELEVISION SERIES. Roy Huggins was very gracious to me as well, and I interviewed him while staying at my Mom’s condo in Palm Springs. You and I are both so incredibly fortunate. We both grew up admiring brilliant creative masters from afar, then meeting them, and working in one capacity or another, in the same arenas. When things are “slow,” or career tides turn, it’s tempting to feel frustrated or depressed — then I count my blessings. Once I feel infused with gratitude, it’s amazing how things open up again. This from your aged uncle who, under more pressure than an astronaut, has three books to crank out under tight deadlines — gee, should I be upset about that? Nope. Given the choice of too much on my plate, nor no plate at all, I’ll take a full plate anytime.


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