Ritch Brinkley

William, in Beauty and the Beast

IMDB on Ritch Brinkley


Are you surprised that you are being interviewed because of a character you played in Beauty and the Beast, a television series which was cancelled nearly 20 years ago?



Why do you think the show is still remembered and celebrated by its fans after all these years?

Because the show has a cult following.  

Have you ever been a part of another project that had this kind of devotion?


Do you ever hear from anyone else associated with BATB?

No, not recently. I do keep up with some from time to time.


Going back to the beginning, how did you get the part of William?

I auditioned - an agent sending me in.


Was there anything about the Character that you particularly liked or disliked?

The character seemed to fit me.


How much of "you" went into creating William?

I think the writers saw that I brought a particular type to the character and incorporated familiar traits.


Do you share William's love of cooking?

William's character most often insisted on the security below rather than cooking. I do like to cook.


What was the atmosphere like on the sets?


When BATB became a favorite show in the USA, what was it like for you when the fan interest began? Did being recognized as William affect you in any way?

It only happened for that show at fan conventions. When I was recognized elsewhere, it was for Murphy Brown. I was surprised at the intensity of the fandom when I first went to a convention.


What is your fondest memory of BATB?

The joke sessions amidst members of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Do you have any souvenirs from the show and if so, what are they?

No, they were burned in a house fire.


Have you ever watched any of the episodes of BATB?



Do you have a favorite episode among those you starred in, and why?

I probably liked the one in which Roy and I fought, but I can't remember the title. Roy said we should be going at it "hammer and tongs", but the director was trying to restrain us.


Did being a part of BATB affect your life?



What has been your career high point?

I don't know. Will have to think about that one. The best acting I've ever done was the last acting I've ever done, which was as Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.


As an actor, have you accomplished what you set out to do?



Are you involved in anything currently?

Only with flat water kayaking. My first year out of Hollywood I taught acting at the University of Wisconsin at Stephens Point. Then for nearly four years I was a film critic in Florida. The reason I'm inactive now is that nothing is more true than when one is out of sight, one is definitely out of mind in Hollywood. It is ironic that after I finished what I thought was the best acting I have ever done- playing Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (who was dying of cancer) - I had a major heart attack one month later. Playing Big Daddy was the culmination of everything I had ever done.  



Is there anything you would like to tell our readers about you, BATB or fandom?

I guess it's nice that a TV show seems to have engendered such good will among people who would not otherwise have met or been aware of each other.

I thought it was curious that I was known as William, the cook, but there was never any moment in any episode that I was seen doing anything related to cooking. I used to say that my actual job there was essentially similar to that of the Jewish Defence League - to help defend the tunnels. In that respect I was there to provide dramatic tension.

I was different from the other actors in the cast, because fans viewed me as perhaps more accessible. And I spent more time preparing for interaction with the fans (examples writing poems, wearing costumes). I think they viewed me as possibly more like the guy next door, as opposed to some aloof Hollywood actor.

Roy Dotrice and Armin Shimmerman encouraged me to attend conventions.



Return to the Interviews                                        Return to Great Hall