Richard Dean Anderson

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Richard Dean Anderson
Image of the person
RDA, during an interview with on october 10, 2012
Biographical informations
Birth (1950-01-23) January 23, 1950 (age 69)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Nationality American
Informations about family
Parents Stuart Jay Anderson (father),
Jocelyn Rhae Carter (mother)
Child Wylie Quinn Annarose Anderson
Professional informations
Occupation Actor
Years active 1976—present
Television Angus MacGyver in MacGyver
Stargate universe-related informations
Related film(s)/series Stargate SG-1
Stargate Atlantis
Stargate Universe
Stargate: Continuum
Occupation in Stargate Actor,
Executive producer
Character(s) Jack O'Neill

Richard Dean Anderson (born January 23, 1950) is an American television and film actor, television producer and composer. He began his television career in 1976 as Dr. Jeff Webber in the American soap opera series General Hospital, then rose to prominence as the lead actor in the television series MacGyver (1985–1992). Anderson later appeared in films, including Through the Eyes of a Killer (1992), Pandora's Clock (1996) and Firehouse (1997).

In 1997, Anderson returned to television as the lead actor of the series Stargate SG-1, a spin-off of the 1994 film Stargate. He played the lead from 1997–2005 and had a recurring role from 2005–07. Since 1997, the only film Anderson has starred in is Stargate: Continuum released in 2008 as a spin-off film after Stargate SG-1 Series finale in 2007. He appears in the follow-up Stargate series Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe (as Lieutenant General Jack O'Neill).

Early life[edit]

Anderson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Stuart Jay Anderson and Jocelyn Rhae Carter, and was the oldest of four brothers.[1] He is of Scottish, Swedish, Norwegian and Native American descent.[2] He grew up in Roseville, Minnesota and attended Ramsey High School. As a child, Anderson's dream of becoming a professional hockey player ended when he broke both his arms. Anderson developed an early interest in music, art and acting. For a short time he tried to become a jazz musician.[1]


Anderson studied to become an actor at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and later at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota but dropped out before he received his degree because he felt "listless". Right after his junior year in college, Anderson participated with friends in a cross-country bike ride from Minnesota to Alaska. He then moved to San Francisco, then New York, then moved permanently to Los Angeles. At the start he worked as a whale handler in a marine mammal show, a musician in medieval dinner theater, and as a street mime and juggler.[3] Anderson has stated that this period was "the happiest of my life" and has expressed an interest in teaching juggling, clowning and other circus arts to disadvantaged youths.[1] [4]

Anderson's first role was in the American soap opera, General Hospital as Dr. Jeff Webber from 1976 to 1981. In 1982–1983 He starred as Adam in the CBS television series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (based very loosely on the movie of the same name). In the 1983–1984 season, he played Lieutenant Simon Adams on the 22-week Dennis Weaver series Emerald Point N.A.S. on CBS, stealing away Celia Warren (Susan Dey), the wife of naval lawyer Jack Warren (Charles Frank).[3] Anderson then played Tony Kaiser in the acclaimed TV movie Ordinary Heroes, which aired in 1986.[5]

Anderson came to fame in the lead role of Angus MacGyver in the hit television series MacGyver, which lasted from 1985 to 1992 and was highly successful throughout its 7-year run.[6] The character Angus MacGyver, known as just MacGyver or Mac until the final season, is the highly intelligent, optimistic action hero that was notable as having not a firearm but the Swiss Army knife as a favorite weapon and tool.

Anderson would go on to produce two follow-up movies to MacGyver, in 1994.[1] After the cancellation of MacGyver, Anderson stated "MacGyver was seven years of being in virtually every frame that was shot and having absolutely no life at all."[7]

In 1995 he co-starred with John de Lancie in Legend, a comic series of only twelve episodes about a dime novel writer within the Wild West who against his will has to play the role of his own fictional character. Originally written as a TV movie, with the decision to make Legend a series, the original teleplay became the two-hour pilot episode. Anderson was applauded for his roles as Ernest Pratt and Nicodemus Legend by many critics, most notably John O'Connor from The New York Times.[8]


From 1997 to 2005, Anderson starred as Jack O'Neill in Stargate SG-1, based on the movie Stargate starring Kurt Russell and James Spader.[9] John Symes president of Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer (MGM) called Anderson himself and asked him if he wanted a part in the series. Anderson watched the Stargate film over and over again and came to the conclusion that the film had "great potential" and signed a contract with the Stargate producers.[4] Anderson agreed to become involved with the project if his character was allowed significantly more comedic leeway than Kurt Russell's character in the feature film. He also requested Stargate SG-1 to be more of an ensemble show, so that he would not be carrying the plot alone as on MacGyver.[10] In season eight, he chose to have his character "promoted" to base commander on Don S. Davis's advice.[11] This enabled the late Davis to retire from acting due to his ailing health, and Anderson to take over the smaller role which involved far less on-location shooting so that he could spend more time with his young daughter.[12] The following season, Anderson terminated his status as star and producer of Stargate SG-1 opting to make several guest appearances per season instead, allowing his sizable role to be filled by veteran actors Ben Browder (replacing Anderson as field commander), Claudia Black (replacing Anderson as the comic relief) and Emmy nominee Beau Bridges (replacing Anderson as Base commander).

Anderson at an event with Air Force personnel. (2004)

At the Air Force Association's 57th Annual Air Force Anniversary Dinner in Washington, D.C., on September 14, 2004, then-Air Force Chief-of-Staff, General John P. Jumper,[13] presented Anderson with an award because of his role as star and executive producer of Stargate SG-1, a series which portrayed the Air Force in a positive light from its premiere.[14] Anderson was also made an honorary Air Force Brigadier General.[15]

A great fan of the television show The Simpsons, which he had continually referenced during his time on SG-1, Anderson was invited in 2005 to guest star on the show. He voiced himself in the episode "Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore" in which the actor was kidnapped by Selma and Patty Bouvier, Marge Simpson's sisters, his MacGyver character having been their longstanding heartthrob.[6] Dan Castellaneta, the voice actor who portrays Homer Simpson (among other characters), made a guest appearance on Stargate SG-1 ("Citizen Joe") and, in describing his unnatural ability to see the life events of Jack O'Neill, made reference to O'Neill's fondness for The Simpsons.[16][17]

Anderson has also played the role of General Jack O'Neill in Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe which first aired in October 2009.

Later career[edit]

Anderson briefly reprised his role as Angus MacGyver in 2006 when he appeared in a MasterCard commercial during Super Bowl XL. While the plot follows the "MacGyver Formula", it is somewhat satirical of the series, showing unlikely if not impossible solutions to the obstacles faced by Anderson's character (in one shot, he cuts through a thick rope with a pine-scented air freshener).[18] The official MasterCard website for the commercial refers to it as "the Return of MacGyver".

Lee David Zlotoff the creator of MacGyver, announced on May 3, 2008, that a MacGyver film was in production.[19] Anderson has expressed interest in revisiting his role; however, there is no word on who will be playing the role of MacGyver in the film.[20][21]

Anderson cameoed as MacGyver in what seemed to be a Saturday Night Live advertisement parody featuring the show's recurring character MacGruber (portrayed by Will Forte), but was rather a real commercial for both Saturday Night Live and Pepsi, in which the titular character becomes obsessed with the soft drink. This aired three times during the January 31, 2009 SNL broadcast, and the second part aired again during Super Bowl XLIII on the following day.[22][23]

Anderson joined the cast of Fairly Legal on USA Network in Fall 2010 in the recurring role of David Smith, appearing in three episodes.[24]

In 2012, Anderson reprised his role of Angus MacGyver in a commercial for the Mercedes-Benz minivan Citan. This commercial is composed as a three-parter action-movie: MacGyver and the new Citan.[25]

Producer and composer career[edit]

Anderson has served as an executive producer in six shows in which he has acted himself: MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis, MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday, Legend, Stargate SG-1, Firehouse and From Stargate to Atlantis: Sci Fi Lowdown.

Anderson composed the song "Eau d'Leo" for the MacGyver episode "The Negotiator".[26]

Together with Michael Greenburg, Anderson created the Gekko Film Corporation. The company was involved with Stargate SG-1, producing every episode from 1997–2007 with the exception of 2006. The company itself has served as Anderson's backing agency.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Anderson has divided his time among Vancouver, Los Angeles, and northern Minnesota.[3] Never married, Anderson has one child with Apryl Prose, who gave birth to their daughter Wylie Quinn Annarose Anderson, on August 2, 1998.

Anderson left Stargate SG-1 because he wanted to spend more time with his daughter:

"Being a father, well, I don't know if this is a change, but it makes me want to get out of here faster. Get off the clock. Just 'cause the baby is my reason for living, my reason for coming to work.[26]"
—Richard Dean Anderson

Anderson has supported Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization trying to stop water pollution.[28] Anderson is a member of the Board of Trustees for Challengers Boys and Girls Club, a youth organization established in 1968 with the help of MacGyver producer Stephen Downing, and featured in an episode from season 4 of the show. He received the 1995 Celebrity Award from the Make-a-Wish Foundation because of his commitment to the foundation. He is also a supporter for various Sclerosis Society non-profit organizations and has done several public service announcements to show his support for the various organizations. Anderson is an avid supporter of the Special Olympics and was one of many speakers at the 1991 opening ceremonies. In recent years, he has helped several environmental organizations around the world. He is a member of Board of Advisors of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has worked with the members of Earth Rivers Expeditions to Produce River Project.[29][30]

Involvement in the Stargate universe[edit]


Executive producer[edit]


Film, Television and Video Games
Year Title Role Notes
2011 Raising Hope Keith TV series, 1 episode
2011 Facing Kate David Smith TV series, 4 episodes
2009—2010 Stargate Universe Lieutenant General Jack O'Neill TV series, 6 episodes
2009 Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods - Final Cut Colonel Jack O'Neill Video, recut of the 1997 version of "Children of the Gods"
2009 Saturday Night Live MacGyver TV series, 2 episodes
2008 Stargate: Continuum Major General Jack O'Neill Video
2004—2006 Stargate Atlantis Brigadier General/Major General Jack O'Neill TV series, 4 episodes
1997—2007 Stargate SG-1 Colonel/Brigadier General/Major General Jack O'Neill TV series, 175 episodes
1997 Firehouse Lt Michael Brooks TV movie
1997 Fallout: A Post-Nuclear Role-Playing Game Mayor Killian Darkwater Video game
1996 Pandora's Clock Capt. James Holland TV movie
1995 Legend Ernest Pratt/Nicodemus Legend TV series, 12 episodes
1995 Past the Bleachers Bill Parish TV movie
1994 MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday Angus MacGyver TV movie
1994 Beyond Betrayal Bradley Matthews TV movie
1994 MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis Angus MacGyver TV movie
1992 Through the Eyes of a Killer Ray Bellano TV movie
1985—1992 MacGyver Angus MacGyver TV series, 139 episodes
1992 In the Eyes of a Stranger Jack Rourke TV movie
1991 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson TV series, 1 episode
1986 Odd Jobs Spud Film
1986 Ordinary Heroes Tony Kaiser Film
1983—1984 Emerald Point N.A.S. Navy Lt. Simons Adams TV series, 22 episodes
1982—1983 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Adam McFadden TV series, 21 episodes
1982 Young Doctors in Love Drug dealer TV series, 1 episode, uncredited
1982 The Love Boat Carter Randall TV series, 1 episode
1981 Today's F.B.I. Andy McFey TV series, 1 episode
1981 The Facts of Life Brian Parker TV series, 1 episode
1976—1981 General Hospital Dr. Jeff Webber TV series
Year Title Notes
1997—2005 Stargate SG-1 TV series, Executive producer, 163 episodes
1997 Firehouse TV movie, Executive producer
1994 MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday TV movie, Executive producer
1994 MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis TV movie, Executive producer


  • Anderson is the only actor to have his name displayed before the series title when he was part of Stargate SG-1 main cast (from Season 1 to Season 8). He is also the only actor to have his name written on the DVD covers above the series title for all seasons he was part of the main cast.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Richard Dean Anderson". Hollywood. Retrieved 2009-04-10.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "hollywood" defined multiple times with different content
  2. "Richard Dean Anderson Trivia and Quotes on".;subtabs;trivia. Retrieved 2010-08-18. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Nathan Southern. "Richard Dean Anderson". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Richard Dean Anderson — Interview". Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  5. Pal Erickson. "Ordinary Heroes". Allmovie. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Plans underway for MacGyver movie". BBC. 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  7. Tim Appelo (1997-08-01). "Gate Crasher". Entertainment Weekly!.,,288918,00.html. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  8. John Connor (1995-04-18). "Television Review; A Writer Becomes His Hero In 1876". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  9. Norma Cavazos (1997-06-22). "`Murder, She Wrote' Film May Air This Fall". The Dallas Morning Times. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  10. Eramo, Steven (July 2002). "Richard Dean Anderson – Mr Anderson – Colonel O'Neill". TV Zone (Special 46): 4–9. 
  11. "Don S. Davis ~ General Discussion ~ An Interview by M R Reed". Retrieved 2010-08-18. 
  12. Gibson 2003, p. 66, p. 117.
  13. Thar, Doug (September 9, 2004). "Air Force to honor actor, producer". Air Force Link. Archived from the original on 2007-12-30. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  14. Haugsted, Linda (2004-09-20). "Through the Wire". Multichannel News (Reed Elsevier Inc). Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  15. Sokol, Anna (2004-10-01). "Richard Dean Anderson - A Day of Honors". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  16. "Dan Castellaneta". The Films. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  17. "Simpsons' features Alberta museum". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-04-13. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  18. "Richard Dean Anderson as MacGyver in MasterCard Commercial". Richard Dean Anderson Forever. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  19. "In brief: MacGyver creator talks up film". London: The Guardian. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  20. "New Line Gears Up For 'MacGyver' Film". Attack of the Show! – The Feed accessdate=2009-04-11. 
  21. "Comic Con: Richard Dean Anderson Talks MacGyver Movie". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  22. "Super Bowl Commercial: Pepsi – "Pepsuber"". Beverage Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  23. "Is Saturday Night Live leasing its sketches to advertisers?". CBC News. Associated Press. 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  24. Posted by DarkUFO (2010-06-23). "Richard Dean Anderson To Recur On New USA Series". Spoiler TV. Retrieved 2010-08-18. 
  25. "MacGyver is the new Mercedes-Benz spokesman". August 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  26. 26.0 26.1 "Richard Dean Anderson". Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  27. "Gekko Film Corporation". Variety Magazine. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  28. "Richard Dean Anderson". Look To the Stars. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  29. "Richard Dean Anderson". Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  30. "'MacGyver' tackles seal hunt". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2005-03-08. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Richard Dean Anderson . The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Semantic Stargate Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0).
Facts about "Richard Dean Anderson"
Birth countryUSA +
Birth dateJanuary 23, 1950 +
Executive producer inEpisode:Thor's Hammer +, Episode:The Torment of Tantalus +, Episode:Bloodlines +, Episode:Fire and Water +, Episode:Hathor +, Episode:Cor-Ai +, Episode:Enigma +, Episode:Solitudes +, Episode:Tin Man +, Episode:Politics +, Episode:The Serpent's Lair +, Episode:In the Line of Duty +, Episode:Prisoners +, Episode:The Gamekeeper +, Episode:Need +, Episode:Thor's Chariot +, Episode:Message in a Bottle +, Episode:Family +, Episode:Secrets +, Episode:Bane +, Episode:The Tok'ra, Part 1 +, Episode:The Tok'ra, Part 2 +, Episode:Spirits +, Episode:Touchstone +, Episode:The Fifth Race +, Episode:A Matter of Time +, Episode:Holiday +, Episode:Serpent's Song +, Episode:One False Step +, Episode:Show and Tell +, Episode:1969 + and Episode:Out of Mind +
FilmStargate: Continuum +
GenderMale +
Guest Star inStargate: Continuum +, Episode:Rising, Part 1 + and Episode:Air, Part 1 +
Has played inRaising Hope (TV series) +, Facing Kate (TV series) +, Saturday Night Live (TV series) +, Firehouse (TV movie) +, Fallout: A Post-Nuclear Role-Playing Game (video game) +, Pandora's Clock (TV movie) +, Legend (TV series) +, Past the Bleachers (TV movie) +, MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday (TV movie) +, Beyond Betrayal (TV movie) +, MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis (TV movie) +, Through the Eyes of a Killer (TV movie) +, MacGyver (TV series) +, In the Eyes of a Stranger (TV movie) +, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (TV series) +, Odd Jobs (film) +, Ordinary Heroes (film) +, Emerald Point N.A.S. (TV series) +, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (TV series) +, Young Doctors in Love (TV series) +, The Love Boat (TV series) +, Today's F.B.I. (TV series) +, The Facts of Life (TV series) + and General Hospital (TV series) +
Infobox imageRichard Dean Anderson.jpg +
Main cast inEpisode:Children of the Gods +, Episode:The Enemy Within +, Episode:Emancipation +, Episode:The Broca Divide +, Episode:The First Commandment +, Episode:Cold Lazarus +, Episode:The Nox +, Episode:Brief Candle +, Episode:Thor's Hammer +, Episode:The Torment of Tantalus +, Episode:Bloodlines +, Episode:Fire and Water +, Episode:Hathor +, Episode:Singularity +, Episode:Cor-Ai +, Episode:Enigma +, Episode:Solitudes +, Episode:Tin Man +, Episode:There But For the Grace of God +, Episode:Politics +, Episode:Within the Serpent's Grasp +, Episode:The Serpent's Lair +, Episode:In the Line of Duty +, Episode:Prisoners +, Episode:The Gamekeeper +, Episode:Need +, Episode:Thor's Chariot +, Episode:Message in a Bottle +, Episode:Family +, Episode:Secrets +, Episode:Bane +, Episode:The Tok'ra, Part 1 +, Episode:The Tok'ra, Part 2 +, Episode:Spirits +, Episode:Touchstone +, Episode:The Fifth Race +, Episode:A Matter of Time +, Episode:Holiday +, Episode:Serpent's Song +, Episode:One False Step +, Episode:Show and Tell +, Episode:1969 +, Episode:Out of Mind +, Episode:Into the Fire +, Episode:Seth +, Episode:Fair Game +, Episode:Legacy +, Episode:Learning Curve +, Episode:Point of View +, Episode:Deadman Switch +, Episode:Demons +, Episode:Rules of Engagement +, Episode:Forever in a Day +, Episode:Past and Present +, Episode:Jolinar's Memories +, Episode:The Devil You Know +, Episode:Foothold +, Episode:Pretense +, Episode:Urgo +, Episode:A Hundred Days +, Episode:Shades of Grey +, Episode:New Ground +, Episode:Maternal Instinct +, Episode:Crystal Skull +, Episode:Nemesis +, Episode:Small Victories +, Episode:The Other Side +, Episode:Upgrades +, Episode:Crossroads +, Episode:Divide and Conquer +, Episode:Window of Opportunity +, Episode:Watergate +, Episode:The First Ones +, Episode:Scorched Earth +, Episode:Beneath the Surface +, Episode:Point of No Return +, Episode:Tangent +, Episode:The Curse +, Episode:The Serpent's Venom +, Episode:Chain Reaction +, Episode:2010 +, Episode:Absolute Power +, Episode:The Light +, Episode:Prodigy +, Episode:Entity +, Episode:Double Jeopardy +, Episode:Exodus +, Episode:Enemies +, Episode:Threshold +, Episode:Ascension +, Episode:The Fifth Man +, Episode:Red Sky +, Episode:Rite of Passage +, Episode:Beast of Burden +, Episode:The Tomb +, Episode:Between Two Fires +, Episode:2001 +, Episode:Desperate Measures +, Episode:Wormhole X-Treme! +, Episode:Proving Ground +, Episode:48 Hours +, Episode:Summit +, Episode:Last Stand +, Episode:Fail Safe +, Episode:The Warrior +, Episode:Menace +, Episode:The Sentinel +, Episode:Meridian +, Episode:Revelations +, Episode:Redemption, Part 1 +, Episode:Redemption, Part 2 +, Episode:Descent +, Episode:Frozen +, Episode:Abyss +, Episode:Shadow Play +, Episode:The Other Guys +, Episode:Allegiance +, Episode:Cure +, Episode:Prometheus +, Episode:Unnatural Selection +, Episode:Sight Unseen +, Episode:Smoke & Mirrors +, Episode:Paradise Lost +, Episode:Metamorphosis +, Episode:Forsaken +, Episode:The Changeling +, Episode:Memento +, Episode:Prophecy +, Episode:Full Circle +, Episode:Fallen +, Episode:Homecoming +, Episode:Fragile Balance +, Episode:Orpheus +, Episode:Revisions +, Episode:Lifeboat +, Episode:Enemy Mine +, Episode:Space Race +, Episode:Avenger 2.0 +, Episode:Birthright +, Episode:Evolution, Part 1 +, Episode:Evolution, Part 2 +, Episode:Grace +, Episode:Fallout +, Episode:Chimera +, Episode:Death Knell +, Episode:Heroes, Part 1 +, Episode:Heroes, Part 2 +, Episode:Lost City, Part 1 +, Episode:Lost City, Part 2 +, Episode:New Order, Part 2 +, Episode:Lockdown +, Episode:Zero Hour +, Episode:Icon +, Episode:Avatar +, Episode:Affinity +, Episode:Covenant +, Episode:Sacrifices +, Episode:Endgame +, Episode:Gemini +, Episode:Prometheus Unbound +, Episode:It's Good To Be King +, Episode:Full Alert +, Episode:Citizen Joe +, Episode:Reckoning, Part 1 +, Episode:Reckoning, Part 2 +, Episode:Threads +, Episode:Moebius, Part 1 + and Episode:Moebius, Part 2 +
Month-Day birthJanuary 23 +
NameRichard Dean Anderson +
NationalityAmerican +
OccupationActor +, Producer + and Composer +
ProvRichard Dean Anderson +
SeriesStargate SG-1 +, Stargate Atlantis + and Stargate Universe +
Special Appearance inEpisode:Avalon, Part 1 +, Episode:Origin +, Episode:200 +, Episode:The Shroud +, Episode:The Real World +, Episode:The Return, Part 1 +, Episode:The Return, Part 2 +, Episode:Air, Part 3 +, Episode:Earth +, Episode:Subversion + and Episode:Incursion, Part 1 +
Stargate occupationActor + and Executive producer +
Year active start1976 +