A versatile and talented actor, Dick Christie has a keen sense of comic timing which lent an added dimension to the role of Ted Lawson on the hit comedy series Small Wonder.
Dick was born in Long Beach, California. His family moved to Omaha after his father retired from a career in the service. After obtaining a degree in theater arts from the University of Nebraska, Dick stayed on at his alma mater to teach both theater and photography courses, spending his evenings working with the local repertory company and appearing in numerous dinner theater productions. Having decided to pursue a career in acting, Dick wrestled with the decision of New York vs. Los Angeles, finally flipping a coin and choosing the latter. It was a gamble that paid off almost immediately: "I decided to give L.A. a shot and just got lucky, being the right person in the right place at the right time. I started working virtually right away," he recalls.
Although the handsome actor credits his success to luck, an overview of his work would suggest talent played more than a small role. He's been featured guest-starring on such top-rated television series as Hart to Hart, The Waltons, Eight Is Enough and Newhart, and in a recurring role on Knots Landing. (He also played against Vicki Lawrence-Schultz one week on the NBC game show Super Password.—J.V.) Dick starred in Ace Crawford: Private Eye with Tim Conway and appeared in the telefilms Mae West and Enola Gay, among numerous other productions.
Dick's feature film work includes roles in Looker (1981), Honky Tonk Freeway (1980), The Number, Brainstorm, Promises in the Dark, and Any Which Way You Can (another 1980 film, in which he played Officer Jackson). He holds a rich background in theater production, and has been featured on stage in Much Ado About Nothing, Death of a Salesman, The Glass Menagerie and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? among many other credits.
Dick enjoys being involved in other areas of his craft. He produced and starred in the play P.S. Your Cat is Dead, for which he received the Drama-Logue Critics Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre Performance in 1981. He also wrote the final episode of Welcome Back Kotter. Dick's commercial appearances, such as Bud Light Beer, add to an already diverse acting background.
Dick describes the character he portrays on Small Wonder: "Ted's a great guy, a guy you'd want to be your friend. He's honest, intelligent, forthright — and I can really identify with him because he's a lot of things I'm not," he says with a laugh. "He's also a little absent-minded," he continues, "because he gets totally absorbed with his robot, a creation he's invented to help mankind." The character of Joan is often called on to bring Ted back to earth, and Dick says the relationship with Marla Pennington often mirrors his real-life marriage: "I have a wonderful wife, Chris, who is really my stabilizing force," he relates sincerely.
The easy-going actor credits producer Howard Leeds with creating a show that offers something for everyone, and adds, "I love doing this show because it's taped live — it's similar to the stage, that wonderful immediacy of audience response."
In addition to work and family, Dick counts golf ("I'm obsessed") among his passions, and has a fondness for Corvettes, although, he confides, "I don't really fit the image."
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