William Daniels The Actor

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Dr. Mark Craig, St. Elsewhere

Television, 1982-1988

When I was offered the role, the scripts were excellent but there was only an occasional appearance by Dr. Craig. "Billy, when the writers see what you do with it they will write for you," producer Bruce Paltrow told me. He was right. I won two Emmys for that role.

The beginning was rugged. Paltrow shut down production to make the set look more drab and recast some parts. Bonnie eventually joined the cast, playing Dr. Craig's wife, winning two Emmys herself. With so many contradictions in his character, Dr. Craig was a joy to play.

My main efforts were going into creating Dr. Craig, a funny, foolish, dedicated surgeon; a martinet who demanded discipline in the operating room but got nowhere when he tried to use the same tactics at home.

Bonnie remembers me sitting out at the pool memorizing my lines. I had to have them down pat, because so much of it was medical jargon and I had to make the speech seem like second nature while, at the same time, performing heart surgery.