Bronson Pinchot, No Stranger To Home Improvements

Bronson Pinchot is taking his favorite pastime to the airwaves. Yes, the same actor who played the bumbling Balki on the hit sitcom “Perfect Strangers” is starring in a new series for the DIY Network called “The Bronson Pinchot Project.” Each 30-minute episode follows Pinchot and his crew as they restore old homes. An edited version of the interview with him follows

by Ilyssa Panitz • Celebrity Reporter
bronson pinchot image
Bronson Pinchot is most comfortable at home fixing fixer-uppers.
Photograph: DIY Network

MORE: In addition to restoring old homes, you also own a lot of real estate?
BP: I own all of the houses. In the town that I live in, which is a quarter of a mile long [laughs], I own all of the houses that were beyond help. The house I am in now was considered a big white elephant. What’s interesting about this house is it was being used for offices before I took it over.

MORE: You mentioned how you lead a private life, which obviously you do because I can’t find one story about your personal life. Why is that?
BP: There are a few parts to this answer. For starters, I used to live in the house once owned by Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio when they first got married. Not only did Robin Leach want to film an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous there, but it was also the same time my assistant got a call from the National Enquirer asking if there was a line of women sleeping outside my home. This was all so uninteresting to me, because the place was a mess—I was working on it. There was nothing marvelous to write about my life.

MORE: I am not following. Why the big secret?
BP: I am convinced that when actors peddle their weddings and kids, all they do is ruin their image. For me, if I see an actor’s brilliant performance, I don’t want to know anything behind that mystery. I don’t want to know who they were with, their rehab experience or their weight. I don’t think there is anything to be gained, and it certainly does not help the art. I guess I just don’t want to give away my secrets.

MORE: When Perfect Strangers ended, was it hard to find other work?
BP: Just the opposite. When that show ended, I got one of the best and most orgasmic parts of my career: Elliot in the movie True Romance. After that I made my debut in a Stephen Sondheim musical, and then from there I did a Shakespeare festival. It was only disappointing when I looked at what I didn’t get.

MORE: Which was?
BP: More True Romances parts. Although the movie didn’t do well in the theaters, it went on to become a cult classic.
MORE: Speaking of big productions, do you and your former costar Mark Linn-Baker still keep in touch?
BP: I do. I adore Mark. He is like a brother to me. We have such a good time together. We don’t need to talk, because we just burst out laughing. Matter of fact, I just spent time with him and his 13-year-old daughter, who is so smart.

MORE: How would you describe your relationship with your Risky Business costar, Tom Cruise? A few years ago, there was a big story about some negative comments you made about him in a published report.
BP: That was such a nonevent. Here I was lying in bed doing an interview with The Onion, and they asked me what my memory was of him during our time together, and I told them. I never said this is what he was like now; I said this is what he was like when we were both kids.

MORE: Was Tom pissed?
BP: No. He was incredibly gracious. His response was, “I am sure Bronson was joking, or he is talking about when we were younger.” Tom was very elegant about it. Want to know the funny part?

MORE: Sure.
BP: I went on to say that Denzel Washington is a pain in the ass, which he is, and I won’t retract that, and then I went on about how incredibly nice and fantastically wonderful Tom Hanks was. Unfortunately, that got no play at all.

MORE: Where would you like to see your career go?
BP: Every time I say where I want it to go, it goes where it wants to go. I am perfectly happy as long as I am creating something.
Click here to read Peggy Fleming's Life Has Not Been as Smooth as Ice.


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First Published February 10, 2012

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