Brandon Cruz is angry over what he views as Hollywood’s slight of his former TV dad, the late Bill Bixby. The former child star, who walked away from acting at age 18, is now out promoting the four-disc DVD release of his vintage “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father,” Season 1, from Warner Archive.
“When I found out they were putting this out, I thought, ‘It’s about time.’ Bill Bixby had an amazing body of work, not only ‘Courtship of Eddie’s Father,’ but ‘My Favorite Martian,’ ‘The Magician,’ ‘The Incredible Hulk’ and so many other things, as an actor, as a director — and he never got an Emmy. He’s never been recognized posthumously by the Academy. And he doesn’t have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. That is criminal,” blasts Cruz. “There are people who have stars that, not to be blunt, but I wouldn’t bother spitting on their stars. Bill’s talent would take a couple of blocks of stars compared to them. It really demeans the whole thing that Bill is not included.
“Pretty much my whole intention in being part of this publicity is ringing this to people’s attention,” he adds.
Cruz has carved an awfully interesting life for himself as an adult. He’s been a punk rocker — even fronted The Dead Kennedys for a while. He’s a surfer who’s been to numerous exotic lands. He’s a family man, and, with 15 years of sobriety, he’s a highly-regarded drug and alcohol counselor for the Walking Miracles Foundation.
But he still has fond memories of the three and a half years he spent playing Bixby’s son: “Bill was such a big part of those formative years for me.”
The two stayed friends until Bixby’s death, of cancer, in 1993. Bixby had been given six months to live, and “about a year later, he called me and said, ‘Still here, Kid.’ Then awhile later he called. ‘Guess what? I’m still here,'” recalls Cruz with a laugh. “One day I saw him for lunch and we had a great talk. I told him I’d met this amazing woman — my wife — and he said, ‘I hope I get to meet her.’ But he died, just before Thanksgiving, just after I’d met with him.
“On the set of ‘Blossom,’ he taught a lot of people how to live while he was dying. He kept working, directing, right up to the end….There are guys around Hollywoodwho are so well-liked, you couldn’t pay people to say bad things about them. Bill was one of those guys.”