Tag Archives: Gerald McRaney

Gerald McRaney Delta Burke His ‘n’ Hers Pilots

Gerald McRaney is hanging out at L.A.’s Marina Del Rey this week while wife Delta Burke is busy making the pilot for her prospective “Counter Culture” comedy at nearby Sony Pictures Studios. “I’m her wheel man, picking her up at the end of the day,” says the ever-popular, always-busy actor. “I’m actually just being selfish. I want to be around her more. I didn’t see her for a month.”   He’s just returned from North Carolina where he was filming the big screen “Heart of the Country,” a drama about a father and his prodigal daughter, based on the novel by Rene Gutteridge. McRaney stars and executive produces, as well. “The first thing was, I liked the script. It was touching. It was about people, not about androids — which isn’t easy to find these days,” he contends. “The whole thing is about people who are trying to do their best.”

He’s lavish in his praise for writer-director John Ward and the rest of the team on the indie feature, including onscreen daughters Anne Hawthorne and Jana Kramer, the latter of whom is the prodigal. “Jana is an up-and-coming country music artist, as well. We had a great, great cast. Jana especially stole my heart.”   McRaney also has completed a pilot: TNT’s hour-long drama called “Scent of the Mission,” about rescue dogs. So he and Delta might each have shows coming on this fall. They’ll find out next month. The hitch: Hers is here in L.A., and his is in Louisiana. “At least, with hers being a sitcom, she’d get a week off here and there,” says McRaney, speaking of Delta’s ABC show that also stars Doris Roberts, Kerri Kenney and Margo Martindale. Then she could join him back around their old digs in the Bayou State.

The McRaneys have had to work out some pretty convoluted logistics to be together through the years, but they’ve obviously managed. They’ll celebrate their 23rd anniversary next month.

Gerald McRaney’s Debt of Gratitude to Former Top — Really Top — CIA Man

Gerald McRaney NBC photo

If Gerald McRaney looks like a natural as a CIA liaison in J.J. Abrams’ sexy new “Undercovers,” premiering tonight (9/22), it could be because he has pals who know the spy game inside out.

“As luck would have it, I’ve actually worked with people in the past who are retired from or associated with the CIA,” the well-liked star of shows including “Simon and Simon,” “Major Dad,” “The Promised Land,” “Deadwood” and “Jericho” lets us know.  For instance, “The gentleman who helped us coordinate a movie I worked on in Thailand, ‘Vestige of Honor,’ and some other people.”

Other people indeed.  McRaney happens to be friends with George H.W. Bush, who, you’ll recall, was Director of Central Intelligence — the head spook himself — before he became President.

“I suppose that if I needed technical advice, I could get it from him,” observes McRaney with a smile.

That would work.

In fact, McRaney’s relationship with the 41st President and Barbara Bush helped save his life.  Years ago, as part of a celebration of George’s and Barbara’s respective birthdays, McRaney took part in a charitable fundraiser for M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston.  “I did the tour, met some of the doctors,” he recounts.  Later, “When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I turned to the staff at M.D. Anderson and asked if I could come down there and get a second opinion.”  He went on to have surgery and follow-up treatment at the esteemed facility.

“I wouldn’t have even known about the hospital if it hadn’t been for President Bush,” says McRaney.  He also says he left a thank-you message for Bush, and was surprised awhile later, when he picked up his ringing phone and found himself chatting with the former Prez.  Talk about something to bolster one’s spirits.

These days, McRaney’s spirits are soaring.  He’s now six years’ cancer-free, he reports, having just received his annual clean bill of health.  His 23-year-marriage to Delta Burke still gets him gushing like a newlywed.  And he’s loving his latest TV gig, as the boss of super agents Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.  “I come in two or three times an episode and tell these young people what to do.  They do all the heavy lifting, all the stunt work,” he says.  “I have never been around two more beautiful people, I don’t think.  And then both of them, being that gorgeous, have the temerity to be nice guys, too.”

Late-in-the-day new career for Herb Alpert, Lani Hall

herb_alpert_lani_hall

Herb Alpert and Lani Hall

It took 30 years of marriage before Herb Alpert and Lani Hall got around to recording together. But now that the trumpet great and the Brasil ‘66 lead singer have collaborated, they show no signs of stopping. The couple has been getting raves for their live performances, as well as advance response to their sexy, sophisticated “Anything Goes” album, to be released by Concord this summer.

“It’s a bit overwhelming,” says Herb. “We weren’t sure whether people would be yelling out for Tijuana Brass songs from the past, but that hasn’t happened. They’re accepting the new music because it’s from a real place.”

They reveal that they’ll launch a tour of the Eastern Seaboard this fall, and other performing plans are in the works.

“It took this long for us to come full circle, with the idea of doing jazz, and the idea of doing it together,” says Lani.

They have a handful of California dates this Spring – and will also treat the audience at the May 18 Ella Awards to five or six songs, they report. Herb and Lani are the 18th Ella Award recipients, joining the ranks of such notables as Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald herself in being honored by the Society of Singers at its annual gala event (a fundraiser for the SOS relief and scholarship funds) at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The Alpert-Hall tribute will also feature Alan Bergman, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., Renee Olstead, Steve Tyrell, Tata Vega and Paul Williams.

Alpert admits, “We were hemming and hawing for awhile” when told of the award. “I’m a one-hit vocal wonder. I’m not a singer. Lani is the singer. I’m not sure I totally qualify,” explains the seven-time Grammy winner, 75 million album seller, patron of the arts and education, and long-time music industry titan. ‘Course that one hit – “This Guy’s In Love with You” – remains a classic.

Fascinatingly, Alpert was at the height of his initial career when he called together the members of the Tijuana Brass and informed them that it was over; he couldn’t play anymore. He was frozen. And for years, the horn remained silent while he focused on his work as the co-owner of A&M Records. He couldn’t be sounding better now, as “Anything Goes” clearly attests.

GOING, GOING GONE: What’s it like to ride a hit? The title of Day26’s new album, “Forever in a Day,” could also refer to the band’s jam-packed schedule as of late. Willie Taylor tells us, “We were just complaining to our manager that we need some sort of sleep. There is definitely no sleep involved this time around. It’s quite hectic. On average, we’re getting up at about 4:30-5 a.m., going to a radio station, doing a show, doing a meet-and-greet that ends about noon. And mind you, we haven’t eaten yet.” Evenings? “They don’t get any better,” he says. “We’re just always constantly on the go.”

However, with their hit sophomore album – No 1 on iTunes’ R&B/Soul chart and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200 — he says he really wouldn’t change a thing. “It’s definitely a blessing, a dream come true. The schedule means it’s all working.”

With his group having been formed in ’07 by Sean “Puffy” Combs on MTV’s “Making the Band 4,” Taylor says, “I’ve learned a whole lot from Puff. From this whole experience, I’ve learned to be more of a businessman, to be more business-minded. Like, I’m venturing off, doing my own record company. I’ve seen the way he does business, the way he treats his artists. I’m definitely stealing a couple of pointers and running with them.”

But first, he’s running with his four bandmates. “We’re kicking off a tour the sixth of May. It’s only two weeks now, but we’re looking to extend it. We’d love to go out with another tour this summer.”

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE: Gerald McRaney joins Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and the rest of company on Lucasfilm’s “Red Tails” on May 2 in Prague. He’s taking on the role of the general who assigns the Tuskegee Airmen the task of escorting bombers over Nazi-held territory in the picture being directed by Anthony Hemingway from John Ridley’s screenplay – and he has Hemingway to thank. The filmmaker was second to the second [sic] assistant director on McRaney’s “Promised Land” series back in the 1996, and the actor remembers telling people, “Some day I’m going to be working for this guy.” A prescient comment, it turns out. Hemingway thought immediately of McRaney when it came time to fill the role of the no-nonsense military man who issues commands to the all-black 332nd Fighter Group based on its accomplishments, despite racist naysayers.

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: Cassidy Freeman – bad girl Tess Mercer on “Smallville” – tells us to watch out for the final two episodes of that CW series’ eighth season, airing May 7 and 14. “They were pretty challenging to shoot, like anything at the end of a season. They’re effects-heavy,” she tells us. The real cliffhanger, of course, is going on off-screen. As Cassidy notes, “We’re waiting to see whether there’ll be a Season 9.”


With reports by Emily Feimster.