Peter Strauss

  1. Michael Ontkean, Slap Shot,1977. The role? One of Paul Newman’s ice-hockey team, the Charlestown Chiefs. Can you skate, Peter? Of course! (Al Pacino felt that question facetious and quit).  OK, show me! And Strauss broke his leg in the audition. He then  appeared on TV with the leg in a cast, still disbelieving how the 22-year-older Newman could skate rings around him  without any injury. No problem for Ontkean, either. The Vancouverian  had refused  a New York Rangers ice-hockey contract to become an actor,  becoming a cult favourite  in the 30 episodes of director David Lynch’s Twin Peaks,TV,  1990-1991.
  2. Robert Foxworth, Prophecy, 1979. Strauss easily rejected director John Frankenheimer’s excursion into horror. “I feel more pride in some of the things I – and others – have done in television lately than what I’ve seen in films.”
  3. Tom Skerritt, Silence of the North, 1980. Tired of explaining Strauss was not 40, an Easterner or a WASP, his agent chased it in order to change   Peter’s   1976 TV image in Rich Man, Poor Man.
  4. Sam Waterston, Hopscotch, 1980. “To hell with all these heroic macho roles. I’m going for David Niven roles from now on. He’s always out in Cannes or on boats in elegant clothes.”
  5. Michael Ontkean, Making Love, 1992.    Several stars were worried about the subject matter: a young husband’s bisexuality being aroused by Harry Hamlin.  Also fleeing: Strauss (the 1976 Rich Man, Poor Manfind)  Tom Berenger, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, William Hurt.  Pauline Kael called it: ineffable. Poor Hamlin lost various films after the gay love story. “It was 10 years too early, I guess, and it completely ended my career. That was the last studio picture I ever did. The door shut with a resounding smash.” And this after Warner Bros had offered him “the Clint” – a three-picture contractl named after Clint Eastwood’s deal.  The first two films were to be First Blood, the first Rambo movie, and  Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. Three years later, Hurt was gay in The Kiss of the Spider Woman. It did not, er, hurt his career; indeed, he won the first ever  Best Actor Oscar, for such a role.


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  5