Jon Cypher Online
EST 2014 | a tribute site to actor jon cypher
Welcome to MAVERICK JON CYPHER ONLINE @ www.joncypher.org an online resource to American actor Jon Cypher. Well known for his portrayal of Chief Fletcher P. Daniels on the 1982 NBC cop drama HILL STREET BLUES, as Major General Martin Goldman on the CBS Vietnam War drama TOUR OF DUTY and as General Marcus Craig on MAJOR DAD and as Duncan, Man at Arms in the film HE MAN & THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, as Brian in H. G. Wells' FOOD OF THE GODS, and as Prince Christopher in the live televised version of CINDERELLA starring Julie Andrews from 1957. Jon has a strong resume encompassing film, television and the stage. Although Jon is now retired I hope this site stands as a tribute to his talent.

I want to thank Owain Mattocks of the Facebook HILL STREET BLUES Fan Group for allowing me to post this here. Jon contacted him and related his thanks knowing the show is still being remembered today some thirty plus years after going off the air. Owain has allowed me to post it here for Jon’s fans who either don’t know about the group, or who would just like to see what Jon’s experience was. Thanks again Owain. The all caps is Jon’s and the message is posted here directly as Owain provided with no corrections.

DEAR OWAIN,

WHAT A PLEASURE TO GET YOUR EMAIL AND TO KNOW THAT THERE’S STILL A HILL STREET GROUP REMEMBERING THAT AMAZING SHOW.THE REAL JOB OF AN ACTOR IS NOT ACTING. THE REAL JOB IS GETTING THE JOB. I AUDITIONED FOR HILL ST. FOR THE PART OF A CAPTAIN,A CHARACTER WHO WAS GOING TO RECUR IN 3 EPISODES. BOCHCO, THE PRODUCER, SAID TO ME AFTER MY AUDITION. “WELL, YOU’RE NOT RIGHT FOR THIS BUT THERE’S SOMETHING COMING UP AND WE’LL CALL YOU.” THOSE LAST WORDS ARE THE KISS OF DEATH FOR AN ACTOR.IN OTHER WORDS, “WE’LL CALL YOU” IS A NICE WAY OF SAYING, “GO AWAY, DISAPPEAR, NEVER DARKEN OUR DOOR AGAIN.”

BUT THIS TIME BOCHCO MEANT IT AND A COUPLE OF WEEKS LATER, I GOT A CALL TO COME IN TO PLAY THE POLICE CHIEF. IT WAS TO BE A ONE SHOT.BUT AFTER I DID THAT FIRST SHOW, THEY CALLED AGAIN AND I WAS ON THE SHOW FOR THE DURATION…7 SEASONS. THE FUNNY THING IS THAT WHEN I CAME IN TO DO THAT SECOND SHOW, THE ASST. DIRECTOR SAID TO ME THAT WHEN THE PRODUCERS SCREENED THAT FIRST EPISODE I WAS IN, THEY NEVERSTOPPED LAUGHING AT WHAT I’D DONE. I WAS DELIGHTED. THE ONLY. PROBLEM WAS THAT I WAS PLAYING IT STRAIGHT…NOT FOR LAUGHS…BUT THE PRODUCERS THOUGHT I WAS FUNNY. SO! FOR THE REST OF THAT SEASON AND THE NEXT SIX, I WAS ALWAYS WALKING A WEIRD LINE IN MY BRAIN: IS THIS FUNNY; IS THIS NOT FUNNY? ALWAYS ASKING MYSELF THAT STRANGE QUESTION.

I SAID THE REAL JOB OF AN ACTOR IS GETTING THE JOB. WHEN I STARTED WORKING IN FILM AND ON TV THERE WERE AROUND 35 OR 40 THOUSAND MEMBERS OF SCREEN ACTORS GUILD…THE FILM UNION. WHEN I RETIRED AFTER 43 YEARS, THERE WERE ABOUT 145 THOUSAND. MORE AND MORE ACTORS FOR THE AVAILABLE WORK. AND TO MAKE A LIVING, ACTORS FREQUENTLY HAVE TO TAKE SOMETHING THEY KNOW IS NOT GOOD. THAT THEY KNOW SUCKS!I’VE DONE FIVE SOAP OPERAS FOR SHORT PERIODS DURING MY CAREER…JUST TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE. BUT ALL THAT IS A LEAD UP TO SAY THATHILL STREET BLUES WAS, CONSISTENTLY, WEEK AFTER WEEK, YEAR AFTER YEAR, THE FINEST WRITING THAT I’VE EVER HAD THE PRIVILEGE TO DO. I WAS WHAT IS CALLED IN THE BUSINESS, “A RECURRING CHARACTER.” I DID AS MANY AS 15 OF THE 24 EPISODES IN A SEASON AND AS FEW AS 8 OR 10. BUT EVERY TIME A SCRIPT WAS DELIVERED TO MY HOUSE, I WONDERED, “COULD THEY HAVE DONE IT YET AGAIN? COULD THEY HAVE FORGED YET ANOTHER SCRIPT WITH THE SAME BRILLIANT WRITING, THE SAME POWERFUL STORYLINE?? ANOTHER MASTERPIECE? AGAIN?

AND, OF COURSE, I WAS NEVER DISAPPOINTED. ALWAYS BRILLIANT, ALWAYS AWASH IN REALITY. HERE’S HOW IT WORKS: A WRITER SUBMITS A SCRIPT, THEY LIKE IT AND BUY THE SCRIPT FROM THE WRITER. THEN THE PRODUCERS PUT THEIR IMPRIMATUR ON THE STORY. AND, ON HSB THE LAST ONE TO TOUCH THE SCRIPT WOULD ALWAYS BE STEPHEN BOCHCO. AND WHEN BOCHCO TOUCHED IT, IT WAS TRANSFORMED INTO THE GEM THE WORLD SAW ON THEIR TV SCREENS.UNFAILINGLY. BOCHCO DID IT. AND, IF I MAY, WHAT A TRAGEDY THAT HE DIED SO YOUNG.

SO, YEAH, I CAN EASILY SAY THAT HILL ST. WAS THE FINEST THING I EVER DID ON TV. AND I CAN’T CHECK OUT WITHOUT MENTIONING THE LARGE CAST OF WONDERFUL ACTORS, FROM DAN TRAVANTI ON DOWN. I KNEW THEM ALL, CARED FOR THEM ALL, BUT, AS THE CHIEF, OF COURSE MOST OF MY SCENES INCLUDED CAPTAIN: FURILLO! AND I HAVE TO SAY, LOOKING BACK ON A LONG CAREER, I THINK, WITHOUT ANY DOUBT WHATSOEVER, DAN WAS THE FINEST ACTOR I EVER WORKED WITH.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR APPRECIATION FOR WHAT I THINK, EVEN TODAY, WAS THE FINEST TV SERIES EVER ON THAT SMALL SCREEN IN OUR LIVING ROOMS!AND I WOULD BET ANYTHING THAT EVERY ACTOR THAT HAD THE CHANCE TO WORK ON THAT SHOW WOULD SAY THE SAME THING.

BEST TO ALL, JON CYPHER (AKA CHIEF FLETCHER P. DANIELS)

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