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Meet Richard Dawson
NOT TRYING TO BE ANOTHER RINGO
By: Erskine Johnson
"It's frightening when you are 31," Dawson said on the set of Hogan's Heroes in which he plays British airman Newkirk with a Liverpool-style haircut and a Cockney accent.
But about being compared to McCallum and Ringo as a teen-age heart throb, he says:
"I don't know whether that's better than being last year's Robert Vaughn or not. But I'm really not trying to be another Ringo or anything.
"I had my hair cut this way for Sybil Burton's wedding. I was a bridesmade," he kidded. "Seriously, we deliberately switched Newkirk's accent from Liverpool to Cockney to avoid comparison with the Beatles. Everybody seems to be from Liverpool these days. You know something, I do dialects and I don't even understand some of these characters."
Laughs are the reason for London-born Richard Dawson's presence in the cast of Hogan's Heroes. He is a comedian by trade who has worked in night clubs and made guest appearances on TV shows. But until Hogan's Heroes came along this season, most people had never heard of Richard Dawson. Those who did thought og him as the husband of Diana Dors, the blonde British glamor queen.
Now some people in Hollywood say they are sperated.
Thie he denies, saying Diana is just doing a play in London and that she will eventually return to the Dawson home and brood (two young sons) in Beverly Hills.
Part of Dawson's night club act includes a bit about Boris Karloff showing up on Madison Ave. with an idea for a Dr. Frankestein series and being turned down "because we've had too many doctor series."
Even funnier, though, is a story he tells about his first appearance on stage with a solo comedy act. Until then he had worked as a bit player on a British stage, seldom earning more than $8.40 a week. After deciding to become a comedian, he wrote a letter to a theater manager saying he was a Canadian comic on vacation in England and would like to perform.
When his offer was accepted he memorized a few okes and went to the theater where they asked him if he wanted a rising mike.
"I said I did. Although I didn't know what they were talking about. When I got on the stage and the mike rose out of the floor, I didn't even see it. All I knew was that something was climbing up inside my pants leg and by the time it reached my kneww, I was really fighting the thing. The audience thought it was part of the act, but the manager knew better. He fired me after one performance.