Fans have, for a long time, always associated actors with their best known roles. Often times, fans believe that actor is really like the character they portray. There are times when characteristics are shared between the actor and character he or she may represent, but more times than not, they really are just playing a role.
When the character is Howling Mad Murdock from the Eighties hit show The A-Team, it's good to know Murdock's actor, Dwight Schultz, isn't the person he portrayed in the show. That doesn't mean it didn't disappoint fans, however.
According to a 1984 article in The Pittsburgh Press newspaper, Schultz would get nervous that fans wouldn't be super excited to see him, once they saw the real him.
"People are so disappointed when they meet me," Schultz said. "I sometimes tremble when I have to meet people in person because I know they'll be disappointed."
The only reason they were disappointed in real life, is because the character of Howling Mad was so enjoyable on TV. There was no possible way to tell what version of Howling Mad you were going to get from one episode of The A-Team to the next.
Some episodes he would swoop in with his stolen plane and save the day. Other times he would crash-land in the middle of a forrest. One thing is for certain, Schultz lived up to the character's name with every episode. No matter what Howling Mad was doing, Schultz would feel the ramifications in real life with some funny fan interactions.
"People cluck at me and flap their arms up and down. Most adults say 'We know you're not really crazy,' but they're still disappointed when I don't behave like Murdock."
Schultz added just because his character is so eccentric, doesn't mean he's the only actor that has faced this issue.
"It's the age-old actor's dilemma," he said in the article. "You don't want to be typecast and if you carry that on-camera personality over into your real life, you've dug a hole for yourself. But when you don't behave like the character, you aren't living up to what they expect of you."
The actor added the character isn't made for a specific demographic. He says Murdock can make an impression on everyone.
"I think the appeal is the same for both kids and adults. Murdock is extremely free. He says and does what he wants to without worrying about what the neighbors will say. People write to me and say, 'That's what I've always wanted to do.'"
As for the decades-old question, is Murdock really crazy, or does he put it on for the A-Team's benefit, Schultz gives the perfect actor response.
"That's the essence of Murdock - you never know for sure whether he's pulling your leg or whether he's really crazy."
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