Angus MacGyver is one of the craftiest and wittiest action heroes to come out of the 1980s.
While most action stars were buff men with powerful wartime weapons, MacGyver was so resourceful that he chose to never use a gun and showed his fans the importance of using your surroundings over a weapon.
MacGyver ran from 1985 and suddenly ended in 1992, much to the dismay of fans from around the world.
Why Was MacGyver Cancelled?
MacGyver was originally canceled because the general public had grown tired of the long-running television show, and even Richard Dean Anderson was growing tired of his most famous role.
After nearly a decade of thinking his way out of dangerous situations, many of the minds behind MacGyver were emotionally and physically exhausted.
By the late 1990s, it seemed that the fans had moved on to other shows.
When the hit television show was taken off the air, it was only shortly after its heyday.
This allowed it to leave fans wanting more rather than having the show overstay its welcome.
Although MacGyver may have left too soon for some fans, the show’s impact can be felt all over the world.
During the height of the show’s popularity in the 1980s, Thai people began calling Swiss Army knives “the MacGyver tool.”
Brazilian fans were treated to Canadian progressive rock band Rush’s hit song Tom Sawyer as the introduction for the show.
Although the story may have focused on an American secret agent, international and local fans alike waited each week to see how Angus MacGyver would weasel his way out of the next evil plan of his nemesis of the week.
The production team behind MacGyver was aware of how frequently children would watch the show with their parents, so they made sure to never show the complete steps to any of MacGyver’s processes to prevent children from trying his tactics at home.
It was important that children didn’t replicate what they saw in the action show because it was all based on scientific fact.
Unless these steps were done by a professional, the person trying to replicate the steps could get seriously injured.
The original series may have ended before fans wanted it to, but the reboot couldn’t end soon enough.
Why Was The MacGyver Reboot Canceled?
The MacGyver reboot was canceled after five seasons due to the toxic work environment created by executive producer Peter M. Lenkov, which resulted in CBS terminating its relationship with the executive producer.
Lucas Till was the new actor to take on the famous role of Angus MacGyver, but the constant abuse that Till endured while playing the role was completely inexcusable and unprofessional.
During his time as MacGyver, Till was allegedly bullied, verbally abused, and body-shamed by the executives behind the show.
In a report to CBS’s Human Resource Department, Till explained that Lenkov could always find something to complain about when it came to the actor’s appearance.
While Till was wearing a hospital gown, Lenkov once called Till’s legs “f-cking hideous” and demanded that his legs stay covered up from that point on.
Due to the intense stress that Till was constantly under, he was losing weight faster than he could keep it.
Lenkov told the actor that he needed to maintain “man weight” to prevent him from looking like a young boy.
When the report first came out, a representative for Lenkov denied all allegations of slander.
After his firing, his representative claimed that the executive producer had no clue he was being abusive.
After a year of working under Lenkov, Lucas Till became suicidal.
The young actor was ready to endure the torment if he had been the only one experiencing it, but Lenkov was abusive towards nearly every person on that set, and Till was not willing to stand for it silently.
Despite the abuse that the crew endured, none of them felt ill will towards one another, and the crew had grown incredibly close to each other.
Till felt that he had made lifelong friends that he would always see as close as family.
What Did The Old MacGyver Think Of The Reboot?
Richard Dean Anderson, who was the original Angus MacGyver, didn’t feel that the MacGyver reboot lived up to what the franchise once was and didn’t want any part in its production.
Having always been known for speaking freely when it comes to his hit series, Anderson was quick to point out that the reboot of MacGyver lacked the attributes that made the original show so iconic and successful.
The production team behind the CBS reboot had approached Anderson early in the testing stage, but the show had been promising with the test groups before Anderson even saw the product.
When the production team saw that the reboot wasn’t going to pull in the amount of interest they were hoping for, they hoped that they could rope Anderson into the show to bring more classic MacGyver fans in.
After seeing what became of the CBS MacGyver reboot, Richard Dean Anderson was relieved that he never had anything to do with it.
The pilot for the show had been decently successful, but the show underwent a major creative overhaul before the first season of the reboot was released.
The overhaul was so drastic that the only cast members to remain from the pilot were Lucas Till and George Eads.
Although the executive behind the reboot felt that it was a good idea, those like Anderson, who knew the franchise the best, saw the show’s failure coming before it even aired.
Although Richard Dean Anderson is extremely passionate about the MacGyver franchise, he also understands that he doesn’t own it and those who own it are free to do whatever they want with it.
However, Anderson felt that the production team behind the reboot could never have continued the series without sacrificing the authenticity of the storyline and character personalities.
What Is The Old MacGyver Up To Nowadays?
Richard Dean Anderson has stepped away from the public eye over the past 10 years, choosing to focus on his personal life.
The last time the actor was seen by the paparazzi was only eight days before his 72nd birthday.
Anderson has been enjoying the Malibu lifestyle, even if it means getting photos taken of himself while just trying to grab some groceries.
Before this spotting, the last time that the public eye had seen the MacGyver star was during another grocery run over a decade ago.
Richard Dean Anderson was married to actress Apryl A. Prose, and together, they had Anderson’s only child, Wylie Anderson.
The couple eventually got divorced after being married for seven years.
Anderson spends most of his time between his homes in Minnesota, Vancouver, and Los Angeles.
One of the last publications that Anderson did was for Architectural Digest after the actor designed and helped build his own home in June of 2009.
When Anderson created his California home, he wanted to bring the rustic feeling of Minnesota homes to his new coastal home state.
Anderson also wanted a home that suited his love of the outdoors, which led him and his design team to lean heavily into the alfresco style.
The living room is 1,000-square feet alone and features oversized furniture, Tibetan rugs, and a collection of antiques unique to the actor’s interests.
His daughter, who was 10 years old at the time, played a major part in designing her bedroom.
Although Anderson wanted a refined style to his home that would show his hobbies, interests, and lifestyle, Anderson also wanted to avoid decor that could be seen as elegant or even stuffy.
As a single father who loved playing hockey in his living room, his home is practical and refined.
How Did “MacGyver” Become A Verb?
MacGyver became a verb when it was added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2015.
If someone were to MacGyver their way out of a situation, it would mean that the person used resourceful or normally unthinkable tactics to solve their problem.
The verb MacGyver can be used in the past tense.
If you used two popsicle sticks and some duct tape to make a cast for a wounded finger, you MacGyvered yourself a splint.
Although MacGyver may not have been in the Oxford Dictionary as a verb until the late 2010s, people have been using it as a verb for decades.
MacGyver has been used as more than just a verb as it can also be used as an adjective to describe someone.
In 2003, the Urban Dictionary described Macgyver as “Someone who can jump-start a truck with a cactus.” The Oxford Dictionary provides a more professional look at the term MacGyver, stating that it is to “Make or repair in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand.”
The term MacGyver is better known among younger generations than the actual show, which has allowed the franchise’s lesson of the importance of resourcefulness to live on.
Although younger generations may not know who Angus MacGyver or Richard Dean Anderson was, they know that being resourceful is the MacGyver way.
Did Dana Elcar Actually Go Blind During MacGyver?
Yes, Dana Elcar was going blind during the filming of MacGyver.
Although Elcar was acting at a time when developing a disability could cost an actor their career, the writers behind the show were eager to write Elcar’s disability into his character.
Dana Elcar played Peter Thornton, Angus MacGyver’s best friend and boss at the Phoenix Foundation.
Elcar had been a cast member from the very beginning of the show and no one had any plans of parting with him after he began to develop glaucoma in 1991.
Rather than try to cover up his newly developed disability, Elcar was able to embrace it and allow him to show the world what blind actors were capable of.
When the actor had eye surgery, they used actual clips from his surgery in the episode “Hind-Sight.”
During a speech in 1991 to the National Federation of the Blind, Elcar reminded the public that “the fact that you lose your eyesight does not mean you have forgotten how to act.”
Elcar would go on to play many blind characters not only on television but in theater as well.
Dana Elcar was best known for his roles on MacGyver, The Magic School Bus, ER, and Law & Order.
He was known for portraying Vladimir in the theatrical production of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett and was a cast member for the first American productions of Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter and The Caretaker.
When Elcar passed away from pneumonia at the age of 77, Richard Dean Anderson was quick to reminisce about his old friend and co-star.
From Anderson’s perspective, Dana Elcar was such a good actor and friend that it made their on-screen friendship feel like not even acting.
Elcar was also known for films such as The Learning Tree.
The Cast Members Who Wrote Music For The Show
Many members of the original MacGyver cast look back on their time filming the iconic show fondly, despite how tired they were by the end of the show’s run.
It was not just a show that allowed actors to jump-start their careers, but it was also a show where the cast felt comfortable giving all of their effort and skills.
During the episode “The Negotiator,” MacGyver is seen playing a gentle song on the guitar.
Richard Dean Anderson actually wrote this song and called it Eau d’Leo.
Anderson actually had a rock band in the early 1970s called Ricky Dean and Dante.
The band consisted of the actor and Carl Dante, who was also the leader of the Carl Dante Band.
Although Ricky Dean and Dante may have never caught on, Anderson was never worried about his music gaining popularity.
He claimed that he created the band and his music for himself.
Despite his low expectations, Anderson’s band was known for playing at parties around Hollywood, like the rock party at Flippers Roller Boogie Palace.
Richard Dean Anderson wasn’t the only actor who got to add his own musical flair to MacGyver.
The actor behind MacGyver’s arch-nemesis Murdoc, Michael Des Barres was far better known for his musical career.
Des Barres was the one who wrote the music number for the season 4 episode, “Cleo Rocks,” featuring Teri Hatcher.
When he wasn’t portraying the evil Murdoc, Michael Des Barres was touring as the singer for The Power Station, the spin-off band from Duran Duran.
Des Barres was also a member of the British-American rock supergroup Chequered Past, which featured Blondie and The Sex Pistols.
After suffering from drug addiction and going sober in 1981, he helped form the anti-drug organization Rock Against Drugs to warn rock fans about the risks with drugs.
Did Richard Dean Anderson Do His Own Stunts?
Yes, Richard Dean Anderson did the majority of his own stunts while he starred in MacGyver.
However, the production team was quick to stop him from doing more dangerous stunts on his own because they didn’t want to lose their main star.
Even when Anderson wasn’t filming MacGyver, he was always after a good thrill.
As an adult, he enjoyed hobbies such as skydiving, ski racing, and going for rocky rides on his dirt bike.
The actor’s love of thrill-seeking began when he was playing hockey as a teenager and worshipping Grand Prix driver, Sterling Moss.
Before becoming the most resourceful action hero of the 1980s, young Richard Dean Anderson dreamed of growing up to become a professional hockey player.
This dream ended during his grade school years when he shattered both of his arms at his local ice rink in Minnesota.
However, his artist mother and English teacher father were eager to support their son’s other interests.
Anderson allowed a lot of himself to influence who Angus MacGyver was as a person.
Rather than allowing the reason that MacGyver never uses guns to be that he’s simply too crafty for them, Anderson gave MacGyver a fear of guns because of his own distaste for powerful firearms.
The hint of mischief that can be seen in Angus MacGyver was inspired by Anderson’s youthful mischief that often led him to problems where he needed to think on his feet and be resourceful enough to make it out alive.