15 Fighting Facts About Coach

ABC Television
ABC Television

Before Parenthood, Craig T. Nelson starred as college football coach Hayden Fox on Coach, a sitcom that most people would be surprised to realize ran for nine seasons and 197 episodes, from 1989 through 1997. On the 20th anniversary of the series' finale, we're taking a look back at the original show that started it all.

1. MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY WAS ACTUALLY THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA.

Even though the first seven seasons of Coach were set at the fictitious Minnesota State University, series creator Barry Kemp graduated from the University of Iowa's Department of Theatre Arts, and paid homage to his alma mater by giving his main character a similar name as legendary Iowa football coach Hayden Fry. The exterior shots of the show were from the Iowa campus as well.

2. IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY’S MARCHING BAND PLAYED THE SHOW’S THEME SONG.

John Morris composed the opening number for Coach, which doubled as Minnesota State’s theme song. Iowa State University’s football marching band won a 1995 college marching band contest to have their version of the theme song play on the show, which ran during the opening credits until the end of the series.

3. TWO REAL-LIFE MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITIES POPPED UP AFTER THE SHOW BEGAN.

When Coach premiered on February 28, 1989, Minnesota State University was a fictitious college. In 1998, Mankato State University became Minnesota State University, Mankato. On July 1, 2000, Moorhead State University became Minnesota State University Moorhead.

4. CRAIG T. NELSON THOUGHT ABC HATED HIM.

Craig T. Nelson was persuaded by Barry Kemp to audition for the network. The actor was so convinced that ABC wasn’t enjoying his efforts in their initial meeting that he left early. To his surprise, they offered him the part the very next day.

5. JERRY VAN DYKE AND NELSON HAD TO WORK ON THEIR CHEMISTRY.

In an interview with Popdose, Jerry Van Dyke, who played defensive coordinator Luther Van Dam, said that he and Nelson had to work on finding their chemistry when the show began. Though he says that they've remained friends and talk all the time, Van Dyke admitted that Nelson was "not easy to get along with" and that "he's pretty much a loner."

6. IT WAS JERRY VAN DYKE’S FIRST SUCCESSFUL TV SHOW, AT THE AGE OF 57.

Van Dyke had previously—and infamously—starred on the one-season sitcom My Mother the Car in 1965, which TV Guide ranked as the second worst television show of all-time in 2002. Kemp specifically wrote the part of Luther Van Dam for the actor because of his “everyman quality.”

7. DICK VAN DYKE MADE AN UNCREDITED APPEARANCE ON THE SHOW.

It had to happen sooner or later. In 1993, during the show's sixth season, Jerry Van Dyke's brother, Dick, appeared on the show as a partygoer who walks across the screen when Luther insists that he can’t be related to anyone at his family reunion in “Christmas of the Van Damned.”

8. CHRISTINE ARMSTRONG WAS A REGULAR IN ELVIS PRESLEY MOVIES.

Actress Shelley Fabares, who played Hayden Fox’s girlfriend-turned-wife on the series, co-starred with The King in Girl Happy, Spinout, and Clambake.

9. CHRISTINE ARMSTRONG ALSO SANG A NUMBER ONE SONG.

Fabares sang “Johnny Angel,” which was the number one song for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1962.

10. CLARE CAREY GOT THE ROLE OF COACH’S DAUGHTER BECAUSE SHE WAS THE MOST BELIEVABLE MIDWESTERNER.

Clare Carey, who played Hayden's daughter Kelly, was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in Santa Barbara, California. But in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Carey said that what got her the role was that, "They thought I was the most believable Midwesterner!"

11. DAUBER’S FIRST NAME WAS MICHAEL.

Coach's Michael Daubinksy was usually only referred to by his nickname, "Dauber." In one episode, even Hayden didn’t know who Michael Daubinsky’s girlfriend was speaking of when she referred to him by his given name.

12. DAUBER IS THE VOICE OF PATRICK ON SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS.

Bill Fagerbakke’s run as Offensive Coordinator Dauber ended in 1997, the same year that he successfully auditioned to voice Patrick Star on SpongeBob SquarePants. For the first few years of SpongeBob, he referred to Patrick as “AquaDauber.”

13. SHOWRUNNERS BEGRUDGINGLY AGREED TO TAKE PART IN AN ABC CROSSOVER STUNT IN ITS FINAL SEASON.

Competing with the 39th Annual Grammy Awards on February 26, 1997, ABC had characters from The Drew Carey Show, Ellen, Grace Under Fire, and Coach meet each other in Las Vegas on a night called “Viva Las Vegas.” Craig T. Nelson refused to take part, so Luther ended up on The Drew Carey Show getting into a bidding war with Mimi in Sin City. (For what it’s worth, Ellen DeGeneres also refused to take part.) The title of that night’s installment of Coach was “Viva Las Ratings.”

14. THE SERIES FINALE OF COACH REFERRED TO A CLASSIC SHOW WITH ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS SERIES ENDINGS OF ALL TIME.

In “Leaving Orlando,” Hayden return to Minnesota to find three brothers—Larry, Darryl, and Darryl—in his cabin. Yes, the same Larry, Darryl, and Darryl from Newhart, which was also created by Barry Kemp.

15. NELSON, VAN DYKE, AND FAGERBAKKE REUNITED ON TV IN 2004.

Nelson played police chief Jack Mannion on the CBS drama The District, which was on the air from 2000 to 2004. In “The Black Widow Maker,” Van Dyke played what he described as a “cranky and brusque” small-town judge, while Fagerbakke played a kindly officer who was described in the script as “better suited to being a florist.” Though, in 2015, it was announced that a reboot of the show would be coming back to screens, plans to resurrect Coach were eventually scrapped.

Orson Welles's Former Hollywood Hills Estate Is Taking Vacation Reservations

Fred Mott, Getty Images
Fred Mott, Getty Images

Orson Welles's former Hollywood Hills estate is a perfect place to get away from society, grow a bushy beard, and brood over a bottle of whiskey.

Interested? The late Hollywood icon's 3000-square-foot home is available to rent for about $755 a night through HomeAway. The house, which sits on its own private 15,000-square-foot knoll, was home to Welles at the very beginning of his career and is where he wrote the screenplay for 1941's Citizen Kane. Bring along your typewriter and try to channel some of his greatness.

Quite a few other celebrities have inhabited the house as well, including Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and David Bowie. Features of the grand four-bedroom mansion—built in 1928—include a lagoon pool, Jacuzzi, deck, and both canyon and city views.

There's never been a better time to rent Welles's abode: his final film, The Other Side of the Wind, is set to premiere at this month's Venice Film Festival before arriving on Netflix. The unfinished flick, which was shot intermittently between 1970 and 1976, has been completed and restored for its much-anticipated release. (Of course the mansion has plenty of TVs for your viewing pleasure.)

The property has a three- to five-night stay minimum, depending on the season. For more pictures, see below or head to HomeAway. And since you're already in vacation-planning mode, another creative celebrity abode to consider is F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's Montgomery, Alabama home, which is available to rent via Airbnb.

Orson Welles' house
Courtesy of HomeAway

Orson Welles mansion
Courtesy of HomeAway

Orson Welles' former home
Courtesy of HomeAway

Orson Welles' former home
Courtesy of HomeAway

Orson Welles' former home
Courtesy of HomeAway

10 Things You Might Not Know About Robert De Niro

RALPH GATTI, AFP/Getty Images
RALPH GATTI, AFP/Getty Images

Robert De Niro is part of the pantheon of independent-minded filmmakers who cut through Hollywood noise in the 1970s with edgier fare to create what became known as “The New Hollywood.” Following stints with Brian De Palma and Roger Corman, De Niro teamed up with Martin Scorsese for the first time with 1973's Mean Streets, which launched a fruitful artistic collaboration that has produced some of the best movies of the past half-century.

Even after his shift into commercial comedies like Meet the Parents, “dedication” has remained De Niro’s watchword. The two-time Oscar winner has earned Hollywood legend status with panache and bone-deep portrayals. Here are 10 facts about the filmmaker on his 75th birthday. (Yes, we’re talkin’ to you.)

1. HIS FIRST ROLE WAS IN A STAGING OF THE WIZARD OF OZ—AT AGE 10.

Robert De Niro got bit by the acting bug early. He threatened to thrash a hippopotamus from top to bottom-us as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz at the tender age of 10. (This is the remake and casting the world needs right now.)

2. HE DROPPED OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL TO PURSUE ACTING.

Robert De Niro arrives at the UK premiere of epic war drama film 'The Deer Hunter', UK, 28th February 1979
John Minihan, Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

De Niro’s mother, Virginia Admiral, was a painter whose work was part of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and his father, Robert De Niro, Sr., was a celebrated abstract expressionist painter. So the apple falling into drama school instead of the art studio still isn’t that far from the tree. Having already gotten a youthful dose of stage life, De Niro quit his private high school to try to become an actor. He first went to the nonprofit HB Studio before studying under Stella Adler and, later, The Actors Studio.

3. HE’S A DUAL CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES AND ITALY.

De Niro is American, Italian-American, and, as of 2004, Italian. The country bestowed honorary citizenship upon De Niro as an honor in recognition of his career, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing to the passport office. A group called the Order of the Sons of Italy in America strongly protested the Italian government’s plan due to De Niro’s frequent portrayal of negative Italian-American stereotypes.

4. HE GAINED 60 POUNDS FOR RAGING BULL.

Preparing to play the misfortune-laden boxing champ Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull required two major things from De Niro: training and gaining. For the latter, De Niro ate his way through Europe during a four-month binge of ice cream and pasta. His 60-pound-gain was dramatic enough that it concerned Martin Scorsese. It was one way to show dedication to a role, but the training element was even more impressive. De Niro got so good at boxing that when LaMotta set up several professional-level sparring bouts for the actor, De Niro won two of them.

5. HE AND MARLON BRANDO ARE THE ONLY ACTORS TO WIN OSCARS FOR PLAYING THE SAME CHARACTER.

De Niro won his first Oscar in 1975 for The Godfather: Part II, for portraying the younger version of Vito Corleone—the wizened capo played by Marlon Brando, who also won an Oscar for the role (Brando’s came in 1973, for The Godfather). No other pair of actors has managed the feat, although Jeff Bridges came close in 2010 when he was nominated for playing Rooster Cogburn in Joel and Ethan Coen's True Grit (a role originated by John Wayne in Henry Hathaway’s 1969 movie of the same name). Oddly enough, Bridges was in contention for the role of Travis Bickle, the role that earned De Niro his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

6. HE DROVE A CAB TO PREPARE FOR TAXI DRIVER.

If you’re looking for commitment to a role, ask Hack #265216. De Niro got a taxicab driver’s license to study up to play Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver and spent several weekends cruising around New York City picking up fares. It’s possible that having his teeth filed down for Cape Fear is the most intense transformation he’s undergone for a role, but picking up a part-time job to live the lonely life of Bickle is more humane.

7. ONE OF HIS FILMS POSTPONED ONE OF HIS OSCAR WINS.

The 53rd Academy Awards—where De Niro won for playing Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull—were originally scheduled for March 30, 1981 but were postponed until the following day because of an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. The would-be assassin, John Hinckley, Jr., claimed the attack was intended to impress Jodie Foster, who Hinckley grew obsessed with after watching Taxi Driver.

8. HE LAUNCHED THE TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL IN THE WAKE OF 9/11.

Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal speak onstage at the 'Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives' Premiere during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City
Theo Wargo, Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Producer Jane Rosenthal, philanthropist Craig M. Hatkoff, and De Niro founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2001 as a showcase for independent films that would hopefully “spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan” after the devastation of the 9/11 terror attacks. With its empire state of mind, the inaugural festival in 2002 featured a “Best of New York Series” handpicked by Martin Scorsese and drew an astonishing 150,000 attendees.

9. HE WAS ONCE INTERROGATED BY FRENCH POLICE CONCERNING A PROSTITUTION RING.

One of the most bizarre chapters in De Niro’s life came when he was publicly named in the investigation of a prostitution ring in Paris. The 1998 incident included a lengthy interrogation session (De Niro filed an official complaint) and a pile of paparazzi waiting for him when he left the prosecutor’s office. De Niro railed against the entire country, vowing to return his Legion of Honour and telling Le Monde newspaper that, "I will never return to France. I will advise my friends against going to France.” (He had cooled off enough by 2011 to act as the Cannes Film Festival’s jury president.)

10. HE LOVED THE CAT(S) IN MEET THE PARENTS.

Meet the Parents’s Mr. Jinx (Jinxy!) was played by two Himalayans named Bailey and Misha, and De Niro fell in love with them. He played with them between scenes, kept kibble in his pocket for them, and asked director Jay Roach to have Mr. Jinx in as many scenes as possible.

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