Canadian actress Mimi Kuzyk remembers Steven Bochco's kindness and compromise - InfoNews

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Canadian actress Mimi Kuzyk remembers Steven Bochco's kindness and compromise

Television writer/producer Steven Bochco poses for a portrait at his office in Santa Monica, Calif., on August 17, 2016. "Hill Street Blues" creator Steven Bochco, who died Sunday at the age of 74, built a legacy as a rule-breaker with big network TV dramas. But it's an act of kindness on set that actress Mimi Kuzyk remembers most fondly -- his willing to compromise over her unauthorized perm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Invision - Chris Pizzello
April 03, 2018 - 4:52 AM

TORONTO - "Hill Street Blues" creator Steven Bochco, who died Sunday at the age of 74, built a legacy as a rule-breaker with big network TV dramas.

But it's an act of kindness on set that actress Mimi Kuzyk remembers most fondly — his willing to compromise over her unauthorized perm.

At the time, the Winnipeg-born newcomer was only days into her role on Bochco's breakout 1980s cop series, playing Det. Patsy Mayo, when he called her into his office for a meeting. Bochco had noticed her new hairdo, and wondered why she'd made an executive decision that risked continuity with her character.

As Kuzyk recalls it, after seeing herself on "Hill Street Blues" for the first time she was instantly distracted by what she considered a bad hairstyle. Instead of checking with Bochco she marched into a local salon for a "very different" look.

"He went, 'In the future if you're going to do anything like that, maybe talk to me first,'" she remembers of the writer and producer.

Bochco took a magnanimous approach to the predicament by inserting a line into the script where a co-star acknowledged the new 'do.

"There was no screaming, no reprimands."

The outcome was a relief for the actress who was just making headway in Hollywood. Before the Bochco project, she'd only played bit parts on TV shows "The Littlest Hobo" and "Remington Steele."

It was a fleeting moment, but more than 30 years later Kuzyk hasn't forgotten the kind gesture.

She says it's emblematic of the determined producer who gained a reputation for taking risks on the screen, but was sympathetic to his actors in a way most Hollywood producers weren't.

"He made you feel comfortable and open," she says. "He wouldn't criticize or demean you. You could talk to him about anything."

Kuzyk went on to play the hard-nosed detective on "Hill Street Blues" for two seasons.

But like many of her fellow actors, Kuzyk's working partnership with Bochco stretched years longer. She appeared in guest roles on his other series "L.A. Law," and "Doogie Howser, M.D." as characters he wrote specifically for her.

Other actors from "Hill Street Blues" would find other homes on later Bochco shows, including most famously Dennis Franz who led 1990s cop series "NYPD Blue."

"He was good to his people," she says.

"I wouldn't be where I am today if not for that one man who gave me a chance."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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