Of all Hector Elizondo’s TV shows and movies, does he have a favorite?
—Meg Backus, Berlin, Conn.
Despite the fact that the “Last Man Standing” star, 76, is best known for his roles in the movies “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries,” as well as the TV show “Chicago Hope,” for which he won an Emmy Award, Elizondo’s favorite performance goes all the way back to 1970, when he played God in an off-Broadway production of “Steambath.”
“That was a very seminal experience, one I almost turned down,” says the native New Yorker, who earned an Obie Award for the role. “I assiduously tried not to do that play, and that is what happens. It turned out to be a best experience.”
The recognition Elizondo received as a result of “Steambath” led to a great many other roles. His film credits include “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three,” “American Gigolo,” “Young Doctors in Love,” “Nothing in Common,” “The Flamingo Kid,” “Runaway Bride,” “Tortilla Soup,” “Music Within” and “Love in the Time of Cholera.”
His long list of TV credits include “Mrs. Cage” for PBS’s “American Playhouse,” “Cane,” and guest starring roles on “Colombo,” “All in the Family,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Kojak” and “The West Wing.” His more recent guest appearances include recurring roles on “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Monk,” before landing the role of Ed on “Last Man Standing.”
“I approach comedy much more seriously than drama because it is hard to do,” says Elizondo, who became a celebrity spokesperson for The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America after his mother was diagnosed with the disease. “It is hard to make it look easy. In drama, you could have the flu and make it look easy—unless you have a chase scene. In comedy, you have to be at the top of your game. Your energy has to be high and you have to be sharp.”