I really liked your truck on the show. Was it a GMC or Chevy? Did you drive it away from the set?
GMC – No I did not take it home as it was not in the best of shape even though it filmed well. LOL. I did race a Class 8 Ford Pick up in many races like the Baja 1000, Frontier 500 and such. We placed 4th in Baja.
I have two questions for you: first, aside from the character Jon Baker, what was your favorite role to play, and which role felt the most natural to you?
I had “moments” of indulgence with a lot of my characters. For example in the movie the Last Hard Men, I enjoyed the symbolism and my idea of the character nursing his peppermint sticks; on McGyver I enjoyed a few seconds of a scene where you see the deep and dark side of the character; in Dirty Dozen I liked the opening scene with Lee Marvin where I was playing make believe baseball; and on and on…. However, the most natural were roles that did not demand a lot of highs and lows but simply required a steady beat….like Lassie and CHIPS. Those roles were more Larry Wilcox ..
Second, in the instances when you directed episodes of CHiPs, did you have more freedom to make the character your own?
No, the character was set and there was no room for freedom. There was a need for an expansion of the depth of the character and his passions. However, he was the straight man and you could not start writing a bunch of drama for a straight man….as that is what made Ponch funny and entertaining and would have been a conflict. A straight man is a very hard character to write for…..and one that the actor has to understand he is a true ROLE PLAYER.
Thanks for taking the time to answer questions from your many curious fans!
Dear Mr. Larry,
My name is Miryam (said like Miriam in the Bible). I’m sixteen years old, and recently became an avid fan of CHiPs this March. My family has been going through a really rough time, and I really enjoy this show as good, clean, fun entertainment, and as something to escape to for positive, happy feelings when things aren’t going so good. I found out you directed Ride the Whirlwind and was impressed by the cinematography. Most of the episodes I’d seen hadn’t been shot quite that cool. That said, here is my actual question: I read somewhere here that you felt your character should’ve or could’ve had more development. What were some positive things about “Jon” that you enjoyed? As a viewer, I really love Jon on the whole; I think he’s awesome!
Thanks for everything, 7Mary3!
Miryam Elizabeth Gabriel
Ahhh Miryam…..it saddens me that you are going through hard times and I hope you join us on our chats at larrywilcox.net from time to time. Perhaps our family of fans and friends can help you all. My prayers!
I liked Jon’s responsibility as a human who helps or helped nurture mankind. I liked that Jon represented integrity and was a mentor for people who questioned their own choices from time to time. Jon genuinely cared about people, about their faith and their hope in a solution. I think Jon was good and a believer. Jon recognized that we are all vulnerable and that we all need to be carried from time to time and that does not mean we should get a headline in a newspaper but we should give a HUG to someone. Life is simple….love while you are here. Jon was humble but confident….he made more deposits than withdrawls…..Jon had a kind eye! Hope than answers your questions. Larry
My name is Courtney and I have been a fan of yours since I was about 14 years old. I loved getting up early to watch CHiPs before I went to school. I have a few questions. Do you have any advice for someone toying with idea of pursuing a motorcycle endorsement? I grew up around motorcycles (my parents both ride) and riding ATV’s in South Western Missouri and have always wanted to get my endorsement but have always been a little bit pensive about it. I know you served in the Marines and im thankful for your service but do you ever wish you had made it a career? My husband is currently a Staff Sgt in the army and we are stationed in Texas and I was honorable discharged from the army in 2007 following an injury. My final question is do you ever wish things had gone differently with the show? Maybe things worked out and you stayed on for season 6? Thank you in advance for reading my email and I wish you the best in everything that you do. You’re a great role model and a good person!
(San Antonio, TX)
I am not sure what you mean by endorsement……do you mean license? Honestly, I do not want my children to ever ride motorcycles except dirt bikes….way too dangerous. However, I do enjoy them. Contradiction….yes. Selfish….perhaps.
When I joined the Marines I thought I had joined the best. Boot Camp was brutal and the physical and emotional abuse was a daily menu……and it was ugly and painful. Preparing a Marine for war was in retrospect, an ugly business. I was chosen to go to Officer Candidate School in Quantico Va but they told me I would have to re enlist for 6 years. That was a deal breaker after bootcamp….and I said no thanks. I am so glad I did not make a career out of it. However, if I could have been a fighter pilot I would have made it a career.
I wish we could have continued doing CHIPS for 20 years but the “forces” were diabolical and battling in the background behind my back. It was time to leave.
Your website and fan page are so cool. Thank you for having a place for fans to connect and share their love of CHiPs. If you don’t mind saying, how did you and Sue meet? I think it’s amazing that a fan and actor can become such good friends, especially in a business where trusting people can be so risky (My aunt is a make up artist in the industry and has heard and seen it all!). Please tell us about her, because we fans love her and all she’s done and I am sure you do too. Also, if you had it all to do again, would you still have become an actor? Thank you for all the years of great TV-hope to see you on the big or small screen again sometime!
As you well know Sue does the websites and has been a generous and courageous support team member…my third daughter of sorts. She is a quiet person and we met when chips was doing a promotion of one of our shows, I think in NYC. She was awestruck and was visibly shaking, and I felt for her and her anxiety over it all. She has come to know all of the cast members and gives to all of them is subtle and special ways that they may or may not recognize…..but I do. She has a simple life and is a talented young lady who deserves to flourish and who was held back by certain parental scars and obstacles. She is a blossoming flower….smiling and searching for the love from manking that she deserved long ago. Her husband loves her and they seem to be growing and having fun together. I am so grateful for ALL she has done with such dire loyalty. Sue enjoys giving. The layers of Sue cover the GOLD Gem inside….and over time if you are her loyal friend, you get to peek at a little girl who is SPECIAL and was made delicately by GOD. She…..is a beautiful Easter Egg that should be handled with a gentle soul. She is also a good writer as I refer to her as Miss Steinbeck, because John Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors.
I was so lucky to become an actor as I was about to fall off an abyss. I had just returned from Vietnam and was studying to be a Dentist. I have no manual dexterity and I would have been a terrible dentist but luckily (fate) dealt me some acting jobs and I was a natural. I got so many jobs it was crazy….and then I studied acting with all the good coaches and became what I thought was an ARTISTE…..LOL. So yes, I am happy I became an actor….because it was one enormous spring board and who knows what devastation I would have created if I had continued the trek of Dentistry. Yuk! Larry
Have you ever taken your kids to work with you? If so, was it a regular thing, and what did they think of it?
I have taken all of them to work with me at one time or another. I did a movie with my son Derek and that was a blast for me and a great memory (Last Ride of the Dalton Gang). I also had Heidi and Wendy do some stuff with me including CHiPs. Ryan and Chad came to the Chips Re-union and they were little boys so they had fun and had fun buying me as an action figure. But honestly, they all do not really care….it was fun, it was fast and at times it was cruel. I think it can be an enormous burden for kids of Celebrities and is baggage they do not need. However, they either find a solution, or they do not. Larry
I’ve always wondered, how did they decide whether you guys wore the short sleeved uniform shirts or the long sleeved?
Ocean City, MD
Shelly Levine and his brother Daryl Levine were the wardrobe people and I think it depended on the script or the weather that day. Not sure. Larry
Do you still have family in Wyoming, or have you had a chance to go back to visit with old friends?
Chris from Missouri
Chris…yes family are still in Wyoming….limited amount. I used to go back to Wyoming once in a while but it is very depressing for me to reach the state line. The buildings, the voice of the plains, the weather, the vacuum of sounds, perspectives, my memories, and the indigenous attitudes all create a discordant anxiety that tears at my soul,. I smile but the denial is not thick enough that it can entice me to stay long. The alarm builds with time.
Yes I get to see an old friend from time to time….but I know he or she live in Wyoming….and there is a practicality in so much that emanates from them……and at times I realize I am no longer part of the culture and so there is a subtle beacon that warns me to be discrete, quiet, and to make sure I do not over stay my welcome at a local saloon, whorehouse, pool hall, greasy spoon café, the river, the hot pools, or other such meeting places. Hard to go home as they say! I deeply respect the people as they have endured so much from the eastern Rocky Mountain slope weather to the harsh candor of brisk slap……..some physically abusive and some emotionally abusive. Hmmm… Larry
If CHiPs was remade as a new series like Hawaii 5-0 was, would you reprise your role of Jon Baker if asked? Personally, I’d love to see CHiPs come back as animated series. You guys are still around to do the voices and you could all be young and patrolling the freeways forever!
I have often thought the exact thing….but Warner Bros is not going to allow such unless you have a lot of money to put down.
You seem to be pretty tech savvy. What are your favorite gadgets?
San Francisco, CA
Today gadgets are APPS…..so I love apps. But my good friend Sean Tabatabai has created my favorite software which is ENABLEDWARE. Finally a rule based digitial distribution tool for any and all sectors of industry….entertainment, govt, health, banking, education, etc…..so very cool.
I like to be in the desert with GPS Garmain stuff….I like the heart and pulse and blood pressur tracking software; I like SalesForce.com; I like the DSLR cameras and all the new devices that make them phenoms……I like the gyro devices for the new remote controlled helicopters….and would like to have one with a weapon system….LOL. I would like to have a hybrid….part jet and part car……that would get me started. Larry
What was more fun for you, riding horses or motorcycles?
HORSES for sure….rodeos and cutting horses were very adrenalin sports….and the horses became my friends and at times…..confidant.
The motorcycles appealed to my punk immortality and adrenal needs….and were perhaps an extension of my young ego. However, today I like to ride motorcycles and simply have a compass, access to some fuel for emergency and some water….and just go exploring. Actually that brings me to my most favorite vehicle of all time…..my plane. I love flying and loved flying alone and just buzzing canyons and river beds and surfers….it was so much fun, so exhilarating….and always welcomed a good short field landing, pitch my cockpit back…singing to myself….putting my plane away in my hangar…and going home to celebrate another lucky day of my life with a Pacifico or Corona…….man have I been lucky. Larry
Want to send a question to Larry? Whether it’s something you’ve been dying to know about CHiPs , life as a celebrity, life advice or anything in between, your questions are welcome! He loves hearing from fans and is happy to answer! Send your questions to him at AskLarry@larrywilcox.net. Letters may be edited for typos and to fit available space. He regrets that he can not send private replies and asks that autograph requests be sent via the fan mail address only.