John O'Hurley

CP: I have to admit that when I was reading your books, it was really hard to not hear them in J. Peterman's voice. Has it been hard to get away from such an iconic character?

JO: Gosh, not at all. I do so many different things from hosting and writing to composing and there are so many other things. I enjoy that character. I enjoy the caricature of him that I use as a figure in advertising and commercials now, and occasionally a character will pop up, like I'm doing King Arthur in Monty Python's Spamalot, and I see a lot of similarities between J. Peterman and King Arthur, and they're both raving lunatics but in kind of a Mr. Magoo kind of way.

CP: You’re both obviously a writer and an actor among many other things. How do those two art forms specifically--writing and acting--speak to each other or not speak to each other?

JO: I enjoy both because I enjoy great words so I enjoy interpreting great words, great writing. I enjoy that and being able to put it in a palatable sense, to use my speaking voice and my abilities as an actor, but it’s not original, which makes writing so much more enjoyable to me because I truly am creating something that’s intensely personal. When someone has written something and they give it to me, it is really their ideas that I’m bringing to life using what I have. So they’re two completely different experiences, both very affecting. I enjoy the writing in terms of how deeply it affects me because it’s my view of things and it draws the line that you actually have to have an opinion on things. You have to have a worldview on things to write.

CP: You are currently the host of Family Feud. Even though there have been a number of hosts between you and Richard Dawson, was it difficult to fill his shoes?

JO: Not at all. I don't really think about who's done it before. I really just kind of take my stride. I just kind of enjoy it. To me it's a big cocktail party, and it's like I'm hosting two families in my home and let's play a game. That's the only way I look at it. I was actually a contestant on Family Feud when Richard Dawson was hosting it back in 1987. What I remember mostly about it was looking at him and thinking to myself, "This is a pretty good gig." And then here I am, 20 years later, and the show is mine now.

CP: How did you do when you were a contestant on the show?

JO: It was the male soap stars against the female soap stars. I think we won and it went to a charity. As I say, I don’t remember much about the game other than watching him and thinking it was a pretty good gig.

CP: Were you a dancer before you did Dancing With the Star?

JO: Never. Charlotte Jorgensen my partner had to tie my shoes the first time we went on.

CP: Now do you still find time to dance?

JO: I do. I certainly do remember a lot of what I did, especially the smoother styles. I am in Spamalot and I am dancing in that show, albeit as King Arthur.

CP: Do you go dancing with your wife?

JO: We haven’t had much of a chance to. I’ve worked pretty much every single night since Dancing With the Stars doing something. We live in an airplane 300 days a year.

CP: So, your family gets to travel with you?

JO: They do travel with me. I’m in New York right now standing outside of FAO Schwartz and my son has just gone inside for the first time and is seeing the worlds of toys for the first time.

CP: Does your dog get to travel with you also?

JO: When, there are two dogs--Betty and Scoshi--they were actually the subject of my first book. Scoshi was the author of the second book. They do not. He’s 16 and a half years old right now and will probably not make it through the rest of the year. He’s not in great health. They’re just too old to travel.

John O'Hurley will be discussing his book at the Barnes and Noble at the Mall of America.

Thu., Nov. 8, 6 p.m., 2007
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