Remington Steele is a legendary crime drama series that ran for five seasons in the 1980s. Starring Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan, the series was a brilliant mix of detective and drama with some romance and comedy.
While Zimbalist and Brosnan were undoubtedly the show’s stars, many other actors helped make it memorable. Here we look at their story along with checking out some fun facts about Remington Steele. And some may surprise you.
Let’s get started!
Stephanie Zimbalist as Laura Holt
Stephanie was born in a home of celebrities, which increased her probability of getting some exposure to the limelight. Her father was an actor, while her paternal grandfather was a famous violinist, music teacher, and composer. Her grandfather’s wife was a musician known for being the leading soprano of her era. Marcia Davenport, her aunt, was a known historian and author.
Zimbalist started acting after high school, and she was enthusiastic about making her name and brand in the industry. She started acting in the ’70s, and her first movie was “The Gathering.” She performed with various actors, who helped her rise to the top in her career.
She Grew With the Industry
The acting industry continued to grow, and it was flooded with many TV shows and films. The actors in those shows grew faster, and their attention lasted for years. In an industry dominated by men, the women had to push to get to the top, and Zimbalist was among those women.
Remington Steel was a show that significantly led to Zimbalist’s growth. She played the role of Laura Holt perfectly, and her on-screen chemistry with Pierce Brosnan helped drive the show to greatness.
Her Acting Career Has Faded Away
Brosnan helped this now-famous actor prove to the world that women were more than what they were thought of. She took on the character of Laura Holt, acting as a private investigator, a role given to men mostly, and it was a big deal at the time.
Zimbalist is now in her mid-sixties. In the last decade or so, she has not appeared in many acting roles, with her last part being in a small budget film in 2016 called “A Timeless Love.” Along with her acting, she has also worked a lot in theater and has released audiobooks.
Living Her Best Life
Zimbalist started dating Peter Medak, a British movie director, but they did not marry and have children. She has liked swimming since her teenage years, which she still does to date. She is also a dancer, tennis player and loves riding bikes.
Zimbalist also loves the road, and she has traveled to many European countries. While her acting roles may have cooled off in recent years, it seems as though she’s living her best life.
Pierce Brosnan as Remington Steele
Brosnan was born on May 16th, 1953. His father was a carpenter, and he attended school until he was 16 years old, where he started training in commercial illustration. He attended the Drama center in London for three years, after which he began his acting career.
His first role in a TV series was in “Wait Until Dark.” He also starred in “The Red Devil Battery Sign,” which earned him much respect in the industry. He was picked to act in the play “Filumena” in 1977. This was another growth spurt in Brosnan’s acting career.
It All Led to Remington Steele
By 1980, he had made brief appearances in two plays, “The Professionals” and “Play for Today.” Brosnan became a TV star when he took a role in the popular miniseries “The Manions of America.” He was also an actor in another BBC miniseries, “Nancy Astor.”
Brosnan rose in popularity when he moved to southern California and was featured in NBC’s romantic, often-comedic detective series Remington Steele. His role in this series was of a thief and conman. In the series, he takes the identity of Remington Steele and has power struggles with Laura Holt.
Still an A-list Star
Pierce Brosnan is nearing his late 60s, but his career is still as strong as 30 years ago. He says that he is not going to play an older adult any time soon by stopping his projects or slowing down. He has high-profile projects like DC’s “Black Adam.”
One advantage Brosnan has is the ability to play a variety of characters. One of the major projects and movies Brosnan has been working on includes “The Misfits,” released in June 2021. It wasn’t a critical success but shows how in-demand he still is.
He’ll Always Be James Bond
While he’s had an incredible career, many still know him most as James Bond. He appeared in four Bond films in total, from 1995 to 2002. People also love him for his role as Sam in the “Mamma Mia!” movies. Brosnan has been married twice. He met his first wife, Cassandra Harris, after leaving drama school.
They dated and were together for 17 years and had a son together, while Brosnan adopted her two children from a previous relationship. Harris contracted ovarian cancer in 1987 and died in 1991. He later met Keely Shaye Smith, and the two married and have two kids together.
Doris Roberts as Mildred Krebs
Doris was born in 1925 to immigrants. Her mother Ann and maternal grandparents raised her after Larry Green, Doris’ father, abandoned them. Her mother was later married to Chester H. Roberts, whose surname she took.
Doris is an award-winning actress, author, and philanthropist, and her career on the screens is over seven decades old. She acted in many films, with her first taking the role of Shirley Stoller in “The Honeymoon Killers,” which aired in 1970.
A Wonderful Career and Legacy
Roberts was also featured in “Rabbit Test” in 1978, “Number One with a Bullet,” and “Simple Justice.” Her success grew dramatically in 1983, thanks to the famous Remington Steel, but she is also loved for her role in “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
Doris was married to Michael Cannata from 1956 until 1962. She then met William Goyen, and he married her in 1963 but died in 1983. Roberts herself sadly died in 2016, at the age of 90. She had been fighting hypertension for many years before her death.
James Read as Murphy Michaels
James Read was born in July 1953 in New York. He went to the University of Oregon to study law, where he started his acting career. He later graduated from the university and joined a school of acting in New York. He was actively involved in some Off-Broadway and regional theaters as he honed his talent.
Read was first known for his role as George Hazard in the miniseries “North and South.” He also got a co-starring role in 1988 in the movie “Beaches.” His career took a huge positive turn when he got a role in the first season of Remington Steele.
Still Active With a Great Family
Read continued acting even after his role as Murphy Michaels in Remington Steele. He was featured in a 2010 television series called “Persons Unknown.” He also acted as Abraham Lincoln in “Better Angels,” which was performed on stage.
Read has been diverse in his acting career as he also takes roles in soap operas. In 2014, he acted as Clyde Weston on “Days of Our Lives.” He now lives in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife and three children.
Janet Demay as Bernice Foxe
Janet was born in Los Angeles in June 1957. She was born with an exceptional talent for creativity and self-expression, which led her to the limelight. This successful woman became more famous when she joined the Remington Steele cast in 1982.
Janet also acted in “The Beastmaster” in the same year and featured in “Knight Rider.” Many people admire her because of her personality. Joyce is optimistic and always sees the positive side of life. This has helped her in mastering resilience to overcome the hurdles of life.
She’s Successful in Business
Today, this famous actress is in her 60s. She has been married to James Joseph Butler, with whom they tied the knot in 1980. Joyce joined the entrepreneurial world, and her ambitious and determined personality has made her business grow over the years.
It wasn’t long after the end of Remington Steele that she would step away from the acting world for good. She didn’t appear in many roles in the years following, and her last acting role came in 1991 when she guest-starred in the TV series “The New Adam-12.”
Blake Clark as Fred
Blake Clark is an American-born actor who was first known for his role in “Boy Meets World,” where he acted as Chet Hunter. This old stand-up comedian was born and raised in Macon, Georgia, In February 1946.
He went to LaGrange College to do a degree in performing arts, where he graduated in 1969. Since his school days, Clark has acted in many movies, miniseries, and series. He acted in The Water Boy, Little Nicky, and 50 First Dates, among others.
He Still Loves Acting
He grew in his career when he was featured in Remington Steele as Fred, the chauffeur, in 1982. It may have only been a minor role, but he was a charming character. The 75-year-old successful actor is married to Sharon, with whom he has two sons.
Clark seems to be very busy but keeps his life private. Remington Steele was one of his first acting gigs but has been very successful since. Even in his advancing years, it seems as though the love of acting hasn’t left him.
Jack Scalia as Tony Roselli
Known for Chris Stamp, in the famous movie “All My Children,” Jack Scalia is a famous American actor. He was born in 1950 but didn’t get his first acting role until 1981. It wasn’t until 1987 that he would appear in Remington Steele.
Scalia started as a clothes model for a series of ads for Eminence briefs. His name became bigger after he was featured in the final season of Remington Steele as Tony Roselli. He also acted in “Dallas” as Nicholas Pearce.
He Co-founded a Charity
After Remington, he has acted in other movies, like “Pointman,” “All My Children,” and “The Genius Club.” This successful actor is the founder of Operation American Spirit, with Edra Blixseth as the co-founder. The charity aims to raise awareness and fund severely injured troops.
He spent time visiting servicemen and women during the filming of “The Black Tulip.” He married Joan Rankin, a model whom he later divorced. He married Karen Baldwin, the 1982 Miss Universe, with whom he has children. Scalia is still very busy in the industry.
James Tolkan as Norman Keyes
James Stewart Tolkan was first known to the world in 1985, after acting as Mr. Strickland in the film “Back to the Future.” This old actor was born in Calumet, Michigan, in June 1931. He went to the University of Iowa and Coe College and is an alumnus of the Actors Studio.
If you have watched “Top Gun,” then you may know that James acted as Stinger, the no-nonsense commanding officer. He also featured in Remington Steele as Norman Keyes, the insurance investigator whose determination proved Steele to be a fraud.
He Has an Incredible Marriage
In his 90s, the successful actor married his wife in 1971 in a private ceremony. They are still married and live in Lake Placid. James says that he is happy he made it through and lives a good life when asked about his achievements.
His last time on the screen was in 2015 when he played Bone Tomahawk in “The Pianist.” He seems to be enjoying his old age collecting folk art, which has always been his hobby.
Cassandra Harris as Felicia
Cassandra Harris was born in Sydney in 1948. Her birth name was Sandra Colleen Waiters, but she was nicknamed Cassandra when she started acting. Cassandra attended the National Institute of Dramatic Art.
Her first time on the screens was in 1978 when she starred in “The Greek Tycoon.” She was also a cast in “Rough Cut” in 1980 and “For Your Eyes Only,” a James Bond film, in 1981. A film franchise her future husband would star in.
Married to Pierce Brosnan
Cassandra also guest-starred in the famous movie Remington Steele, together with her husband, Brosnan. Brosnan met the producer of James Bond while he was getting to know Cassandra, and the producer gave him a chance to act in four Bond films.
This successful actress had two children from her previous marriage. She later had a son together with Brosnan. As we sadly mentioned earlier, Cassandra fell ill and later passed away due to ovarian cancer. Tragically, her daughter Charlotte also suffered the same disease and later died in 2013.
The Best Facts about Remington Steele
The show was nearly canceled early on. This happened after the fourth season’s release. The fifth season had taken too long to be released, and people were starting to become impatient. The narrative changed drastically when the ratings of summer reruns became successful.
NBC gave the show a second chance at the last minute. The six-episode series equaled a three movie-length plot, and they all came as a surprise to the fans. The fans did not appreciate that last season. Many said it was way too boring and wished the cancellation claims would have been true.
There Were Plenty of Movie References
Remington Steele is among the first series to give references in its content. In some episodes, Remington would try to solve a case using a tactic used in other movies. Although this failed sometimes, there were other times it was a success.
Examples of the films referenced in the acting of Remington are “North by Northwest,” “Rear Window,” “Old Lace,” and “Gone with The Wind.” Many fans love this part of the show, and it helped to give it an entertaining and comedic element.
The Concept of the Series Was First Thought About In 1969
Robert Butler came up with the idea of creating a show about a female detective in 1969. During this time, Butler was the director for the “Batman” and “Star Trek” episodes. He shared his new TV show idea with Grand Tinker, the industry’s legend, who found it fascinating.
However, Tinker did not pay more attention to Butler’s idea because he felt it was ahead of its time. They could wait until the time was right. Later, Tinker’s MTM Enterprise produced a woman-centered series called “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and he started considering Butler’s idea.
The Fifth Season Kept Actors from Significant Movie Roles
Although people thought that the 1986 news about the cancellation was a rumor, they were true. When the show stopped being produced, most actors got other roles in bigger films. For example, Brosnan joined the James Bond film, “The Living Daylights,” to replace Roger Moore.
Also, Stephanie Zimbalist was recruited for a lead role in “RoboCop,” where she acted as Lewis. However, both of them were tied to their contacts, and they left their new roles to act in the last episodes of the series when it returned.
Steele’s Composer Is Famous
You probably love Remington Steele’s theme song, and the composer is extremely talented. He also composed theme songs for the famous “Pink Panther,” “Charade,” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” He is called Henry Mancini and wrote many drama and comedy theme songs of the 1980s.
If you are a music lover and know any of the songs Henry has composed, you can tell that he is the composer of Steels’ theme song as they have a similar feel. This is common among musicians as they use the similarities as a signature.
Why the Name Steele?
Have you ever wondered why the series Remington Steele was not given another name? Probably not. The name has many syllables, but it sounds noble and professional. The character of Laura was the founder of the name Steele, and it stuck when she used it for the first time.
When asked why she chose Remington Steele, Laura said it was a combination of a typewriter and a football team’s name. She combined the two words and felt the new name created sounded suitable and fit to be independent. This seems like a good idea for creating names for your children or pets.
A Famous Father and Daughter
Stephanie Zimbalist was born in a home of artists. Her father, Efrem, is a famous actor, and he was known for the role he played as a private investigator on “77 Sunset Strip.”
Efrem acted in Remington Steele with his daughter, taking the role of Daniel Chalmers. Later in the movie, Daniel is revealed as Stephanie’s father, which is true in real life. It was a quirky and fun reveal.
Doris Roberts Is an Emmy Award Winner for Remington Steele
Doris Roberts joined Steele’s cast when the series was in season two. Her character of Mildred Krebs was originally written for a 35-year older woman. The producer was impressed when Doris was nominated for Emmy awards from another series she was acting in, “St. Elsewhere.”
This was just the start of Doris’ success, as she was again nominated for another Emmy award for Steele. This happened in 1985. Unfortunately, she did not get the award as she lost to “Hill Street Blues” actor Betty Thomas.
Steele Does Not Know His Name
Some fans might not know this, but the man and the name behind Remington Steele do not exist. This was all Laura’s imagination because even the mysterious man acting as Steele does not know who Steele is, neither do we. However, the mysterious man played the part well.
Brosnan’s character’s background from childhood is a mystery. He was close to knowing his real name and who he was when his father was discovered. However, he was not lucky enough because the recently-discovered father died before he could give out any information.
The Clever Steele Titles
The person behind the titles of each episode is clever, creative, and hilarious. The fun part about these titles is that they all have the word ‘Steele.’ Some titles are well thought through. For example, there is an episode called “License to Steele” and another one called “Steele Among the Living.”
The title creator used the trick of including the show’s title in each episode’s content but ensured it came out with some humor. You will most times find yourself smiling at the title. It was a brilliant show and one that deserves its place in history.