by Ryan Meehan
John O’ Hurley is the actor best known for his role as Elaine’s boss J. Peterman on the legendary NBC sitcom Seinfeld. He went on to host a revival of one of my favorite game shows “To Tell The Truth” in 2000, and was a finalist on the first season of ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars”. He eventually became the fifth host of “Family Feud” from 2006 to 2010, and his career has officially completed the full circle as he’s our guest this week in 5 Questions.
FOH: How does your on-screen persona in “Seinfeld” differ from that of the real life John Peterman?
JO’H: The real J Peterman has all of the authenticity and the business savvy that the on-screen personna lacked. I am now part-owner and a board member of the real company (see jpeterman.com) so I having a working knowledge of what I write. The fun of playing the parody was that the character evolved in to a sort of corporate “Mr. Magoo”, a legend in his own mind, and gave some of the best writers in the business a chance to write longer form situation comedy. I miss the show terribly.
FOH: You’ve played King Arthur in “Spamalot” twice now. Did you ever receive any feedback from any of the original Monty Python members other than Eric Idle?
JO’H: Spamalot was really the concept of Eric Idle, so the original troupe wasn’t involved in the development of the show. Although they were always around for the many opening nights. They never miss a great party!
FOH: Why did you decide to leave “Family Feud”?
JO’H: The show was moving to Orlando for financial reasons. I have a young son and a lovely wife and didn’t want to be a parent and a husband living on an airplane. I had 4 great years and will always remember the show as a wonderful moment in my career, but it was very difficult to do anything else, while I was hosting Feud, as I found out while I was doing Spamalot. But I’m very happy to see how Steve Harvey has given the show a new revival.
FOH: For those who may not be familiar with your work on behalf of the Epilepsy Foundation, could you discuss how you became involved with that?
JO’H: I sadly lost my sister to epilepsy when we were both teenagers. It affected me very deeply. As I developed a presence in entertainment, it was a natural move for me to begin to help educate people on both the seriousness of epilepsy and the treatablity. Neurological disorders like epilepsy have terrible social stigmas brought by nothing more than poor information.
FOH: What’s next for John O’ Hurley in the twelve months to follow?
JO’H: I’m starting a new movie this week, a parody ala NAKED GUN of the Flash Gordon genre. In May I return to my role as Billy Flynn with Christy Brinkley in the Broadway hit CHICAGO with San Diego and Los Angeles, then later this summer in Minneapolis and Dallas.
John’s official website: www.johnohurley.com
Epilepsy Foundation: http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/
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