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With [the very, very old man's son] Bill Erwin
September 10, 2004

Hiram Holling : 114, now that's old, but it's still too young. You know what I mean? He was still my Daddy and I was still his baby.

"Mr. Monk and the Very, Very Old Man"

Bill Erwin has the distinction of being Monk's oldest guest star. That's right, even older than the very, very old man 86-year-old Pat Cranshaw who played his murdered father. He has co-starred in almost 200 film and television productions and still works regularly in the business. He was nominated for an Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy for his role in a 1993 episode of Seinfeld. He made guest appreances last year in Everwood and The King of Queens.

In August of 2005 Bill Erwin was designated an Honorary Life Member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Mr. Erwin will be 91 on December 2nd 2005, the same day on which Monk's first holiday episode "Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa" debuts.

Mr. Erwin was kind enough to chat with me over the phone a year ago about his appearance in "Mr. Monk and the Very, Very Old Man." He described the Monk production as "Well run" and his co-workers as "extremely talented and pleasant."

"My scene wasn't with Tony Shalhoub, the star, so we didn't meet. My scene was with the police inspector [Ted Levine] and the nerdy assistant [Jason Gray-Stanford]. They had me seated in an easy chair because I don't walk very well either now," he says. "I'm a human remnant."

"I've spent $10000 on hearing aids," he confides. "I have trouble hearing with any ambient noise in the background, but the Monk set is very professional so, of course, there was no ambient noise. The rehearsals went just fine, but on the first take the police inspector said something I couldn't make out."

"l said, 'I'm sorry, but we'll have to cut.' Director Larry Trilling, very brilliant, very young, very compassionate said, 'Bill, here's what we'll do. Whenever Ted says something you can't hear simply say, 'huh?'"

"So that's what I did. We shot the rest of the scene and it took at most about 30 minutes."

"Monk was a lovely show to work on," remembers Mr. Erwin, "very professional, no vulgarity."

Although Mr. Erwin admits, "I have a great motor, but lousy wheels," he plans to continue working because he believes "that's what keeps me alive."

Some of his other notable appearances include: Star Trek: The Next Generation as Dalen Quaice in "Remember Me", Just Shoot Me as Mr. King in "Where's Poppa" and in Quantum Leap as Joe Deever in "Hurricane" and a dozen or so appearances on Gunsmoke. His most well known role was probably in Somewhere in Time Christopher Reeve's 1980 cult film. My personal favorite is as Mr. Wood in "The Missing Statue" episode of Mister Ed.

To learn more about Bill Erwin you can vist his official site.

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