It's all about the acting

In almost thirty years of acting, Richard Dean Anderson has given his fans many moments they will never forget. From General Hospital to Stargate SG-1, we all have certain scenes that have never left us, and that we watch over and over again. In honor of Richard's 55th birthday, here is a collection of some of those scenes, and why it means so much to each fan.

"A Hundred Days" is one of my favorite Stargate SG-1 episodes. And my favorite scene is when Jack realizes the gate is gone and he runs to where it used to be. His despair is so potent, and Richard Dean Anderson doesn't even need words to convey Jack's sense of loss and the realization he's trapped on Edora. It's all in his expression, and his body language.

Susan Garcia

Stargate SG-1 "A Hundred Days" February 4, 2000

From "Beneath the Surface" -- at the very end of the episode, when Jonah and Thera realize that they are Colonel Jack O'Neill and Major Sam Carter. Sam responds to Jack's statement that Hammond is from Texas with a "Yes, Sir." -- and RDA's face undergoes this remarkable transformation, as all the responsibility of being Jack O'Neill is being carried on his shoulders again. And his one word reply, "Sir" -- amazing how that one word conveys all the regret and sorrow for the things that can not be (and were dreamt for), and the acknowledgement of who and what they are, and the acceptance of his fate.

Morjana Coffman

Stargate SG-1 "Beneath the Surface" September 1, 2000

We loved Legend at our house. It was clever and it always made us laugh, especially any scene involving that crazy prarie-crossing automobile contraption! But my favorite moment was towards the end of the pilot show, when the adventure was wrapping up and Legend's love-interest comes into the bar and after a brief conversation, excuses herself and walks over to chat with and cling to the newest dime novelist. Your expression of surprise, acceptance, and melancholy was such a vibrant pluck of poignancy in the midst of humor that I never forgot it.

Ellen Druda

Legend "Birth of a Legend" April 18, 1995

One of my favorite Richard Dean Anderson moments is in the Stargate: SG-1 episode "Divide & Conquer." When O'Neill and Carter are stuck on opposite sides of the force field and he can't free her, the emotions conveyed by their facial expressions are priceless. You can almost feel their agony. Cliche, I know, but I'm a hopeless romantic at heart!

~Montage~

Stargate SG-1 "Divide and Conquer" July 28, 2000

It's very hard to pick out one particular scene. I love all of RDA's work. However, there is a scene from MacGyver where Mac finds out that Pete has glaucoma and is losing his sight. Rick plays the scene so well, I get choked up everytime I watch it. The raw emotion shown on his face may have come from the fact that Dana Elcar really did have glaucoma and RDA and he were good friends. Whether that's it or not, I guess I'll never know. What I do know is that that scene is very powerful and it gets me everytime.

Rhonda Paul
Charleston, SC

MacGyver "Blind Faith" March 4, 1991

"In the Line of Duty" - When Jack goes to sit with Cassandra. You can just see the loving fatherly look in his eyes. It's the "You're safe and no one's ever going to hurt you" look.

Kim Carr

Stargate SG-1 "In the Line of Duty" July 3, 1998

My favorite RDA moment is during the Stargate SG-1 episode "Urgo." The team is sitting around the briefing table and Urgo is being irritating. RDA reaches over and yells at an empty seat. I think its great, because not only is it hilarious, but it shows how he can act in any situation, even to an empty room.

Katie

Stargate SG-1 "Urgo" January 28, 2000

One of the most memorable scenes RDA did was from MacGyver during the Christmas episode when his priest friend told him about the last moments he spent with his mother, when Mac couldn't make it home to be by her side after her stroke. When his priest friend mentioned to him that his mother kept saying ice cream, Mac's response to that was so moving, it brought me to tears.

Jami Trager

MacGyver "The Madonna" December 18, 1989

I came to know RDA through Stargate SG-1, and there are so many memorable moments, it’s very difficult to select just one, but I’ve gone for one of my favourite episodes, "Abyss", and the final scene in the cell with Daniel. Daniel says, ‘It’s almost over’, and as Jack turns towards Daniel, the look on Jack’s face and in his eyes is so movingly evocative of his exhaustion, despair and a spirit that has reached its breaking point. RDA seems to have a particular talent for being able to convey deep emotions and thoughts through just his facial expressions and eyes. No need for words at all, and this for me is a great example of that talent.

Diana

Stargate SG-1 "Abyss" July 19, 2002

My favorite scenes in Stargate SG-1 are the ones between Jack and Sam, because I am soooo a shipper. But as far as a moment of amazing acting, I go with "The Broca Divide." When, even in his deteriorating mental state, Jack pushes through the miasma of pain to ask Janet Fraiser to 'use him' to find the cure. Rick does an amazing job at portraying the struggle Jack goes through to make Janet understand. Every time I watch it, I just shake my head and mumble "Now, that is acting."

Gail Delaney
Hampstead, NH

Stargate SG-1 "The Broca Divide" August 15, 1997

I have quite a few favourite RDA moments. However, my total favourite RDA moment is the scene in "Chimera" in the lift. I love the way he conveys the awkwardness that we can feel because he has just been told about Pete. It's one scene that just sticks in my head.

Natalie Vickers

Stargate SG-1 "Chimera" January 30, 2004

One of my favorite moments occurs in the Christmas concert scene in the MacGyver episode "The Madonna." As MacGyver sits in the audience and listens to the wonderful Roxanne Reese sing "I'll Be Home for Christmas", he confronts the circumstances of his mother's death and the perceived failure of not having been there for the first time. His face evolves in the space of a few precious moments from stoic resolve to gut wrenching sorrow. The scene unfolds in and out of the auditorium and MacGyver's regret is evident in every nuance of Mr. Anderson's performance. It is a powerful mirror for all of us who have lost a parent no matter how or when. I am moved to tears every time I see it.

Michelle Willard

MacGyver "The Madonna" December 18, 1989

It took me forever to choose one scene, there are so many. One of my all time favourites is from the end of Past the Bleachers, when Bill realises how Hilton has manipulated him. RDA's 'You can't control people's lives like that' and 'Just who do you think you are?' get to me everytime. Very powerful moment and a great example of what a gifted dramatic actor he is.

Daniela

Past the Bleachers June 22, 1995

My favorite moment is near the end of the scene in "Affinity" when Sam asks Jack what he would do if things had been different and he replies, "I wouldn't be here." Volumes spoken in that phrase. All the love Jack feels for her and all the heartbreak at losing her at the same time. The look in his eyes brought tears to mine. It's not very often when acting can affect me like that.

Lisa Ide

Stargate SG-1 "Affinity" August 20, 2004

My favorite Richard Dean Anderson episode is "Friends." My favorite scene is when the party is over and Mac says to Pete "got any scotch tape?" to tape up his resignation.

Bethany Drum

MacGyver "Friends" April 6, 1987

While there are so many memorable moments, I have to select from my all-time favorite tv series, Stargate SG-1, "Window of Opportunity" -- "I'm tellin' ya Teal'c: If we don't find a way out of this soon, I'm gonna lose it! Lose it -- it means go crazy, nuts, insane, bonzo, no longer in possession of one's faculties, three fries short of a happy meal, WACKO!"

I love this one because it was a complete ad lib and is a great example of RDA's comedic ability.

Elaine

Stargate SG-1 "Window of Opportunity" August 4, 2000

The athleticism you have brought to your roles has added so much excitement and realism! I have to admit I didn't "get" that in the mid-80's, when I had three young sons. But they grew up bicycling, skiing and rock climbing. So now, when I watch MacGyver or O'Neill, I really appreciate the strength and skill. I do wish those characters wore helmets, though. ;)

Lyn Clark
Anchorage, Alaska

MacGyver "The Widowmaker" November 16, 1987

Stargate SG-1 "A Matter of Time" January 29, 1999

"Abyss". The scene right after where Jack tell Daniel all the ways he'd break the Ascension rules of non interference and Daniel says "You're better than that." Jack screams "That's where you're wrong!". We usually see Mr. Anderson with a smile on his face and making other people laugh. So it was an amazing experience to see the fire and passion he is capable of. His face and body spoke of pain and desperation so clearly and powerfully that, with all the pure talent he has in him, I have never thought a man so radiant as Mr. Anderson would be able to reveal. It was an amazing soul lifting scene that I will never forget.

Monica

Stargate SG-1 "Abyss" July 19, 2002

My absolute favorite scene is from "Heroes part 2." Near the end where Sam goes in Jack's room to see him recovered from the shot he took and she starts crying. And he just stands there with that absolutely heart breaking expression of love and acceptance and surrender to all the feelings that go between them and he whispers "Come here." and hugs her. It's simple, it's honest and it's real and right. It's a brief moment when love won for a chance. The emotions that Mr. Anderson has been able to portray are probably the best definition of simple honest love. It was a magnificent, brilliant performance.

Telkena

Stargate SG-1 "Heroes 2" February 20, 2004

One of my favorite RDA's actings is in the MaGyver episode "Good Knight MacGyver." Not many actors can die like this!!!! His look, his gesture...he took my breath away!!! RDA really dies very well. Just note, I think he's a "feelings actor" : feelings appear like true, and that's why he touches me more than others.

Elodie

MacGyver "Good Knight MacGyver" November 11, 1991

The most memorable scene I want to put is from MacGyver, "The Widowmaker," when Pete comes to the cabin and tries to talk Mac into coming back and he's grieving over Mike's death. I think it's excellent acting the way he just makes you feel the loneliness and the pain right through the screen.

Tylani
The Netherlands

MacGyver "The Widowmaker" November 16, 1987

Richard Dean Anderson is an extremely talented man and expresses emotion so well, so to pick just one moment was very hard. One episode of Stargate SG-1 that really 'got me' was "Message in a Bottle." Where he (Jack O'Neill) was pinned up against the wall in the gateroom by the alien device. RDA 'does pain' very well and it tore my heart out when he started crying. I love when he's talking to Teal'c and you can just see how strong the friendship between them really is. I believe moments like these are what really make a show.

-Jules-

Stargate SG-1 "Message in a Bottle" August 7, 1998

I'd nominate the scene from "Revenge of the Herd" where Pratt tries to get the Indians to do a rain dance. As he hops around, his Indian friend tells him "we don't need a rain dance. We get 15 inches a year around here!" and other Indians look at each other and ask (subtitled) "Why is he hopping around like a moron?"

Mark Baker-Wright

Legend "Revenge of the Herd" July 4, 1995

My choice has to be from my all time favourite episode "The Broca Divide." Jack is affected by the virus but he fights to make himself understood to Dr. Fraiser. His face is distorted and he has little control, but he gets his message across. This is 'Colonel O'Neill' the career soldier. A rare glimpse under the dense sardonic surface Jack usually presents to the world. And a view of the great actor behind the clownishness that Rick usually shows to everyone.

Happy birthday, mate, may you share many more years of yourself with us.

Kay aka Mumsey

Stargate SG-1 "The Broca Divide" August 15, 1997

My favorite scenes are from Legend, when Ernest is constantly trying to convince the residents of Sheridan that he is Ernest, and that Legend is fiction. The subtle look of frustration, then almost desperation in trying to convince them he is Ernest, then the resignation that the townspeople just can't or don't want to see him for who he really is. Your expressions and body language convey so many layers of what is going on.

Judy W

Legend "Birth of a Legend" April 18, 1995

My favorite of all scenes is from MacGyver. It was the one where the woman was pregnant. Her husband was a paroled convict who fooled her into thinking he was in love with her. It was a ruse to get other convicts paroled and start a group of his own. He wanted to kill her when she took evidence to turn over to police. It was the end scene from this. She was in the ambulance, had just delivered her baby girl and asked that MacGyver come in to see her and the child. She stated she may keep the baby for a week or two to see how things worked out. Mac said sure a lot of people do that! The look on his face at the end of that scene was awesome. His smile and his whole face just seemed to glow. What an amazing joy seemed to radiate through him.

Rory

MacGyver "Birth Day" February 2, 1987

One of my favorite scenes is from "Evolution 2." Jack has gone into Sam's lab to tell her he's going after Daniel. His face and in particular his eyes - to me he's trying to convey his feelings without saying anything and hoping to get some kind of response from her in return.

Sue

Stargate SG-1 "Evolution 2" January 9, 2004

It's really difficult to pick just one favorite project, episode, or scene. I love all of Richard Dean Anderson's work. He's such a varied actor, who's full of emotion and can carry any scene, with or without saying a word. Since I love kids however, I love to watch the shows that involve them. There's so many, and in each, you can sense that the actor himself enjoys being around kids. One of my favorites is from Stargate "Learning Curve," where Jack gets emotionally involved with Merrin and her well-being. Jack risks everything in order to show this little girl how to be a child, how to have fun. It's very powerful, yet at the same time, heartwarming. You get a sense of who the character is beneath the surface.

Linda O'Keefe

Stargate SG-1 "Learning Curve" July 23, 1999

I always enjoyed his comedic talent. He's got excellent timing and both Legend and the banter with Michael Shanks really show off his comedic talent. What I really do love though are the little things when RDA is not the focus of any given scenes. One example is that there always seems to be something floating in Jack's coffee. I actually look forward to see him fishing it out every time Jack holds a coffee cup and then can hardly contain myself laughing.

Petra

various Stargate SG-1 episodes

 

Mac is on a mountain and needs to find a way off for him and the man he came to save before the bad guys find out that he is there. Mac builds a plane with things around the camp. Mac tells the man to hop in the homemade plane built with trash bags, duct tape, bamboo, wheel barrel tires, and the blade from one of the big fans in the tent. Mac pulls the line making the tent side fall and heads for the cliff. The bad guys are surprised and start shooting as the plane takes off, and you see the expression on Mac's face is unsure and the man said "It flies! It really flies!" and Mac says "Of course."

Shortea

MacGyver "Legend of the Holy Rose 1" September 18, 1989

In "Cold Lazarus," when Jack sees the crystal turn into Charlie, all the emotions that run over his face are just fantastic, and a lump is stuck in my throat every time I see it. I can watch that particular scene over and over again, it's great. Even my hard-core-so-not-a-sg1-watcher-sister had to agree on that, it's fantastic acting!

Monna, DK

Stargate SG-1 "Cold Lazarus" August 29, 1997

My most memorable RDA acting moment was during Through the Eyes of a Killer when Laurie is running through the passages behind the walls trying to escape from Ray. She turns around and he is sitting there at the entrance and he tells her how everything he did was for her. What makes this scene so memorable for me was that, about three years ago, I was watching the movie with my daughter, who was 15 at the time, and during that scene my daughter looked at me and said, "He's scary." RDA portrayed a psychotic brilliantly.

Julie

Through the Eyes of a Killer December 15, 1992

The final gateroom scene in "Meridian." As Daniel is about to ascend and walks towards the Stargate for the final time, he turns to Jack with tears in his eyes. Jack smiles, a smile of reassurance, then as Daniel turns back around, Jack’s smile changes to what I can only describe as ‘one of the saddest smiles I have ever seen’. Up until then Jack had been strong for Daniel, but in that moment with only the use of facial expression, Richard Dean Anderson conveys the true pain that his character is suffering.

Helen

Stargate SG-1 "Meridian" May 10, 2002

It was Jack O’Neill’s humor, and I guess, Richard Dean Anderson’s that first drew me to Stargate SG-1. Still I must say that my favorite moment is from the episode "Abyss". The second time that Daniel appears before O’Neill, and they talk about the potential of Jack’s character, is such a strong scene. RDA gives the line: "That’s where you’re wrong" so much power and emotion. Rick makes Jack’s feelings about himself and the situation so clear. I love the whole episode, but that scene and line always gets to me.

Karen
Denmark

Stargate SG-1 "Abyss" July 19, 2002

The scene that always holds me spellbound is from "Cold Lazarus." It is the scene in the hospital where the alien explains why he came to earth. The depth and range of emotions that Richard expresses as he plays both characters; one full of fear and sadness, trying to explain his actions, and one reliving the most painful loss in his life is absolutely heart stopping, literally. I always find I have been holding my breath and have to take a big gulp of air after that scene is over.

Karla

Stargate SG-1 "Cold Lazarus" August 29, 1997

In "Meridian" towards the end of this episode, O'Neill asked Daniel where he was going. Daniel answered that he did not know. O'Neill then looked at him with a bittersweet grin and just nodded, as if to say that things would be okay. At that moment, I not only saw the characters saying goodbye, but RDA and MS as well. It was a poignant moment that I will never forget.

Wilma

Stargate SG-1 "Meridian" May 10, 2002

To choose a scene among the multitude of chefs-d'oeuvre with which this remarkably talented man has spoiled us, is like asking a person to select only one of the seven wonders of the world! But since I must … I shall … (Yes! I've started a sentence with a preposition! Muaha!) Spirited, intense, honorable, fit, energetic, stoic, courageous, eccentric, funny, tender-hearted, wounded, witty… RDA effortlessly portrays these traits and many more, but the ones I most enjoy are humorous (especially adlibbed) and intense. The intensity of emotions RDA delivers in Demons as the men submit Teal'c to the water test/drowning is incredibly powerful!

greywolf

Stargate SG-1 "Demons" August 13, 1999

"Faith, Hope & Charity" is my favorite example of Richard's acting excellence. This one episode is like a roller coaster, showing the spectrum of MacGyver trademarks: outdoorsy environmental issues, social relevant characterizations, action with a dollop of hurt and comfort, the gadgets, and vast emotional involvement, with Richard at the helm, all in less than 44 minutes. Gotta love episodic T.V. with a message... the end, when the wolf seems to have a smile on his face, saying, "Thanks, Mac, for taking that leg hold trap for me! You can come back to my forest any time."

Mingo
Alberta, Canada

MacGyver "Faith, Hope, & Charity" March 18, 1991

This scene is one of the funniest things I have seen on a show not in the comedy genre. It was unexpected and that made it even funnier. I don't think the sometimes "crusty" Jack O'Neill would be as likeable if he didn't have this childlike side to him. This and an unrivaled command of sarcasm make him my favorite character on any television show right now. Looking at this scene, it is not hard to believe that "The Simpsons" is one your favorite shows.

Ann

Stargate SG-1 "Menace" April 26, 2002

Collection of favorite moments compiled and arranged by Susan Garcia.

Pictures of Legend were cleaned up by Mala. Thank you! And thanks to Jackfic for their help in finding coffee scenes.

Home