Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Likes Role in "Funny Girl"

Cleveland Press February 1, 1966

He's tall, dark, handsome and single and he thinks New York and San Francisco women are too masculine.

Cleveland women? Most of that was off the record.

Anthony George is the leading man in the current Hanna attraction, "Funny Girl." It's the first musical for an actor known principally for a TV series, "Checkmate," that ended several years ago.

"It's not exactly ended since it's re-running in a lot of places," he said. "That show was great the first year.

"It was a piece of junk the second year and I became a piece of junk with it. I got ulcers and lost 45 pounds.

"I LEARNED A LOT in that show but it became a political football. The network didn't own the show and it did everything it could to kill it.

"No, I can't say that I'll never do television again. I won't do a series though."

George (he swears that's his real name) comes from Endicott, N. Y., where his Italian immigrant father worked in a shoe factory. He's one of five brothers, has one sister, loads of nieces and nephews and on opening night a phone call came through to notify him another had arrived.

HE TOOK UP acting after he got out of the Army Air Corps, studied in Hollywood, got his first break in a summer production of "Winterset."

His major break was a starring role opposite Rosalind Russell in her television debut. That was followed by roles in most of the TV series shows, then the series of his own, "Checkmate."

There also was a time in there when he just about gave up acting, took a radio announcer's job in San Francisco.

Since "Checkmate," he has been in stock company shows and most recently was in this area at Canal Fulton.

COMPOSER Julie Styne, having seen George auditioning for another part, sent for the actor while he was doing "Rainmaker" last summer.

"I didn't want to do the part and turned it down once. Then they offered it to me again and promised to add to the role.

"There's a song called 'Funny Girl' that was dropped from the show before it started. The man I play is supposed to sing it and they're putting it back in soon.

"We've had about 150 performances so far and I've never played one thing so long. I thought I would get tired of it but I haven't.

THE ACTOR Is in his 30's ("Don't ask an actor how old he is") and figures on retiring. Really.

"Look, I can retire in about 10 years if I can make a million or so. Then can play the roles I want, travel when I like. I have a smart business agent."

He gulped some vitamin pills before heading out into the cold.

Between the vitamins and his business agent he might do it.

Short Subjects: "Thunderball" is already in the black. The film needed a 15-million-dollar gross to start making a profit.

There are now two "Hello Dolly!" original cast recordings. In addition to the Carol Channing album, RCA Victor is releasing one with Mary Martin (who played it here) and the London company.

Elizabeth Hartman, once of the Play House and Kenley Players, will be honored in her hometown of Youngstown with a fancy opening of the film in which she debuts, "A Patch of Blue." The opening will be Feb. 25. Co-stars are Sidney Portier and Shelley Winters.