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'Lou Grant's' Animal covers protest

‘Lou Grant’s’ Animal covers protest

May 10, 1982: Actor Daryl Anderson, with camera left of center, covers a demonstration by over 1,000 people protesting the cancellation of the “Lou Grant” television series. Anderson portrayed the photojournalist Dennis “Animal” Price on the popular series.

Writer Michael London reported in the May 12, 1982, Los Angeles Times:

Daryl Anderson is usually at home Monday nights, reviewing his performance on “Lou Grant” as Animal, the Los Angeles Tribune’s long-haired photographer. This week was different.

Camera in hand, Anderson showed up at CBS’ Television City studios at Beverly Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, where more than 1,000 demonstrators marched during “Lou Grant’s” 10 p.m.-11 p.m time slot to protest the network’s cancellation of the series.

The demonstrators chanted “Asner Yes, CBS No, Censorship Must Go,” and carried signs ranging from “We Love Ed” to “If you Want to Fire an Actor, Fire Ronald Reagan.”

A rather forlorn Anderson prowled through the crowd, insisting he was present for sentimental, not political, reasons: “I thought pictures would make some nice mementos for the cast.”

The leaders, representing a coalition of liberal political groups, maintain CBS bowed to pressure from advertisers and conservatives when it canceled “Lou Grant” Thursday. CBS attributes the show’s demise to poor ratings…

In 1977, after Anderson landed the role as Animal, he had few photography skills, and professional photographers complained about the character . A May 24, 1978, story by Times staff writer Anne LaRiviere explained:

Critics complained that The Animal is giving newspaper photographers a bad image.

But The Animal isn’t meant to be a stereotype of all newspaper photographers, Anderson insisted. He is a character described by the writers as a brilliant photographer who is a maniac about work but a total slob when it comes to anything that’s not work-related, and “that’s the way he is,” Anderson explained. “He dresses like a lot of young people. Besides, I’ve seen photographers at  CBS functions who dress a lot worse.”…

Anderson prepared for the role by visiting local newspapers, including 11 hours spent traveling around with Boris Yaro, a photographer for The Times (“Animal isn’t meant to be Yaro,” Anderson said. “If they wanted someone to play Yaro, they would have asked somebody like [actor] Ned Beatty.”

But he says the tour around Los Angeles County with Yaro (during the fire season last June) was an eye-opener.

As a consequence, one of the concessions to reality on the Lou Grant show is made when The Animal’s car is shown loaded down with shortwave radios so he can “follow the news as it’s happening.”

Anderson said he was surprised at “what a professional can do in the darkroom to give focus to a picture.”

Former Los Angeles Times staff photographer Boris Yaro remembers Anderson. He writes that on “the first photo tour we covered a plane crash in Pacoima. I lent Daryl one of my Nikon cameras to use . When we returned to The Times and processed his film I discovered he didn’t know how to use a camera. His photos were blurred because he hadn’t focused.”

Anderson quickly learned photography. He attended the Nikon School and accompanied other shooters. In 1988, his photography was exhibited in Seattle at the C. E. Rynd Photographic Fine Arts gallery.

The top photo by staff photographer Tony Barnard was published in the May 12, 1982, Los Angeles Times.

Above right, a 1981 studio handout photo of Daryl Anderson as Dennis “Animal” Price in the “Lou Grant” television series. Credit: CBS

Actor Daryl Anderson, left, in character as Animal, with Los Angeles Times staff photographer Boris Yaro. Photo provided by Boris Yaro. Credit: Rick Meyer.

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