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§2

Rise of
a Leading
Man

Fans are used to seeing Rick Dalton as the effortlessly cool Jake Cahill on NBC’s Bounty Law, but the actor is looking to break out of the television mold.

At the time of this interview, Rick Dalton has just finished his press run for The Fourteen Fists of McCluskey, an uber-violent “guys on a mission” movie co-starring Van Johnson, Rod Taylor, and Adam West. Dalton plays cocky Sgt. Mike Lewis armed with a sharp tongue and his signature weapon: a giant Nazi-killing flamethrower.

Rick outside his hollywood home

Rick outside his hollywood home

“You don’t want to be on the wrong side of that thing,” Dalton says about the flamethrower which required weeks of training. “I was terrified of it. Even after practicing three hours a day for two weeks I thought that damn dragon was going to barbecue me alive.”

Rick Dalton pulls a crushed yellow pack of Red Apple cigarettes from his leather jacket pocket and lights one with a flick of his gold Zippo.

Dalton in a print ad for red apple cigarettes

Dalton in a print ad for red apple cigarettes

“Ever since I did those radio commercials they send me cartons of these. It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” Dalton says between drags while flashing his trademark squinty grin.

Dalton’s eyes light up with excitement as he talks about where his career is going next. It’s all part of his plan to follow in the footsteps of Steve McQueen, Jim Garner, and other TV favorites who made the jump to big Hollywood films.

It’s tough to shake the feeling that people will always see me as that one character.

Rick Dalton

Rick on the set of tanner

Rick on the set of tanner

Dalton in the fourteen fists of mccluskey

Dalton in the fourteen fists of mccluskey

“It’s tough to shake the feeling that people will always see me as that one character. Typecast they call it,” says Dalton. “But that’s what we all thought about Clint Eastwood till he put out Hang ‘Em High.”

Despite the tumultuous industry he’s involved in, the actor has vowed never to give up hope. “I’m stuck in this town for life whether I like it or not,” remarks Rick as he flicks his cigarette into the gutter.

Rick Dalton is here to stay

“I bought a house here. Owning Hollywood real estate means you’re not visiting, you’re not passing through. Rick Dalton is here to stay.”