“The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” was a unique TV series with heartwarming stories about a widower father and his young son. Co-star Brandon Cruz, who played Eddie n that series, has started a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for series star Bill Bixby. “This is all about Bill,” Cruz said in a phone interview. “I don’t have anything to promote. I don’t have a book coming out. This isn’t about me. It’s about Bill and my admiration, respect and love for the guy. And the fact that nobody’s even thought to nominate him.”
Cruz says he named his son, Bixby, in honor of the actor and he is doing this as an individual and without any backing. “I don’t have a big PR push behind me. I don’t have lawyers, a roomful of people with big ideas. I just thought, ‘Hey, I want to get Bill a star. Let the fans do it for him. That would be amazing.’”
He said the genesis of the idea came at a meeting with the late Johnny Grant, known as the honorary mayor of Hollywood. “I was ignorant to what it took. Johnny let me know a little bit about it. After he was gone, I didn’t know much more than I knew when he told me about it. And then the subject would come up once in a while during an interview. ‘Bill doesn’t have a star, but I’m sure he’ll get one.’”
The GoFundMe site has a goal of $35,000. The funding as of press time stood at just over $3,588. The deadline for donations is May 31. On the GoFundMe site, Cruz wrote, “Bill deserves this honor, and I think that the fans making it happen will make it even more special.” Fans raising the money for the Walk of Fame sponsorship is not unheard of. Ana Martinez, spokesman for the Walk of Fame, tweeted April 25 that fans of actress Barbara Bain, who is to be awarded a star April 28, 2016, raised the money for her honor.
The cost of a Walk of Fame ceremony is $30,000. According to the Hollywood Walk of Fame FAQ, besides the cash, an application also must be submitted and accepted before the celebrity is awarded a star. But the majority of honorees each year are for living celebrities. For 2016, only three posthumous stars were in the list of 26 that was announced last June. It’s an issue that now also faces those who want to honor Prince, who not only doesn’t have a star on the Walk of Fame, but also has never been nominated.
Bixby made his TV debut in “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” in 1959. He went on to star in several series, with his best-known work coming on “My Favorite Martian,” “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” and “The Incredible Hulk.” In the later stages of his career, he worked at being a director, going behind the camera for such shows as “Blossom,” “Goodnight, Beantown,” “Wizards and Warriors” and “True Confessions.” He also co-starred in two Elvis Presley films, “Clambake” and “Speedway.” The actor died in 1993 at age 59 from prostate cancer.
The cast of “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father,” which lasted three seasons from 1969 to 1972, included Bixby, Cruz, Miyoshi Umeki, Kristina Holland and James Komack, who was also the show’s producer. The show’s bouncy theme, “Best Friend,” was written by the late Harry Nilsson (“Everybody’s Talkin’”). Cruz said he came to know him and some of his friends, who included the Beatles, Micky Dolenz of the Monkees and singer-composer Randy Newman. “Working with Bill wasn’t work,” Cruz says. “We just were very natural together. He never wanted me to ‘act.; He wanted me to be me, a six-year-old with questions, a looking for answers.”
Cruz says Bixby doesn’t have many relatives now. “(He) has no family left, having lost his wife and son long ago, and his mother and aunts, as well. There are a couple of cousins, and they have donated. I, as his TV son, promise to honor my friend and mentor. All of the money will go to making this happen,” he said. “I put together the GoFundMe by myself. I’ve seen it (GoFundMe) work for other people and other things. I haven’t reached out to the studios and to like Ellen (DeGeneres) and Oprah (Winfrey) who I know love the show. I wanted to keep this kind of grass roots.”
Above all, Cruz says, Bixby deserves the honor. “Bill was a really caring guy. He knew that my home situation was less than desirable. He really became a father figure. I’ll never forget what he did for me.” You can get the show on DVD here.