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What’s New?Vintage Press InformationAn ’Ironside’ Title and Airdate ListingOriginal NBC Stills ArchiveVintage Magazine Features’Ironside’ CollectablesEditorials and Analytical FeaturesLinks
What’s New?Vintage Press InformationAn ’Ironside’ Title and Airdate ListingOriginal NBC Stills ArchiveVintage Magazine FeaturesIronside’ CollectablesEditorials and Analytical FeaturesLinks
 LOS ANGELES HERALD-EXAMINER  •  TV WEEKLYJune 30, 1974  •  pp. 4-6 
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Whom Do You Trust?
Elizabeth Baur
Elizabeth Baur, policewoman on NBC’s “Ironside.”
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TV Editor
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Television will be busting out all over—please, no pun intended—with policewomen for the season of ’74-’75.
But, really, they’re old hat. Take Elizabeth Baur. She’s been a policewoman several years now as aide to Raymond Burr, the wheelchair wonder of “Ironside,” the Thursday night NBC crime unravelment, 9 to 10 o’clock.
“‘You don’t look like a policewoman’ is the comment I’m always getting,” she said, “when people who have seen me only on the screen, see me in person. ‘You’re so little. You look so much bigger on television.’”
“It’s just my superb acting. If you can develop an authoritative attitude, people think of you as being physically bigger. You act as though you know what you’re doing even though you don’t. That’s the way I do it.”
Those last few sentences were accompanied by peals of unselfconscious laughter. Elizabeth Baur is small, sweet and has a natural naturalness as opposed to naturalness cultivated as a style. Sweet isn’t an adjective sought after by an actress these days when the lady tough is the preferred posture.
But we mean it strictly as a compliment. She isn’t sticky or cloying. Just nice. Just pleasant. Just attractive. Not flashily so, but warmly so, even if somewhat shyly so. And she isn’t even trying. That’s the best part of it. No masquerades.
“An acting career,” Baur said, “isn’t what I thought it would be. I thought it would be glamorous. I thought everybody would be doing things for me. I thought everybody would want me. Wrong! And I thought everybody would consider my feelings as I would theirs. Wrong!
“I came into the picture business believing naively nobody was going to hurt me. But it was a terrible shock to find out the way it really is in this world. I was in a talent school at 20th Century Fox. I had some stock. I went to a stockholders meeting. People berated each other furiously. I thought, ‘Children wouldn’t do this.’”
She told us she had been asked by Richard Zanuck, then boss of the studio, to attend the meeting and make a nomination. She departed from the meeting and, analogically, from paradise.
Elizabeth said, “I trust everybody and believe everybody. I still do. It’s a quality I want to retain. To act is a believing profession. You’ve got to believe in the character you act. I’ve trusted people. But it has turned out that I really shouldn’t have done that. Yet, someone who acts needs to be sheltered, needs to retain that sensitivity and naivete.”
Baur informed us that interviews bothered her. She couldn’t ever feel that anybody actually would be interested in knowing about her opinions. She assured us she was therefore pretty bad at interviews while we decided she was pretty good for telling us she was pretty bad. She was only an actress in a TV show. Her attitude to that was, telling us she was pretty so what? So quite a bit. So, for instance this and this and this.
“Women are finally beginning to get roles in television drama,” she said. “They’ve been the leads in comedies. But never in dramas. There hasn’t been anything exciting about women’s roles in television. They’re not supposed to offend the male ago.
“That was the biggest worry about Jessica Walters when she guested for an episode on ‘Ironside’. One of our producers warned her, ‘Don’t come up too masculine, Jessica.’ Everybody was screaming at her, but she couldn’t scream back at anyone.”
She recalls that there was no excessive desire by her parents to impress her femininity on her when she was a child. Yes, she did have dolls, but doesn’t remember particularly paying much attention to them. What does remain in her memory is that her father, Jack Baur, the casting director, took her off to get her initial taste of golf when she was only nine years old. She thought she was a boy until she was 12, is how she facetiously states the early sex case.
Series Star, Raymond Burr
Series star, Raymond Burr
“I don’t know if television viewers will accept women out of the kitchen,” Baur said. “Men will be more offended than women. But some women will be offended, too.
“People go to a movie and pay to watch something that’s glamorous, that’s different from their lives. But they come to TV more for identification with their everyday lives, although television isn’t true to everyday life.”
She isn’t even slightly delirious about her progress as an actress. There are two aspects about a long-running series for a performer. There’s the security of a job in a time that isn’t a prosperous one generally for members of the profession. Then, there’s the fact of being plugged into one role season after season until nobody seems able to think of you as a differently fashioned character.
“I’m a little disappointed,” Baur said. “I ought to be farther along by now. I used to play an ingenue before I got into ‘Ironside’. It’s difficult for producers to think of you in a part that isn’t the one they know you for. They used to see me as an ingenue. Now. they see me as the kind of character I’ve played in ‘Ironside’.
“The part I play isn’t easy. I have to play it straight. It’s hard to make it sound exciting when my dialogue is, ‘The license number is XYZ4.’ There are no ups and downs. It’s emotionally easy to be very funny or very crazy or very dramatic. One guest, Kim Hunter, had a dual role. One of them was her sister. Her sister was crazy. I’d like to do that. I wouldn’t have to go crazy. I’m already there.”
She grinned. She reported that occasionally she was the comic relief on the show. It was a bore to play just straight and it was a relief to raise a laugh even if it came via some stupid remark lent her by the script.
“Don’t misunderstand me,” she said. “I love my work. I suspect it’s coming out all wrong. And the characters on the show love each other. If the chief is screaming at us, he isn’t screaming because he hates us. He’s screaming at us out of love.”
She associates herself with the current rumbles of the women’s marching to man—signals off!—to woman the barricades. While she agrees there are exaggerations in the bill of particulars, she calls them inevitable characteristics of all social movements.
“In every new course, or movement,” she said, “the pendulum swings way to one side. It will come back to the middle. Men I’ve dated think, though I’m an actress, I should eventually want to marry, have children, wash and scrub. They remember their mothers who took care of them.”
She let the pendulum swing back and confessed that it wasn’t the worst possible fate to be considered a sex object by a mere man. We departed, cheered that she hadn’t equated all the oppressors with “The Boston Strangler,” a film in which she emoted briefly.
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