Denny’s Daily Zinger: Why I Hate Actors – The Gandhi-Candy Botch

Three of these actors ruined their shows/movies for Denny.

Gandhi-Candy 30 years ago
In 1983, I spent 3 hours 11 minutes watching “Gandhi” in a movie theater. Ben Kingsley was Gandhi. He won a slew of best-actor awards all over the world, including the Oscar and Golden Globe.

I was deeply absorbed in the film. In a crowded room someone announced the great LIFE photographer Margaret Bourke-White was coming to take a portrait of the Mahatma.

Whereupon Candice Bergen entered carrying an outsized Graflex camera.

“What the hell is Candy Bergen doing here?” I kept saying to myself.

Every time she showed up, I was jerked out of India and into 1983.

The 18th century poet and critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge said that for a work of art to be successful, it must create a “willing suspension of disbelief.”

Yeah it was a movie, but I really-truly believed I was in India. Until Candy Bergen trashed the whole thing.

Fast forward to 2013-2014
I got hooked on “Downton Abbey” (PBS) and “The Good Wife” (CBS).

The casting is brilliant. I believe every one of those characters is the real deal.

Shockingly, two of the leading actors—Dan Stevens from “Downton Abbey” and Josh Charles from “The Good Wife”—had their characters killed off, and the actors promptly blabbed their backstories to the media.

The believability was blown.

Actors should keep their damn mouths shut.

Takeaways for Direct Marketers

  • “A letter should look and feel like a letter.” —Dick Benson
  • “In the marketplace, as in theater, there is indeed a factor at work called ‘the willing suspension of disbelief.'” —Bill Jayme

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Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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  • Tim Orr

    Good afternoon, Denny!

    Interesting topic. I’ve had the same experience with famous faces (I say famous faces because sometimes the effect happens with celebrity endorsers, not just actors).

    Very few actors have the ability to act so well (or under-act so well) that we forget who they are and become absorbed in the character instead. When I saw Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie," I truly, at times, thought I was watching a woman. In "Rain Man," I forgot he wasn’t autistic. Etc.

    The answer might seem to be to use more newcomers or more unknowns, but would they be able to act? I don’t know the answer.

    Best regards!