Geoffrey Blackpool in Unicorn of Death (1_157)

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Higgons, Jenny. "New Faces: Frontier Man." US Magazine 20 March 1989: 53.

 

Frontier Man

 

Tim Dunigan is a vision in coonskin as TV's new Davy Crockett


As a kid, Dunigan coveted his cousin's coonskin cap: "I wasn't allowed to touch it." Now he's got his own.

 

The man who's made coonskin caps cool again in the revival of Davy Crockett doesn't need the gym for a workout. "In Davy, you run up the mountain and you run down the mountain, and run into the river and run out of the river, jump into a hole and fire a gun," says Tim Dunigan of the part Fess Parker made famous. Dunigan, 33, beat out over a thousand actors to land this backbreaking role on The Magical World of Disney's rotating schedule.

Luckily, Dunigan has plenty of athletic prowess to call upon. He's an avid golfer and softball player. Costar Gary Grubbs says, "He looks like a deer running through the woods." And early in his career, he combined singing with slapstick in the Spike Jones Jr. band. "Comedy is a challenge," Dunigan says. "It's easier to make them cry than make them laugh."

Simpler still, though, was working offstage, so he studied theatrical lighting at Maramec Community College in St. Louis. But fate struck a la 42nd Street: "Somebody got sick and I went on for him."

Thus began the typical actor's life: repertory theater, amusement-park shows and the obligatory waiter job. Soon Dunigan moved to L.A. and landed the part of "Face" in The A-Team pilot. But he was deemed too young and, at six five, too tall for the series, so Dirk Benedict stepped in. "I was devastated," he says. "I'd never been fired from any job in my life from acting to dishwashing."

A string of bad series followed, including Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. On its Canadian set he met production secretary Terry MacLean, whom he wed last December. "She was the first person I met when I walked in," Dunigan says. "She started yelling about Americans and acid rain and I thought she was really cute. I had to ask her to marry me about 50 times because she and her 5-year-old-son, Justin, would have to move to L.A." But he says, "She's wild for me. I'd be a fool to give that up."

As for his acting career, a true jock never says die: "I'd give it all up today if I could play first base for the St. Louis Cardinals."

 


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