‘Mission Impossible’ star Lynda Day George talks filming TV series, meeting Bruce Lee: ‘I was really blessed’
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Lynda Day George was the new girl when she joined the cast of "Mission Impossible" – and she quickly became family.
The series, which aired from 1966 until 1973, chronicled the adventures of a small team of secret government agents. It starred Peter Graves, Barbara Bain, Greg Morris, Peter Lupus and Martin Landau – just to name a few. It would go on to inspire the "Mission Impossible" film franchise led by Tom Cruise.
"Mission Impossible" premiered on Sept. 17, 1966. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
But the actress had already made her mark on television. Over the years, she appeared in some of the most iconic shows, including "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," "The Green Hornet" and "Wonder Woman." And at 76, George is ready for her close-up again.
Lynda Day George has appeared in some of the most iconic shows in TV history. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)
Fox News: Looking back, how nervous were you to join the cast of "Mission Impossible"?
Lynda Day George: The cast was wonderful. They were so kind and welcoming to me. I had no idea what to expect because the show was already established and successful before I came along. But they all put me completely at ease. I loved being around them. I felt right at home from the start.
Fox News: During the middle of the show’s run, you found out some very surprising news – you were pregnant. How did the cast react to the news?
George: Everyone was thrilled. They were willing to work around me and certainly made things a lot easier for me. I was really blessed to be part of such a wonderful show. I felt completely supported by a wonderful group. I couldn’t have been happier.
Fox News: You worked with your husband, Christopher George, in one episode. What was that like?
George: I loved it. I could still see Chris conversing with Greg [Morris] and just joking around. They had a great time working together. We felt completely at ease working together. There was no ego. Just joy. He was my precious person. Always will be.
Actors and spouses Christopher George and Lynda Day George, circa 1974. (Photo by Frank Edwards/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Fox News: What would you say has been the secret behind your marriage with Christopher? It sounded like you two were inseparable.
George: That’s true, we were. We completely trusted each other and had a great love. No matter what happened, we were there for each other. Chris was not a perfect person but he was my perfect person. We talked all the time. We always made time for each other. Of course, we had arguments and disagreements, just like anybody else. But we always found our way back to each other. We just absolutely loved each other. And I adored him.
"Mission: Impossible" cast members from left, Greg Morris as Barney Collier, Lynda Day George as Casey and Peter Graves as James Phelps, Aug. 2, 1972. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
Fox News: What ultimately caused "Mission Impossible" to end?
George: You know, I think people were ready for something new. And Peter Graves was reaching a point in his life where he wanted to be comfortable, be with his family, and do the things he didn’t get to do while he was working. I think everybody reaches a place like that at some point. It felt like the right time to end.
Fox News: You went on to reprise your role in 1989. What was it like working with Peter Graves again?
George: Oh, it was really fun. It felt like old times again. We always supported each other as a cast, as a family. So it was wonderful to experience it again.
"Mission: Impossible" cast from left: Lynda Day George as Casey, Greg Morris as Barney Collier, Peter Lupus as Willy Armitage, Peter Graves as James Phelps and director Leslie H. Martinson in an off-camera moment during the episode "Stone Pillow," Oct. 20, 1971. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
Fox News: In addition to "Mission Impossible," you’ve appeared in numerous iconic TV shows, such as "The Green Hornet." What was your impression of Bruce Lee?
George: He was a very quiet, lovely person. He was always driven to give his best performance as a fighter. And he was just absolutely beautiful when he did his performance. You couldn’t help but feel in awe. You knew you were witnessing something absolutely special. You just felt his passion at that very moment, this intense love. It was incredibly moving. But when he wasn’t working, he was kind and gentle. He was a beautiful person.
Lynda Carter and Lynda Day George filming "Wonder Woman" (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)
Fox News: And what about Lynda Carter in "Wonder Woman"?
George: Oh boy, did we have fun *laughs*. She is a wonderful person. We became friends very quickly on set. She was the star of the show but she was absolutely easy to get along with. And my gosh, she’s beautiful. She’s very nice and we bonded right away. We’re both Southern girls. We both lived in Phoenix. So it was a delight. We laughed so much filming our scenes.
Fox News: The "Mission Impossible" series inspired the film franchise. Have you seen any of the movies? What do you think of Tom Cruise’s performance?
George: Oh, they’re fantastic and Tom Cruise has been through it! *laughs*. I think they’re exciting and I love seeing what Tom can do. I think anybody who’s a fan of the show will appreciate the films and how fun they are to watch. What’s not to like?
Lynda Day George says she's ready to act again. (Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images)
Fox News: It’s also been said you’re ready to go back to acting.
George: I think every actor reaches a point in their lives where they want to go back to performing. We’ve learned new things about ourselves and the people around us, so we can see things that we’ve never noticed before, especially as we get older. And I have an awful lot of energy. And I’m excited about what I can do. I’d love to find out what’s next for me. Age should never stop you from pursuing your passions.
Fox News: What’s life like for you today?
George: Oh, I’m having a ball. I love spending time with my grandson. He looks so much like Christopher. I swear to you. I just look at him and can’t help but go, "Oh my gosh, this is powerful." He sounds like him. He even walks like him. It still shocks me. And I love having my daughter around me. She looks like me, but boy, she reminds me so much of her father. He’s very much a part of our lives… It’s a busy house. There are always things to do. And I’m not slowing down!