Ted Danson: My Wife Has a 'Sick Kind of Love' for Will Ferrell, Kirstie Alley Will Do 'Great' on 'DWTS'
By Nicki Gostin Posted Mar 22nd 2011 03:00PM
Danson tells PopEater that being a celebrity in the early 1980s was "not very different from being a 5-year-old in a room full of adults. Everyone is focused on you ... I needed to focus on something outside myself." Thankfully for us, that something was cleaning up our polluted oceans. He also shared with us his thoughts on how 'Cheers' co-star Kirstie Alley will fair on 'Dancing With the Stars,' how "green" he really is and his wife's "sick" relationship with Will Ferrell.
How green are you?
I'm greenish. I am always slightly embarrassed when it comes to us and what we're doing. We drive hybrids, we eat pretty good local. We're pretty good about what fish we eat. Carbon footprint is probably the biggest thing.
My big beef is with celebrities who preach being green and then take private jets.
Oh, I wish I had that dilemma.
So you don't take private jets?
No, but I have in my day. It would now be a conscious moral choice. We shouldn't be taking them.
So someone offers you a seat on a private jet to Martha's Vineyard...
I would leap at the opportunity and then probably somehow pull myself back from the brink.
So would you step on and then get off?
Can I look at the interior, please? I am not Ed Begley Jr. He is my hero. He walks the walk. I tend to sometimes talk more talk than walk.
This book is the real deal.
It really is the real deal. Everyone worked very hard to put it together, and I think it came out great.
How did you become interested in ocean conservation?
My father was an archeologist, and I grew up in a scientific community. Even though I was busy playing with my friends, I think something sunk in a little bit about stewardship. Flash forward to the 'Cheers' years and paying me a lot of money and feeling like, now I better become responsible. That all coincided with moving into a neighborhood that was in the middle of a fight to keep Occidental Petroleum from drilling 60 oil wells right along the beach in Santa Monica. And the fellow who was leading it and I became great friends. We succeeded in defeating their attempt, and out of a kind of naivete, I thought he and I will start this ocean advocacy group. And low and behold, it actually turned into a really respected staff of people in DC and LA. Then, about 10 years ago, it merged into Oceana, which is now the largest single ocean advocacy group.
So it kind of started off innocently, and I think because I'd been surrounded by it and couldn't change my mind and go, "OK, I'll see you later," I'd created an organization. I've been lucky enough to hang out with some incredibly bright scientists who dedicate their lives to this cause. I'm the guy who stands in front of the tent and says, "Thank you for watching 'Cheers.' Please come inside and listen to these amazing scientists."
Ever feel a little dumb talking to the scientists?
A little dumb? Oh my God, I sweated through this whole book. I felt like it was Sunday night and I had not written my college paper. As soon as I declared I was going to write it and I had a lot of help, I felt like, now I have to be the expert and I'm not. I'm an actor who knows a lot about oceans.
Ever get depressed by the enormity of the task?
Hopefully we've created a book that is solution-oriented. Yes, we spend time saying this is what is going on, and yes, we are literally at a tipping point for our oceans where we could conceivably fish them out commercially if we continue to do the damaging, wasteful kinds of fishing that we do. That's not going to happen, and here's why the world needs to do this, this and this, and you as an individual need to do this and this.
My wife [Oscar-winning actress Mary Steenburgen] said the most important think you can do is to tell people to go to the ocean, play in the water and then have a great fish dinner and remember how much you love the oceans and why, so you come from a place of joy, because if you come from a place of "Oh my God, this is overwhelming," you will not do anything, or you'll feel lousy doing it. So I truly believe you need a light heart.
Did you realize you were the butt of a lot of the jokes on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'?
No, I didn't. One season, I was the butt of the whole season, and I had no idea. He [Larry David] was doing a scene with Lucy Lawless, and they were talking in the street and they see me, and my job is to walk by them and say, "Hey," and they say, "Hi." I got to my mark sooner than I should have and overheard them saying, "Oh God, I hate him he's such an a**hole" on camera, and I thought, "What?"
He's my friend. This year, standing in our guesthouse in Martha's Vineyard, where he stayed for free for like two months, he informed us that we were not going to be part of the next season. I said, "If that's true then I'm going to get on every show I can and tell them that you are a has-been and my manager tells me not to go on his show because it's peaked and it's on the way down so please quote me."
Your career has been chugging along quite nicely as of late.
I love 'Bored to Death.' It's a dream come true. It's injected a little life. That and 'Damages,' and begrudgingly I'll say 'Curb your Enthusiasm.' I'll begrudgingly admit that Larry David turned my career around.
How do you think Kirstie Alley will do on 'Dancing With the Stars'?
She's a great dancer. She'll do great.
Is the Museum of Natural History your favorite place to visit?
No. I grew up cleaning cases at my father's museum. He was the director of the Museum of Northern Arizona, and one of the first jobs I had was to wash off fingerprints on all the glass cases. When I get into a museum, I get a little antsy. I love them, but I don't have the staying power.
Do you have fingerprints marks on mirrors at home?
Yes! Mary can always tell when I'm a little bit emotional because I start cleaning like mad. I clean, I sweep, I vacuum.
You know your wife is pretty fabulous.
Oh God, I know. Thank you.
Are you worried that there's something going on between her and Will Ferrell. They do an awful lot of movies together.
Let me just put this in the hopper -- every movie that makes a crap load of money she's been in. I think they may be doing 'Stepbrothers 2.'
You can tell me if anything is going on between them.
Yes, there is, but it's very sick. It's a sick kind of love. You know what? They are probably two of the most trustworthy individuals on the planet. It's kind of fun to joke about them.
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