"When I created 'Magnum, P.I.' I got thousands of letters from Vietnam veterans thanking me for portraying Vietnam veterans who were something other than killers and drug addicts and crazy and unable to function in society...they just loved it."
About This Interview
In his three-hour Archive interview, Donald P. Bellisario talks about his service in the Marines and his early years in advertising. He recalls his transition to film and television and describes landing his first television job as story editor and then producer on Black Sheep Squadron after submitting a script to Stephen J. Cannell. He details co-creating the hit series Magnum, P.I. - working with lead Tom Selleck, incorporating the Vietnam War into "Magnum's" background, and navigating the stunt work on the show. He comments on creating and producing Airwolf, and working with stars Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine on the series. Bellisario also discusses the creation of the sci-fi series Quantum Leap and outlines the parameters for which the fictional "leaps" occurred on the series, talks about leads Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell, and recounts the memorable episode about Lee Harvey Oswald (whom Bellisario had known in real life). He also speaks of his role in the long-running military-based series JAG and NCIS. Shelley Jenkins conducted the interview on April 28, 2008 in Studio City, CA.