Thursday, October 22, 2009

Biltmore Follow Up

Boy, you learn something new every day. A Daily Meaux reader contacted us in response to the Biltmore story to let us know that Acadiana's own Hoyt Harris was in a movie that filmed at the Biltmore.

He writes:
"Todays article on the Biltmore reminded me of a bit of trivia. In 1979, the Peter Sellers film "Being There" was shot largely at the Biltmore. A young actor playing the role of Riff, a Secret Service agent, was none other than KATC's Hoyt Harris. A small but brilliantly acted part, rivaling Sellers himself! Well, small, anyway.

Thanks for the heads up Alan


  1. Alan was nice enough to remind us that Mr. Harris hasn't been at KLFY in years(my how the time flies!). The post has been edited to reflect this correction.

  2. Hoyt Harris has blogged about his experience working on BEING THERE. I believe he wrote about it on katc's "online community" section of the website. On that site, he blogs as "agentriff", the character he played in the Peter Sellers movie.

  3. I found the following on, where Hoyt Harris talks about being cast in BEING THERE:

    "BEING THERE was my first and last film. But what a film for a debut! While news anchoring at WLOS-TV in Asheville, N.C., I was cast by Hal Ashby himself to play Riff, head of the Secret Service detail that comes to the Biltmore House (stand-in for the Rand mansion in the movie) to "case it" before the U.S. president (Jack Warden) visits. As the only TV anchor/reporter in the cast, I had a "leg up" in getting stories for my newscasts. When the casting director called to tell me to be at the Biltmore House the next morning at 6--"for wardrobe and make-up"--I didn't dare call my bosses at the TV station for fear they wouldn't let me do the movie. I was going to be in this film if it meant quitting my day job. And now, some 27 years later, how glad I am that I am in it, if only in a small speaking role. All I had hoped for was to be chosen to appear an an extra in the funeral scene (they were casting several dozen locals) and wound up cast as a "day player" with my own dressing room, for God's sake. The high point for me was doing a TV report on makeup legend Charlie Schram, who had been the head of MGM's make-up department during its golden years, making up the likes of a teen-age Judy Garland, Ava Gardner, Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West in the "Wizard of OZ", among actors in many now-classic films. Being there is right; i.e. being at the right place at the right time, and, brother, was I ever!"