RoboCop premiered in July 1987. Thirty years later, audiences are still marveling at its violent brilliance. It also predicted a few things, such as Detroit going bankrupt (the Michigan city filed for bankruptcy in July of 2013), the rise of super-powerful corporations, and facial recognition software. Were you one of the 2,718 backers to donate over $67,000 to the RoboCop statue in Detroit? Would you buy that for a dollar? If so, we are here for you!
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Did you know that parts of the movie were not filmed in Detroit, but in Texas? Were you also aware of the bizarre scene symmetry that the film possesses? If you add in the deleted scenes, the last scene mirrors the first scene, the second scene mirrors the second to last scene, and so forth! Who was the genius behind that idea? Was it Danish director Paul Verhoeven? The writers? Which cast member went on to play a doctor on television, and which member received an actual doctorate in Italian Renaissance Art History and Roman History? Your prime directives are to serve the public trust, protect the innocent, uphold the law, and to celebrate the 30th anniversary of RoboCop by asking: where are they now?
15. NANCY ALLEN
Officer Ann Lewis was the partner to both Alex Murphy and to RoboCop. She went above and beyond the call of duty to protect his life and preserve his humanity. Lewis was played by Nancy Allen, who went on to co-star in the two sequels to RoboCop. She would also make appearances on such television shows as Touched By An Angel, the reboot to The Outer Limits, and The Commish in 1995.
She also appeared as Helen White on the TV show Judging Amy and Christine Ogden in the TV series The Division. Nancy Allen has retired from acting, with her last roles in the long-running television show Law&Order: Special Victims Unit in 2003 and the film My Apocalypse co-starring Corin Nemec and John de Lancie.
14. KURTWOOD SMITH
RoboCop had many adversaries in the film. He frightened his fellow police officers, his creators at OCP sought to control him, and the gang that killed him the first time wants to do it again. However, none of the villains were as cruel and sadistic as Clarence Boddicker.
Can you believe that Kurtwood Smith initially auditioned for the role of Dick Jones? Verhoeven cast him as Boddicker partially due to his resemblance to Nazi Heinrich Himmler. Which is Smith more famous for: his role in RoboCop or playing Reginald “Red” Forman on That ’70s Show? He was also Senator Blaine Mayer on 24, the voice of Commissioner Gordon on Beware The Batman, and Vernon Masters on Agent Carter. Smith can be heard as the voice of Angry Old Raisin in Pig Goat Banana Cricket.
13. MIGUEL FERRER
After a tragic mishap in which enforcement droid ED-209 kills an employee at Omni Consumer Products, Bob Morton takes advantage of the chaos and pitches to “The Old Man” his idea for cybernetic law enforcement. In a flash, RoboCop is born, but unfortunately the same greed and ambition that got him the best deal of his life also assists in his downfall.
Miguel Ferrer’s portrayal of Morton was so charismatic that the writers had to tweak his character to reflect his performance. In 1990 and then again in 2017, Ferrer played FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield in the cult television show Twin Peaks. Ferrer gravitated towards playing law enforcement officers on television, because he also played Lieutenant Felix Valdez in the 2001 series The Protector as well as Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles. Ferrer passed away at the age of 61 in 2017.
12. PAUL MCCRANE
Emil Antonowsky (played by Paul McCrane) was a thug that worked for Clarence Boddicker. He also has one of the best character demises in all of film history: his car drives into an inconveniently placed tank of toxic waste. He crawls out of his car a mutated mess and winds up exploding when Boddicker accidentally drives his car through him.
McCrane followed Ronny Cox to the ill-fated Cop Rock, where he played Detective Bob McIntire. He decided to switch from hurting to healing when he played Dr. Robert Romano on the long-running medical drama ER. He also appeared as Graem Bauer on the TV series 24 and as Josh Peyton in the NBC series Harry’s Law. He was Patrick Walters in the 2015 Stephen King adaptation Under The Dome and in 2017 played Carey in the Netflix comedy Take the 10.
11. JESSE D. GOINS
You may not know all of Clarence Boddicker’s henchmen by name, but you can distinguish Joe P. Cox from the others by his distinctive, hyena-like laugh. Jesse D. Goins played a cop as well as he did criminal. In 1988, on the nighttime soap opera Dynasty, he played Detective Jack Lyons. He later played FBI Agent Shaw in Patriot Games, the 1992 sequel to The Hunt For Red October.
Goins also played a cop on an episode of Seinfeld in 1992, on Dharma & Greg in 1997, a detective in a 2002 episode of Ally McBeal and a 2009 episode of Desperate Housewives. In Scandal, you can see Goins as the Chief Justice of The Supreme Court. Although we are glad that he is on the right side of the law, we certainly do miss that cackle of his. Good night, sweet prince!
10. ROBERT DOQUI
Sergeant Warren Reed had the daunting task of trying to be a police officer working for an underfunded Detroit Police Department. Omni Consumer Products took control of the Police Force and added RoboCop to their ranks. The Sergeant was happy to get the help but also scared of a cyborg on the force.
DoQui played Sergeant Reed in all three RoboCop films. DoQui made appearances on iconic television shows in the ’80s and ’90s. He played a teacher on Picket Fences, and Judge Isaacs on Party of Five. He played a minister on ER, and even the Klingon responsible for taking care of Worf’s brother after his memory was wiped on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Besides acting, DoQui served for 10 years on the Board of Directors in the Screen Actors Guild. DoQui passed away February 2008 at the age of 73.
9. LEEZA GIBBONS
Jess Perkins, along with Casey Wong, delivered the news intermissions that happened between some of the scenes of RoboCop. They reported on the state of world and covered such stories as a laser cannon in space misfiring and incinerating 10,000 acres of land, and the South African government threatening to detonate a neutron bomb.
Jess Perkins was played by Leeza Gibbons, who was a co-host for the show Entertainment Tonight from 1984 – 2000. In films, she has had the easy role of playing herself! She played herself in the 1991 comedy Soapdish, the 1992 Robert Altman film The Player, and in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The Last Action Hero. She was the executive producer and co-host of America Now, which ran from 2013-2014. In 2015, she became the winner of Celebrity Apprentice and in 2017 co-hosted the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.
8. PETER WELLER
When Detroit police officer Alex Murphy is killed in the line of duty, he is resurrected by Omni Consumer Products as the cyborg RoboCop: half man, half machine, all cop. It’s kind of unfair that actor Peter Weller is not only RoboCop but also the lead in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. For those Trekkers loving Ronny Cox in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Weller was John Frederick Paxton in Star Trek: Enterprise, as well as Admiral Marcus in the 2013 reboot sequel Star Trek Into Darkness.
Weller played Christopher Henderson on 24 and Stan Liddy on Showtime’s Dexter. In the FX series Sons of Anarchy he played Charles “Charlie” Barosky and Dr. Paul Vellek in the 2017 TNT series The Last Ship. Did you know that in 2014, Weller received a PhD in Italian Renaissance Art History and Roman History? Literally too cool for school!
7. FELTON PERRY
Donald Johnson was one of the many people working at Omni Consumer Products. He was bossed around by Dick Jones and Bob Morton but when Jones is killed by RoboCop at the end of the film, he expresses the joy that everyone feels by standing and giving RoboCop a big thumbs up.
Johnson was played by Felton Perry, who played the Johnson character for all three RoboCop films. In the third film, the character is promoted to Vice President of Omni Consumer Products. Perry would play law enforcement officers in such tv shows as L.A. Law and Hooperman as well as the 1994 film Dumb and Dumber. He also played Sheriff Bumper on The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Perry played a politician on The West Wing and a doctor on the television show Judging Amy in 2002.
6. CALVIN JUNG
Steve Minh (played by Calvin Jung) was one of the many thugs in Clarence Boddicker’s gang. He met his demise during RoboCop’s raid on the drug factory, but his death inadvertently saved the life of hyena-laughing Joe P. Cox. Jung has worked consistently in films and on television, but early in his career performed in The Chickencoop Chinaman, the first play produced by a major New York Company written by an Asian American.
Jung played Detective Ng in the 1998 sequel Lethal Weapon 4 and a doctor in Degrassi: The Next Generation. He also played a Chinese Mobster in an episode of How I Met Your Mother. Jung has an uncredited appearance in a 2015 episode of Last Man Standing. Jung also co-directed and wrote the short film Ayana in 2013.
5. RONNY COX
One of the many enemies that RoboCop has to face is Senior President of Omni Consumer Products Dick Jones. Although he has video footage implicating him in crimes, Directive 4 prevents RoboCop from arresting Jones. After playing Dick Jones, Cox starred in the strange television experiment Cop Rock, a weekly TV musical that focused on police officers. Trekkers also recognize him as Captain Edward Jellico, who commanded the Enterprise for two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
He also played Alex Pierce in the 2001 series The Agency and was Vice President Robert Kinsey in the TV show Stargate SG-1. Not only that, but he appeared in two episodes of the second season of HBO’s True Detective in 2016. It gets harder every year to see him acting, because Cox, over the years, has spent far less time acting and more on music. He now plays over 100 shows each year with his travelling folk band.
4. DAN O’HERLIHY
Known only as “The Old Man,” he is the Chief Executive Officer of Omni Consumer Products. His dream was to tear down Detroit and turn it into Delta City, with his desire to make a profit always trumping any opportunity for him to be humane.
O’Herlihy was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in 1955 for his role in Robinson Crusoe, and would later be one of several actors from RoboCop to have starring roles on the David Lynch television show Twin Peaks. He also provided his voice talents for Pirates of Dark Water and Batman: The Animated Series. Let’s also give him a shout out for playing the reptilian Grig in the 1984 cult classic The Last Starfighter. Who knew that was him underneath all that makeup! O’Herlihy passed away in 2005 at the age of 85.
3. RAY WISE
Leon Nash was a henchman for Clarence Boddicker who was with him until the very end. Using a crane, Nash dropped several steel beams on RoboCop’s head, so he got some decent offense in there! In the end, though, it was RoboCop’s partner that took out Boddicker’s partner with a high-powered gun.
What’s the deal with David Lynch poaching from RoboCop? Ray Wise is the third actor from RoboCop to have had a starring role on Twin Peaks. Wise played Laura Palmer’s father, Leland. He also was on several soap operas, including Knots Landing, The Colbys, Dallas, and The Young and the Restless. He was Ed Baxter on Mad Men as well as Hugh Jones on Agent Carter. Wise just returned to the relaunch of Twin Peaks in 2017 and also in 2017 starred in The Chain and Malevolent, co-starring Morena Baccarin and William Shatner.
2. EDWARD NEUMEIER & MICHAEL MINER
Co-writer of RoboCop Edward Neumeier came up with the idea of the movie by inverting the premise of the 1982 film Blade Runner. Instead of cops hunting down human-like robots, a human-like robot is hunting down human criminals. The idea meshed well with Michael Miner, who coincidentally was working on a script about a police officer who becomes a robot. The two paired together to write the iconic 1987 script.
Neimeier and Miner also were writers on the 1990 sequel RoboCop 2. Neimeier would re-team with Paul Verhoeven, with Neimeier serving as the writer for the 1997 bugfest Starship Troopers. The 2014 remake of RoboCop was adapted from an unfinished draft written by Neimeier and Miner. In 2017, Neumeier wrote the third sequel to Starship Troopers subtitled Traitor of Mars. Miner wrote the sequel to Anacondas called The Hunt for the Blood Orchid.
1. PAUL VERHOEVEN
After making several films and tv shows in the Netherlands, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven made his American cinema debut with RoboCop, starring the aforementioned Peter Weller. Verhoeven directed the film after his wife insisted that he do it. Initially he thought the script was unintelligent and almost turned down the job!
Who thought that a person who graduated from school with degrees in math and physics could make such ultra-violent films in the 1980s and ’90s? After directing RoboCop, he followed the movie with the equally violent Total Recall. His hard R-Rated film streak continued with Starship Troopers in 1997. He switched from extreme violence to explicit sexuality with the film Basic Instinct and the NC-17 rated film Showgirls. His 2006 film Black Book was the most expensive Dutch film ever made and was voted in 2008 the greatest Dutch film of all time. Currently he’s working on the film Blessed Virgin, a movie that (surprise, surprise) has mature, sexual themes.
Who was your favorite character in RoboCop? Post your comments below!
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