Production assistant “Fortune Hunter”

September 09, 1998

I can tell you that the show’s executive producers were — from my experience as their assistant — thrilled to have Mark, and that Mark seemed to be equally as enthusiastic about landing the role of Carlton Dial in “Fortune Hunter”.

Beth Darnell (my wife) was an assistant manager at the luxury apartment community where Mark lived during the filming of the thirteen episodes from April to November of 1994. Although I had the chance to see him quite a bit in the production office, one of my favorite stories about Mark comes from Beth.

The shows shot all over the place, maximizing Central Florida locations from EPCOT to Wekiva Springs. It all led to a very busy schedule for Mark, and as it happened, just after the show was picked up, Mark’s son was born. Just as he was getting settled into his role as a primetime action star in his new apartment, his wife and new son (?) arrived from England. Beth describes it: “It was in the evening, right before I was leaving to go home, it had to be 6 or 6:30 They needed an extra key. So I knocked, and he answered the door. He was in his robe… they were obviously relaxing for the evening. And he had the baby leaning against his shoulder, he was holding him with one arm. The baby was asleep. I whispered, ‘Here’s the key!’ and he whispered, ‘Okay.’ He looked happy and relaxed and quiet, with his little baby.”

Right before the show aired, I passed him one day in the hallway. I’d been reading the scripts, reading the reviews and watching some dailies that looked incredible. The first promos were hitting the air, and they used my favorite quote from his character from the entire show. When the beautiful vixen in his suite told him the bellboy had let her in, the shot of Mark is simply gorgeous, and his delivery divine: “Hooray for the bellboy…” Anyway, I’d been watching all this happen right before my eyes, and I’d heard many stories like the above from Beth.

So again, this is before the show had aired, and it was all looming right there before us. We walked toward each other down the corridor of the production’s Universal Studios offices, and each of us had a smile. “You must be excited,” I sort of blurted out, and then had to keep going, “this show’s so great, you’re about to become a big star,” I enthused.

And he just looked right into my eyes and smiled. “Thanks,” he said, and he held up a hand as we moved past each other.

He always had a smile for people. I think he was happy at the time we made the show, and he managed to share that with many of the people who had the pleasure of working with him.

Hope that gives you some idea of the type of person he was.