Co-Executive Producer, and Series Creator “Fortune Hunter
August 13, 2003
Fortune Hunter episodes were very tough to shoot in seven days. There was a lot of action, not much time, and a budget less than 1.3 million per episode. Mark was in almost every scene, and did some of his own stunts as well. He was a tough, athletic guy who never complained about the grueling pace of the show’s production. He was truly a class act, and a professional.
I remember one especially tough night during the filming of “The Aquarius Intercept” which we shot at Epcot. We had the location from midnight until about 6am, and there was just too much to shoot. After several hours of shooting — with Mark wearing a very hot “wet suit” — we still had to finish a lengthy fight sequence in which Mark had to beat up several bad guys, before jumping into an aquarium tank to perform the equivalent of the heimlich maneuver on a choking manatee.
Unfortunately, Mark had a touch of the flu at the time, and though he insisted he was fine, he briefly passed out at the end of the fight sequence with a frighteningly high temperature. As he was attended to by paramedics, he came to, groggily insisting that instead of treating him, he would appreciate the paramedics helping him walk to the manatee tank so he could shoot the next scene (no, we didn’t let him do it!)
Between the 7pm “family hour” time slot, and the low budget, the show never really had a chance, but Mark gave every ounce of himself to try to make it work.
My partner and I cast Mark for the pilot. I remember the day we brought him to read for the network as his final audition. He walked into this big intimidating room full of hard-ass network brass and there wasn’t a smile in the room (they all wanted an American for the role). He nodded at everyone politely… and then, as if intimidated, turned and walked out. A moment later he came back in with a big smile on his face, and everyone had a good laugh.
I worked with Mark five days per week for about seven months. He was a great guy, and a great professional. Charming, athletic, daring… larger than life.