‘The Courtship of Eddie’s Father’ star Brandon Cruz says Bill Bixby deserves more recognition in Hollywood (2024)

‘The Courtship of Eddie’s Father’ star Brandon Cruz says Bill Bixby deserves more recognition in Hollywood (1)

Brandon Cruz (as Eddie), Bill Bixby (as Tom) on the ABC Television Network comedy "The Courtship of Eddie's Father." (Getty)

Brandon Cruz is determined to keep the legacy of his TV father alive.

The former child star, who appeared alongside the late Bill Bixby in “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father,” recently told Closer Weekly he’s attempting to raise funds to get the beloved actor a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.


Cruz, 56, said he was shocked the star wasn’t properly honored in Hollywood and can still vividly recall when he first learned Bixby didn’t have a star.

“I was with some friends and they asked me, ‘Where’s Bill?’” said Cruz. “I said, ‘I don’t know.’ We went to one of those kooky stores on the Boulevard that gives you a map of where the stars were. He wasn’t on it. How did Bill not have a star?”

Bixby passed away in 1993 at age 59 from prostate cancer. Throughout his lifetime, Bixby carved out a successful career in television, including three popular shows. At the time of his death, he was the director of the ‘90s sitcom “Blossom” starring Mayim Bialik and Joey Lawrence.

Bixby starred in the CBS comedy “My Favorite Martian” from 1963 until 1966, The New York Times previously reported. After that show went off the air, he ultimately moved on to “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.” That series, which starred then 6-year-old Cruz, aired from 1969 until 1972.


‘The Courtship of Eddie’s Father’ star Brandon Cruz says Bill Bixby deserves more recognition in Hollywood (2)

Bill Bixby (Getty)

From there, Bixby appeared on the NBC series “The Magician” from 1973 until 1974. And then Bixby went on to star in “The Incredible Hulk” from 1977 until 1982. He then returned to comedy for CBS’ “Goodnight, Beantown” from 1983 until 1984.

In addition, Bixby has appeared in numerous hit shows throughout his career, including “Fantasy Island,” “The Love Boat” and “Love, American Style” — just to name a few.

Aside from taking up directing duties for “Blossom,” Bixby also directed several episodes of “Rich Man, Poor Man” in the ’70s. And if that weren’t enough, Bixby was the host of the public television series “Once Upon a Classic” in the late ‘70s.

But Bixby’s life wasn’t always triumphant. The New York Times noted that in 1981, his 6-year-old son Christopher died of a throat infection. His former wife, actress Brenda Benet, committed suicide less than a year later.

Cruz stressed that Bixby’s numerous accomplishments in Hollywood are greatly overlooked today.


“Bill gave a lot of people their first break,” he explained. “He brought me on to ‘Courtship of Eddie’s Father’ and I was untrained. I was just a kid. Lou Ferrigno was just a weight lifter and yeah, a famous one, but he owes his entire career to Bill and ‘The Incredible Hulk.’”

Cruz decided to take matters into his own hands.

“More time went on and about two and a half years ago, almost three, I realized that GoFundMe existed,” said Cruz. “And that people were getting a lot of money raised really quickly to do different things. I thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to do a memorial for Bill and I want the fans to do it. I don’t want to involve Hollywood.’ …. I felt let down by Hollywood.”

Cruz originally auditioned for the role of Eddie Corbett on “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” when he was just 5 years old. He recalled Bixby setting the mood for the entire cast.

“James Komack was the producer and writer and co-star and director, but Bill set the tone of what went on the set,” said Cruz. “If Bill was happy, everybody was happy, because he was the easiest guy to work with when he was happy, and that was pretty much all the time. He was a very private guy, he didn’t let a lot out.”


“I remember his dad passed away while we were filming, and he walked right on the set,” Cruz continued. “Everybody was really quiet and he looked around and said, ‘Hey, we have a job to do. Let’s do it. If you want to talk to me afterward once we wrap, then we can talk. But right now, let’s work.’ And that’s the way Bill was. Private stuff was for private times.”

But Cruz insisted he got along with Bixby — who made an unforgettable impression on the child actor.

“He showed everybody how to treat other people nicely,” said Cruz. “A guy got fired on the set one day, and I don’t know what he’d done, but he was one of my favorite guys on the crew. I told Bill, ‘Hey, I really like that guy.’ And he got his job back because Bill wanted me happy. It’s just the way he worked. It was a big family and everybody loved working on that show.”

According to Cruz, ratings for “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” plummeted in the third season, which ultimately led to its cancellation. Cruz insisted it was Komack’s willingness to have the storyline focus more on his character Norman Tinker that led to the show’s demise.

“It was getting away from being about me trying to get Bill a wife and our relationship, and then the kooky characters around us, and it turned into the James Komack show,” Cruz claimed. “If you watch the last season, it’s a lot less about Bill and I and a lot more about Jimmy. I think because of that we lost viewers and we were canceled. It was pretty cut and dry.”

But even though the series came to an end, Cruz said he and Bixby stayed in touch until the end of his life. Cruz said he even earned several guest-starring roles on other TV shows Bixby worked on.

“In 1969 or ’70, Bill forgot my birthday,” said Cruz, “And the next day, he gave me a bicycle. I looked at him and said, ‘Oh, that’s very sweet, but my birthday was yesterday.’ The following January, the day after his birthday I called him, because it fell on a weekend, and that happened for the next consecutive 20-plus years; we called each other the day after our birthdays to say happy birthday. If I didn’t talk to Bill in a year, I would talk to him on his birthday or hear from him the day after my birthday.”

Cruz even described one comical memory involving his friend.

‘The Courtship of Eddie’s Father’ star Brandon Cruz says Bill Bixby deserves more recognition in Hollywood (3)

Actor Brandon Cruz participates in The Hollywood Show held at Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel. — Getty

“I was being driven to the set of ‘The Incredible Hulk’ by my grandpa, I think,” said Cruz. “I had some pot on me. I was in Bill’s motor home and pulled it out. I don’t know what I was going to do with it, but somebody started to come in the motor home. I jumped in the bathroom and thought, ‘I’ve got to stash this somewhere.’ I just pulled down the shaving bag that was sitting on the counter, unzipped it and in there were some pot and a pipe. I’m like, ‘Oh, perfect, I’ll just stash it in here with this.’ I went to the set, we did the scene and I couldn't get back to the motor home. Bill did before me.

“A couple of hours later he walks up to me and goes, ‘Hey, um, did you leave something in my motor home?’ I just looked at him and smiled and he said, ‘It’s better than mine,’ and he walked away. I was, like, ‘Oh, well, Bill’s cool.’ The next day I got back into the motor home and all of my good, green weed was gone, and he had this dirty brown s--- that was just … well, I thought Bill would’ve had better pot, but I had better pot than Bill.”

Cruz’s quest to preserve Bixby’s memory continues, reported Closer Weekly. His son Lincoln Cruz’s middle name happens to be Bixby, paying tribute to the late star.

“This is in memory of Bill,” said Cruz on getting Bixby a star. “This is not to publicize Bill. This is to honor Bill, which is a totally different thing. This isn’t for Bill’s rich friends to do; this is for the people that he actually meant something to.”

‘The Courtship of Eddie’s Father’ star Brandon Cruz says Bill Bixby deserves more recognition in Hollywood (2024)
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