Rich Man, Poor Man Miniseries

Rich Man, Poor Man Miniseries Cast

Series Description

Rich Man, Poor Man was actually two dramatic miniseries that both aired on ABC. The first one was called "Book I" and the second "Book II". Book I was about the lives of two brothers who emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1945 after the end of World War II. They were broke and literally had nothing but the clothes on their backs when they reached America. One of the brothers (the rich man) was well-educated and was determined to become wealthy in the land of opportunity. The other brother (the poor man) didn't have the same intellect, drive, or ambition and decided to earn his way in the world with his fists as a professional boxer. The storyline continued by showing 20 years of struggle resulting in huge economic and political success for one brother and utter failure in every aspect of the other brother's life. Book II continues but changes direction somewhat in that it mainly concentrates on the rich brother's problems in his political and personal life and with problems that confront him from his past. The sons of the two brothers are also featured and, in many ways, their paths reflect the success and failure of their fathers but even the rich man's son has many difficulties in life despite having his dad's drive and ambition.

Rich Man, Poor Man Cast

Book I:

Peter Strauss .... Rudy Jordache
Nick Nolte .... Tom Jordache
Susan Blakely .... Julie Prescott Abbott Jordache
Edward Asner .... Axel Jordache
Dorothy McGuire .... Mary Jordache
Bill Bixby .... Willie Abbott
Ray Milland .... Duncan Calderwood
Robert Reed .... Teddy Boylan
Kim Darby .... Virginia Calderwood
Gloria Grahame .... Sue Prescott
Craig Stevens .... Asher Berg
George Maharis .... Joey Quales
Lynda Day .... Linda Quales
Steve Allen .... George Nichols
Norman Fell .... Smitty
Talia Shire .... Teresa Sanjoro
Van Johnson .... Marsh Goodwin
Dorothy Malone .... Irene Goodwin
Kay Lenz .... Kate Jordache
Murray Hamilton .... Sid Gossett
Mike Evans .... Arnold Simms
Dick Butkus .... Al Fanducci
Fionnula Flanagan .... Clothilde
Tim McIntire .... Brad Knight
Lawrence Pressman .... Bill Denton
Dennis Dugan .... Claude Tinker
Jo Ann Harris .... Gloria Bartley
Roy Jenson .... Pete Tierney
Anthony Carbone .... Lou Martin
Ed Barth .... Papadakis
Herbert Jefferson, Jr. .... Ray Dwyer
William Smith .... Arthur Falconetti
Andrew Duggan .... Colonel Deiner
Helen Craig .... Martha
Gavan O'Herlihy .... Phil McGee
Harvey Jason .... Pinky
Leigh McCloskey .... Billy
Michael Morgan .... Wesley


Book II:

Peter Strauss .... Senator Rudy Jordache
Gregg Henry .... Wesley Jordache
James Carroll Jordan .... Billy Abbott
Susan Sullivan .... Maggie Porter
William Smith .... Arthur Falconetti
Dimitra Arliss .... Marie Falconetti
Penny Peyser .... Ramona Scott
John Anderson .... Scotty
Peter Haskell .... Charles Estep
Sorrell Brooke .... Phil Greenberg
Cassie Yates .... Annie Adams
Kimberly Beck .... Diane Porter
Peter Donat .... Arthur Raymond
Laraine Stephens .... Claire Estep
Barry Sullivan .... Senator Paxton
Kay Lenz .... Kate Jordache
Philip Abbott .... John Franklin
George Gaynes .... Max Vincent
Ken Swofford .... Al Barber
G. D. Spradlin .... Senator Dillon

Rich Man, Poor Man Trivia

This TV series was based on the 1970 novel; "Rich Man, Poor Man" by Irwin Shaw.

Rich Man, Poor Man was the first hugely successful TV miniseries that was adapted from a novel and broadcast on TV over several weeks time. Its success opened the door for other literary works that were to massive for a two hour movie adaptation to be offered to mass audiences in a video format. Other miniseries like "Brideshead Revisited", "Roots", "Shogun", and "The Thornbirds" soon followed and the format has continued with shows like "Band of Brothers".

The Rich Man, Poor Man miniseries won four Emmys and was nominated for an additional nineteen!

The miniseries also won four Golden Globes. Peter Strauss and Nick Nolte both got nominations for "Best TV Actor in a Drama" along with Telly Savalas (for "Kojak") and Lee Majors (for "The Six Million Dollar Man") but they all lost to Richard Jordan (for another miniseries, "Captains and the Kings").

Peter Strauss became an extremely sought after actor after Rich Man, Poor Man ended. In addition to going on to star in Book II he did many guest appearances on TV shows, starred in several TV movies, starred on the "Masada Miniseries", and starred in two short-lived TV series, "Moloney" and "Body & Soul".

Nick Nolte became a movie superstar. ABC wanted to rewrite the scripts for Book II so that Nolte could return for those episodes but Nick refused. He had already landed a few movie roles and chose to pursue a career on the big screen. In fact, after Book I ended, Nolte didn't appear in a role on TV again for 32 years, mostly because he was too busy making 53 movies!

Bill Bixby not only co-starred on Book I, he also directed several of the episodes in Book I and II. Like many actors who have a starring role on a successful TV series, Bill started directing a few episodes on his series, "The Courtship of Eddie's Father". Bill kept busy as a director right up until his death in 1993 when he was directing on the series, "Blossom". Bill also kept acting until his final days.

Episodes List With Original Air Dates

Rich Man, Poor Man: Book I

2 Hours Each Week:

Part 1 (2/1/1976)
Part 2 (2/8/1976)
Part 3 (2/15/1976)
Part 4 (2/22/1976)
Part 5 (3/8/1976)
Part 6 (3/15/1976)

Rich Man, Poor Man: Book II

1 Hour Each Week:

Episode 1 (9/21/1976)
Episode 2 (9/28/1976)
Episode 3 (10/5/1976)
Episode 4 (10/19/1976)
Episode 5 (10/29/1976)
Episode 6 (11/9/1976)
Episode 7 (11/16/1976)
Episode 8 (11/23/1976)
Episode 9 (11/30/1976)
Episode 10 (12/7/1976)
Episode 11 (12/21/1976)
Episode 12 (12/28/1976)
Episode 13 (1/4/1977)
Episode 14 (1/11/1977)
Episode 15 (1/18/1977)
Episode 16 (2/1/1977)
Episode 17 (2/8/1977)
Episode 18 (2/15/1977)
Episode 19 (2/22/1977)
Episode 20 (3/1/1977)
Episode 21 (3/8/1977)

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