Pop culture Q&A

By Rich Heldenfels

Q. Who was the young actor who portrayed S.J. in the movie “The Blind Side?” He was quite a delight. Did he stay in the acting field?

A. Jae Head, who played S.J. Tuohy in the drama starring Sandra Bullock, has had a dramatic life off-screen as well. The Abilene Reporter News noted in 2011 that “born without an aorta, which distributes oxygenated blood to the body, Jae was given a 25 percent chance to live shortly after his birth Dec. 27, 1996. ... Doctors rerouted Jae’s bloodstream to where it bypassed his aorta. They also began a three-stage, three-year process of building an aorta, using his own pulmonary vein combined with body tissue from cadavers. Jae endured his first open-heart surgery when he was 2 months old and a second when he was 14 months old.”

There has been more medical treatment since then, but Head also has managed to become an active young man, and has pursued acting. Before “The Blind Side,” he had roles in the movie “Hancock,” the “Friday Night Lights” TV series and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” More recently, he was the voice of the title character in “Cody the Robosapien,” a film now on DVD and Blu-ray as a Walmart exclusive, and has worked on “Strings,” an upcoming movie with Josh Duhamel and Maria Bello.

Q. What’s happening with “Inspector Lewis?” It doesn’t look like it will be back. Also, before he was Inspector, he was Sgt. Lewis to the guy with the white hair, drove a classic (red) car and listened to classical music. Who was he?

A. Kevin Whately, 62, has played Inspector Robbie Lewis off and on since 1987, beginning on the police series “Inspector Morse,” which starred John Thaw as the classical-loving, Jaguar-driving Morse until it ended in 2000; Thaw died in 2002. The Lewis series was launched in 2006, and both Whately and Laurence Fox, who played Lewis’s sidekick James Hathaway, have grown weary.

Fox reportedly planned to focus on work in Hollywood after the end of the most recent “Lewis” season — which finished airing on “Masterpiece Mystery!” in June. Whately has said that, at minimum, he needs a long break. In an interview with the Daily Beast, the actor said, “I haven’t had a summer off for 31 years, which is half my life. So I want a year off for real.”

After that, he and Fox may be willing to do one or two “Lewis” specials a year, but even those cannot go on forever. “I don’t want to be still playing Robbie when I’m 70,” he told the Daily Beast, “because you have to retire from the police at 60, and everybody knows that. So, at some point soon, he’s got to stop. To be in the regular police force at 70 isn’t really on.”

That said, the “Morse” and “Lewis” franchise is not done; the new “Mystery” series “Endeavour” is a prequel focusing on the young Morse.

Q. My husband and I enjoy watching reruns of “The Golden Girls.” We saw an episode where Dorothy married, I believe, Blanche’s uncle. Everyone was at the church and happy, even Dorothy’s ex-husband, Stan. She later had a hard time saying goodbye to everyone. Was this the last episode? If not, how did it finally end?

A. The episode you saw was indeed the series finale of “The Golden Girls,” and the last appearance by Bea Arthur as Dorothy. However, after that series ended its NBC run in May 1992, CBS premiered a spinoff, “The Golden Palace,” with more antics from Blanche (Rue McClanahan), Rose (Betty White) and Sophia (Estelle Getty) and a supporting cast including Cheech Marin and Don Cheadle. It had the three friends owning a small, unsuccessful hotel in Miami Beach. The series was not successful either, ending after a single season in 1992-93.

Do you have a question or comment for the mailbag? Write to the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309 or rheldenfelsthebeaconjournal.com. Please mark the email or envelope with “mailbag.” Letters may be edited for publication. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

2013 Akron Beacon Journal

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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