Every 80s kid who followed MacGyver only wished they could be as smart, creative, inventive, resourceful and ingenious as their favorite problem-solver, secret agent Angus “Mac” MacGyver. With just a Swiss army knife, a duct tape or any other rubbish lying about on the floor, MacGyver could improvise his way out of impossible, dangerous and near-death situations (but hopefully, ’80s to ’90s audiences didn’t attempt to do these MacGyver “hacks” at home!)
From 1985 to 1992, MacGyver entertained action-hungry TV audiences; since then, it has become a big part on American pop culture. Endearing MacGyver parodies on SNL, a 2016 reboot – even the name “MacGyver” itself has become a verb! Check out other amazing MacGyver facts:
1. What was MacGyver’s original name?
His first name, which is Angus, was not revealed until the show’s seventh season. But it was not his original name. If you happen to see Paramount Pictures’ press release of the series, you can see the name “Stacey MacGyver” – which sounds indeed unfit and too girly for actor Richard Dean Anderson’s tough character. The name was reportedly taken from a pilot script, but it was never used in the series.
2. Henry Winkler was MacGyver‘s executive producer.
Henry Winkler, who gained fame as Fonz in the 70s sitcom Happy Days, produced MacGyver with John Rich as Henry Winkler-John Rich Productions.
3. Richard Dean Anderson got the title role for a particularly unusual reason.
As he was reading for the role in the MacGyver auditions, Anderson reached to get his reading glasses. Apparently, Winkler thought this humble gesture to be humanizing. It proved that Anderson wasn’t just some tough guy in Hollywood but someone that everybody could relate to, so Winkler thought Anderson was the perfect actor to play MacGyver.
4. MacGyver used a gun a couple of times.
What makes Angus MacGyver a unique action hero is that he hated firearms and avoided them as much as possible. However, he did use a gun twice in the series, including the pilot episode where he was seen armed with automatic weapon specially developed for a long shot.
5. The pilot episode was so bad that the producer wanted his name out of the credits.
It’s not so shocking that even successful TV shows were off to a bad start. MacGyver‘s co-producer John Rich thought that the 90-minute pilot episode was awful. He didn’t like it so much that he asked for his name to be taken off from the credits.
6. Richard Dean Anderson actually learned a few tricks from the series.
It seems that Anderson’s MacGyver spirit rubbed off on him. One time, Anderson got locked out of his house so he used a bench to break the front window.
7. Richard Dean Anderson is exactly one year older than MacGyver.
There had been some debate around MacGyver’s actual birthday – some said January 23 while others insisted March 23. However, the confirmation came in the episode “Every Time She Smiles,” where his passport listed his birthday as January 23, 1951. Richard Dean Anderson’s actual birthday is January 23, 1950.
You can call that a crazy but perfect coincidence! It seemed Anderson was really destined to play MacGyver, don’t you think?
8. MacGyver was not allowed to have a girlfriend.
While there’s no denying that MacGyver was a handsome guy and most fans swooned over him, they didn’t allow him to have a girlfriend on the series. At one point during the show’s third season, a potential love interest was introduced, but fans voiced their disdain over the series’ change of pace. Poor Mac, he wasn’t able to have some love life!