So Long, Dietrich
I once worked in an office that had a very Barney Miller atmosphere. Instead of being filled with cops, it was filled with chemical salesmen. That may not sound like an amusing atmosphere, but when you’ve got the right mix of characters, it can be highly entertaining.
I earned the nickname “Dietrich” because I always seemed to be the one who knew the answers, from how to spell “phenyl phthalate” to Adolph Hitler’s middle name (Elizabeth). Dietrich was Steve Landesberg’s character on Barney Miller (1975-1982), a guy who didn’t know everything about everything, but knew enough about everything to be annoying. It was cool for us geeky know-it-alls to have a representative on a hit television series.
On December 20, 2010, Landesberg succumbed to cancer at the tender age of 65 (the older I get, the more tender golden years become). A frequent guest on television series (Law & Order, Ghost Whisperer, Everyone Hates Chris, The Golden Girls, The Rockford Files, Saturday Night Live, That ’70s Show, Cosby, Seinfeld, Dinosaurs, and many others), Landesberg had a familiar, distinctive voice known from his extensive work in voiceovers and commercials. His movie credits include Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Wild Hogs, A Lousy Ten Grand, King of the Corner, and more.
Steve Landesberg was a clever comedian with a laid-back persona who was a welcome and witty guest on the talk show circuit. His famous quote on honesty has been printed and repeated endlessly.
So long, Steve, thanks for the memories.