ThunderCat Interviews: Jaga and Lynx-O
By Bill Taylor
Entertainment Tonight's Interviews with the Thundercats: Jaga and Lynx-O, the
Date of Birth: January 12, 1920
Date of Death: October 3, 1997
Place of Birth: London, England
Weight: 210 pounds
WHO HE WAS: Fans of THUNDERCATS remember Jaga as the ghostly
mentor of Lion-o, but Jaga had already made a name for
himself in the British Theater. In 1994, Jaga had these words to offer us about
his involvement with THUNDERCATS.
Jaga: Originally, they wanted me to be a regular on the show. I was supposed
to be in the suspension capsules with the
other Thundercats, and I would teach Lion-o how to rule and whield the Sword
of Omens. I turned them down, however, because I
thought the show was an outlandish thing that would hurt my career, even
though I was already clearly on my way to the end. I guess
there was also some greed involved, as they could not meet the hefty salary
demands I had worked myself up to over the years.
I turned down the chance to be a regular, and I have no regrets. The show
progressed just fine without my constant presence, it seems.
I don't think I really fit well into that category of entertainment anyway. Besides
that, the nudity in the pilot episode disgusted me.
Instead, we decided to have me sacrifice myself for the others to survive, and
have me reappear to Lion-o as a ghost. That sounded
very much like what Alec Guinness did in the STAR WARS trilogy, and I
wondered if we would be sued for it. I was not alone in my
When I first met Lion-o, he was very nervous. He was not an actor, although
for the shows purposes it did not matter. This line of work
was foreign to him, and he was not sure of himself. He was very much finding
his way the first year, he had to find himself within the
show. I remember Lion-o to be a very pleasant fellow to work with, quite
humble, never taking himself too seriously, but also a
determined, hard working young man. Having been selected to be the star of
the show, he felt a great weight on his shoulders, and he
felt he had to work up to some great expectations, although the producers and
writers did not require that much from him, in terms of
character development. In short, he was nerve wracked. My advice to him was
not to let the idea that the whole world expected him to
be perfect infiltrate his mind and his frame of thinking. Always relax, don't lose
focus of what you're doing. Worry about making it look
right in front of the crew, don't worry ab! ou! t how it will look when you see it
on a screen. Each time I went back for my guest shot the
first year, he would show signs of having improved, and by year two, he was
One thing people might like to know is that my son appeared on the show a few
times, in the flashback episodes. My son, Richard, also
an actor, told me how the show was such a big hit with his son, my grandson,
Simon, and how much it would mean to him if he could go
down and see the set. I agreed to try to set up a meeting in which Richard could
come down with Simon to see the sets and meet the
cast. I told everyone to be on their best behavior and not to use any profane
language. By sheer chance, the producers and writers were
trying to put together a flashback scene that day and the casting department
was looking for someone to play the younger me, when my
character was the Lord of the Thundercats, and when they saw Richard, they
asked us to stand side by side, and then they compared
a photo of me from my prime to Richard, and they asked Richard to do a guest
shot because Richard beared a striking resemblance! t!
o me when I was young. He was about 26 then. So in all the flash back
episodes, when the youngsters saw the young me battling the
forces of evil, that was actually Richard they were watching.
FACTS: Jaga was mostly known for his presence in British stage, having
appeared in ROMEO & JULIET, THE CRUCIBLE,
MACBETH, and HAMLET, to name a few. Jaga passed away October 3,
1997 of natural causes. He was 77.
Date of Birth: March 15, 1926
Date of Death: August 7, 1996
Place of Birth: Whales, England
Weight: 196 pounds.
WHO HE WAS: Like Jaga, Lynx-o was also a veteran of the stage. In year 2
of THUNDERCATS, the producers still wanted to
find someone who could be like a father figure to the Thundercats, and Lynx-o
was one of the first names to come up. Here is an
interview with the late Lynx-o, from 1995.
Lynx-o: They offered me the role that had been offered and turned down by
Jaga, the role of the fatherly Thundercat. Now I was
reluctant to take the role, not just because the show was for children, but also
because I had heard that the show's star, Lion-o, was an
incompotent idiot who couldn't act his way out of a paper bag and that the cast
was the rowdiest bunch you ever came across. But the
idea of playing a father figure sounded interesting to me, the producers realized
that and played it up, so eventually I said yes.
It's funny, Mumm-Ra actually got me the part. We had worked together on the
stage a few times, and when they were getting a new
cast together, Mumm-Ra had mentioned me to them, and they came to me
asking me if I was interested.
After I got to know Lion-o, I discovered that most of the rumors about him
were false, except for not being able to act.
Lion-o really had no acting talent, but that did not really matter, the show just
required him to be himself. A big, strong, nice guy
who would help out when he had to. He was actually a great person to work
with, he never really argued with you about how you said a
line, and he never stopped to brag about himself. The rest of the cast was also
great to work with. I'm told they were ordered to calm
down when I came by. I don't know if that's true or not, and I really don't care,
since we got along fine for the time being.
I occasionally got frustrated with the scripts and dialogue, since it lived up to it's
reputation of being ridiculously silly. But it was part of
the business, taking lumps like that, doing a job you agreed to do, no matter
what. That's really all there is to say about it.
FACTS: Lynx-o had worked with Mumm-ra before in a stage production of
DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE, which became a run away
hit at the theaters (guess who played who). Lynx-o had also worked with Jaga
in stage productions such as HAMLET and ROMEO &
JULIET, the latter being where they played the fathers of the warring
households. Lynx-o, a known smoker, died in 1995 of lung
cancer. He was 70.
Next up, the final installment of our interviews: Lion-o, A Thundercat To Remember.
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