15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Classic, MacGyver

Ever since the show first came out back in 1985, Agent MacGyver impressed us with his resourceful DIY inventions, from creating a rocket-powered harpoon gun out of cleaning fluid, mothballs, to a lie detector from a stethoscope and alarm clock. The classic series, which ran for seven seasons, turned Agent Angus Macgyver into America’s favorite science nerd. Here's a look back at the show, what was really going on behind the scenes, and little unknown facts you'd be surprised to find out.

Could These Absurd Inventions Really Work?

Well, it turns out that the producers kept most of Macgyver's inventions theoretically and physically possible, with one exception...when it came to mixing household chemicals and creating potions, they changed ingredients to something a little less invasive. Smart move, considering some crazy viewers might actually try mixing up these recipes at home. So the take away from all this, don’t take your chemistry lessons from MacGyver, it just wouldn’t work out!

Richard Dean Anderson In Real Life

Before his iconic role on MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson started his television career as a soap opera star, staring as Dr. Jeff Webber on General Hospital. However, acting wasn’t originally his life long dream. As a child born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Anderson always dreamt of becoming a professional hockey player. He developed an interest in music, art, and acting after he broke both of his arms.

Anderson moved to Los Angeles after college, working a series of odd jobs to say the least before his acting career took off. He was a musician in a medieval dinner theater, a street mime/juggler and in a marine mammal show. In 1985, Angus MacGyver became his claim to fame, and he said after the show was canceled that “MacGyver was seven years of being in virtually every frame that was shot and having absolutely no life at all.”

Richard Dean Anderson Post Macgyver


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After the show ended, Anderson starred in the two follow-up movies to the series. He later played the role as Jack O’Neill  in Stargate SG-1 from 1997 to 2005. Apparently, Anderson was handed the role, the president of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer called him up personally and asked if he wanted a part in the show.

Anderson is also very down to earth, with a surprisingly philanthropic side to him. He’s an avid supporter of various different charities including the Special Olympics and the Make-a-Wish Foundation, as well as many Sclerosis societies. Not only that, but he’s also a part of several environmental groups. Anderson has taken a break these days when it comes to work, as he’s busy being a father to his beloved daughter, Wylie.

How is Macgyver Connected To Happy Days?

By Henry Winkler, of course! The actor and producer, most widely known for his role as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli in the classic American sitcom became an executive producer on MacGyver along with John Rich.

Winkler had quite the precision when it came to casting, and without his expertise the show might've looked very different. When looking for the perfect "Agent Magyver" to play the lead, Winkler felt that every other actor “hulked” his way through the audition. Apparently, Richard Dean Anderson was the only exception, and Winkler convinced him to come audition for the star role after seeing his appearence in The Love Boat. Both producers knew right then he was the perfect fit, adding that "human touch" to the role that was lacking from other actors.

ALl Banged Up

As you may remember, MacGyver does a wild stunt in just about every episode, but you might be surprised to hear that rather than hiring stunt doubles, Richard Dean Anderson performed nearly all of his own stunts. Of course, being that dedicated to your role comes with a hefty price.


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“I won’t be jumping off buildings again,” Anderson told The Los Angeles Times. “My back has been compressed and operated on. My feet have been surgically cut up and I have a knee that’s just going wacky. So, I do my own driving, and I ski and skate. I’m playing hockey again. Anything that immobilizes my feet, I’m okay with." Maybe all that dedication wasn't worth it after all.