When we think of movie presidents, one of the first that comes to mind is President Thomas J. Whitmore, played by Bill Pullman, from Independence Day (1996). There are few movie speeches as memorable and iconic as Pullman's famous 'we will not go quietly into the night,' speech which continues to resonate with people decades later.
But before he ever saved the earth from aliens, Pullman had his first ever breakout role on Cagney and Lacey in 1986. Appearing in the episode A Safe Place, Pullman played the role of Dr. Giordano. In the episode Cagney and Lacey had found him taking care of the thief they had been chasing, who had just been hospitalized after recieveing radiation poisoning from the plutonium he stole.
Reflecting on his first role in a recent interview with ‘Live Kelly and Ryan,’ Pullman said that he was just “so happy to get pay, cause [he] had been doing stuff for no pay.” While filming for the episode he also made a point to wear his father's shoes on set, who was an actual doctor.
“I always carry a pair of his shoes.”
Later that same year Pullman would get his breakout movie role in Ruthless People, and then his famous comedy role as Lone Starr on Spaceballs a year later.
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