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“Rich Man, Poor Man” star Susan Blakely reveals her biggest regret: “It was the dumbest thing I ever did”

Susan Blakely has had a decades-long Hollywood career as a sought-after actress and model, but the star regrets.

The 73-year-old starred as Julie Prescott in “Rich Man, Poor Man,” which also starred Peter Strauss, Nick Nolte and Ed Asner. The mini-series, which aired in 1976, won four Emmy Awards and 23 nominations.

But when “Rich Man, Poor Man – Book II” came along, Blakely decided to move on. The sequel continued without her from 1976 to 1977.

“It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever done,” Blakely recently admitted to Closer Weekly.

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Susan Blakely with Nick Nolte (left) and Peter Strauss in “Rich Man, Poor Man”.
(ABC Photo Archive / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

“They hadn’t signed us [for the sequel], so we could have literally asked for anything, “she explained.” The executives at Universal and ABC kept saying, ‘Susie, blank check. What do you want?’ I said no, it wasn’t about the money. I wanted to do other things. But when you have that kind of success, you shouldn’t turn your back on it. It was just the ignorance of the youth. “

Blakely also revealed that she got the part with the unexpected help of a big star.

“I had made a film called ‘Report to the Commissioner’,” she recalls. Carol Burnett saw the movie. She was friends with [producer] Harvey Bennett, and she told him he should throw me out. I never knew that later. Carol is one of my idols, but she never told me because she is so humble. She didn’t want to take credit for it. “

Looking back, Blakely described getting along with her castmates while bringing “Rich Man, Poor Man” to life.

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Susan Blakely has had a decades-long career as a sought-after actress.

Susan Blakely has had a decades-long career as a sought-after actress.
(Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

“Oh, I love Nick,” she exclaimed of 80-year-old Nolte. “He’s such an accomplished actor, but also a nice, fun guy. And Peter was fabulous – we reconnected recently. There were other leading men on this show who were also fabulous: Bill Bixby, as my character married, Ed Asner and Robert Reed. “

But the role that really captivated Blakely was that of Patty in “The Towering Inferno” from 1974. The Oscar-winning film had a star cast of Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Fred Astaire and Faye Dunaway, for n to name a few. Blakely noted that she accepted the project because Newman was committed to it.

“I was just in love with Paul Newman,” she told the outlet. “He was my biggest crush. So when I heard Paul Newman was in it, I said if he does, I do.”

Blakely said she was incredibly nervous on set, but the cast quickly put her at ease.

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The filming of Paul Newman "Imposing Hell."

Paul Newman on the set of “The Towering Inferno”.
(FilmPublicityArchive / United Archives via Getty Images)

“I had a fabulous time,” she said. “I got to hang out with William Holden, who was a wonderful man, and Fred Astaire, who was amazing… He was so humble and kind. I also met my husband on this set, but we didn’t get along at that moment. I remembered him when we saw each other later. “

Although she didn’t share many scenes with Newman, meeting the actor was more than enough.

“When William Holden said, ‘Susie, I want you to meet Paul Newman’, I looked at him and my heart started pounding!” she said. “He was the sexiest man, the best actor, and he turned out to be the nicest man too.”

Blakely also got along with Newman’s wife, Joanne Woodward.

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Steve Jaffe and with his wife Susan Blakely.

Steve Jaffe and with his wife Susan Blakely.
(Emma McIntyre / Getty Images for HFA)

“They were such a down to earth people,” she said.

Newman died in 2008 at the age of 83.

Today, Blakely is married to Steve Jaffe. She and the producer first said “yes” in 1982.

“… We have been through difficult times, but I know my husband supports me more than anyone I have ever known,” she said. “And I have his. Plus, every day he makes me laugh.”

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