I have a confession. While my beautiful wife Kit will always be the love of my life, there was someone before her. His name is Anthony Andrews, and my secret love affair with him began decades ago.
In 1982, CBS broadcast a special movie event, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and my parents recorded it to add to their VHS collection. Years later I came across it. Some may think I was too young to watch its depiction of the Reign of Terror, but lo and behold! An all star cast! Who could deny their child the opportunity of watching this calibre of actors? Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame. Jane Seymour of Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman fame. Ian McKellen of Sir Ian McKellen fame. And, finally, our Scarlet Pimpernel, Anthony Andrews.
Housewives, if you’re unfamiliar with this tale of freedom, the Scarlet Pimpernel is a wealthy Englishman who travels to and from Paris, smuggling out French aristocracy doomed for the guillotine. He plays a fop in public in order to mask his identity as the Scarlet Pimpernel. Romance and betrayal and decapitation ensue. Watching as a child, this film taught me many life lessons: 1.) Democracy leads to poor fashion. Just look at those limp cravats. 2.) The guillotine doesn’t always result in one clean cut. 3.) History often paints aristocrats in a poor light, and 4.) Anthony Andrews is the dreamiest sword-fighting human-smuggler ever.
My love for Anthony only grew when I caught a rerun of the made-for-television movie Bluegrass. Cheryl Ladd plays a woman starting a Thoroughbred horse farm in Kentucky. Anthony is one of her love interests but ends up being a pawn for the movie’s villian. I loved him anyway. Cheryl Ladd didn’t.
Later, Anthony appeared in a triumphant episode of the lady detective series Rosemary and Thyme. He wooed Laura Thyme, but she decided to continue her (supposedly) platonic relationship with fellow detective and gardener Rosemary Boxer.
Obviously, Anthony received accolades later on with his performance in The King’s Speech. However, for me, he will always be my favourite coyote for rich people.