After years of building a TV career on shows like Battlestar Galactica and All My Children, actor Richard Hatch is none too happy about suddenly sharing his moniker with the winner of CBS's wildly popular Survivor series.
"I have to tell you, it feels very violating," the actor tells TV Guide Online. "We forget there are other people with our name and somehow we feel an ownership with our name. Honestly, this is one of the strangest experiences that's ever happened in my life and I'm having to deal with it."
Recently, the actor's own voice-over agent called and asked him to sign an autograph for a secretary who mistook him for the Survivor star. "I said, 'Are you kidding? He's from Rhode Island ? he's not an actor! He's 39 years old; we're 15 years difference in age! I have a son who's 33 years old!' "
The thesp is particularly concerned with what effect the confusion will have on his lecture business (www.richardhatch.com). When he's not busy acting ? he'll star opposite Michael Madsen and Brad Dourif in the independent film The Ghost later this year ? he gets paid to speak at various corporate and social functions. Well, it just so happens that Survivor's Richard Hatch, a corporate trainer, also is a mainstay on the lecture circuit. "If people are marketing me to a group at their company, how do they explain to all these people that I'm not that Richard Hatch?"
Hatch takes some solace in Screen Actors Guild rules that do not allow union actors to share the same name, which probably explains why the Survivor winner and instant celebrity went by the name "Rich Hatch" during a taping of Hollywood Squares on Saturday. (As of Monday, no Rich Hatch had been registered with SAG.)
Despite the Survivor star's burgeoning Hollywood career (in addition to Squares, he'll be a presenter at the MTV Video Music Awards), actor Hatch says it remains to be seen whether or not his namesake will be able to extend his 15 minutes of fame. "What sustains somebody in a fame area is somebody who, in a sense, has abilities in those areas," he says. "Most times, in these cases, somebody can be an interesting personality but slowly but surely they move back into the course of their own life.
"I would think that Richard's primary mandate for himself is that he's a trainer," he adds. "Ultimately, fame fades fast. Not because someone's not special but because unless they really have a career path and really want to be in this business, they ultimately move back to what they love doing. I'm sure that he will move back to what he loves doing within the next three to six months."