I love the way he says this:

Caller: “Have you ever considered going into acting, and if so, what kind of roles would you like to take part in?”  Benjamin: “I considered it… but nothing’s come my way…” (laughing) — Rockline interview, 1987

Well, we know of at least one opportunity he had, but it didn’t work out — dang it!

Miami Vice was a hugely popular television show from 1984 to 1989. It starred Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as undercover detectives whose job was to rid Miami of drug lords, sleazeballs, and other bad dudes. Unlike the normal fare in the ‘cops and robbers’ genre, Miami Vice skillfully threaded their episodes with cool clothing (starting a whole new fashion trend!) and cutting edge music.  The show often featured popular rock-and-rollers of the day, like Glenn Frey, Phil Collins, Ted Nugent, Gene Simmons, Sheena Easton, Power Station (and plenty of great actors, too)… the list goes on and on. It is a great tragedy that Benjamin Orr’s name is not on that list.

1985-09-06theromenewsmiamivice

Apparently Benjamin was scheduled for a cameo appearance on Miami Vice in 1985, but the day set aside for him to film his part was the same day The Cars were to appear on stage at Live Aid. Since he later mentions Live Aid as his most memorable experience with the band, I’m SO glad they did it. And their performance there is EPIC, one of the best… but , oh, how I would have loved to see him act! Could you imagine? His incredible looks, that low voice, his stony facial expressions; maybe even featuring a song with his vocals (a la Glenn Frey and Smuggler’s Blues)… it all seems so perfect for him! It’s a shame he never got a second chance.

Benjamin was asked a few times what he thought about acting. Here are a couple of other clips of his responses…

 

What do you think? What kind of roles would have liked to see him play — leading man, action hero, villain? Comment below or find me on Facebook!

15 thoughts on “Miami Vice: Missed Opportunity

  1. It says a lot that Ben can pull off not only being fashionable in an 80s sense, but also look 100% less goofy than those hosts. The one thing that honestly irked me about the Cars clip from Live Aid was that while they were putting on one heck of a great show, the footage kept cutting to the stupid jet in which Phil Collins was arriving. Who CARES?! My favorite bit of this interview above: “It’s terrific.” Yes, people in the Mid-West talk like that. A lot. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been reading your blog a lot the past 2-3 weeks. Thanks for all the inside information about Benjaman.
    So in one of the above videos, the one with the female asking the question. That voice sounds like the woman he was seeing, Diane. I watched a video of her showing jewelry she makes from beach glass and this just sounds exactly like her.

    Anyway my name is Debra and it’s nice to see someone with a shared obsession.
    PS: I just ordered one of those T-shirts that you had the link to the store. The one like Ben’s. Thanks. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Her voice certainly sounds similar, not exactly the same now that I listen again. I think it’s more the way she pronounced certain words. I watched Diane’s jewelry video several times because I make jewelry as well. So it was interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I wonder what his role in Miami Vice was going to be? An informant? An under cover long time cop friend of Sonny’s who after a brief reunion gets murdered under nefarious circumstances and they have to hunt down the cartel head who ordered it? A weaselly drug dealer they shake down for information? An innocent bystander who accidentally sees a deal go down or a murder take place and they need to protect him? That last one could have been particularly good I think, sometimes they can mix in a bit of comedy for the fish out of water element to go with the drama of the danger involved.

    It’s a shame he never really had another opportunity to do any acting. For some reason I feel like he’d have been good at it and I bet his down to earth demeanor would have made him well-liked on set and that can go a long way towards getting other roles here and there once you get that first “in” with some good people.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Just thought of something, has anyone ever looked at the early episodes of Miami Vice season 2? (Stupid question, probably EVERY Benjamin Orr fan who is interested has looked lol) Benjamin’s episode was obviously filming around July 12th/13th(probably a Friday into Saturday early morning filming schedule, aka “Fraterday”, thus Ben would have had to cancel because The Cars would need to rehearse at least a bit and he’d need to get some sleep and also a possible reason they couldn’t reschedule him to film another day), I’m not sure when Vice usually started their filming but if it started anywhere between June and early July, he would probably have been in one of the first 4 episodes.

    I just looked at a Miami Vice wiki and episode 4 was an episode where Trudy killed someone in the line of duty and decided to give a musician former boyfriend a call because she needed comfort and then it turns out his friend who owns the bar he performs at is dealing drugs so by the end of the episode they break up because he thinks she was just using him to make a drug bust. I believe Episode 2 had The Power Station as “the house band” in a club but that can’t be it because they, too, were at Live Aid.

    Possibly the best option is the season premiere where it ended up that Gene Simmons played a small but pivotol role as a guy named Newton Winston Blade, who was the “Sears Roebuck of controlled substances” and was able to get Crockett and Tubbs an intro with a big NY drug distributor(happened to be played by Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller). Purely an acting role, no music involved and something brief enough that it likely would have only taken a day of filming.

    Also though no dates are given from what I can gather from when Michael Des Barres joined Power Station(and his friendship with Don Johnson led to their cameo), and just the way John seems to place his brief mention of it in his biography it appears it was filmed after Live Aid, that was episode 2, so it seems like the Season premier episode Prodigal Son is most likely the ep Benjamin was supposed to be in.

    That is if whatever his role wasn’t just cut completely or went to a non-musician but unless Vice had an unusual filming schedule, it would definitely have to be one of the first few episodes because most Fall premiering shows start filming at the start of summer in June or July and depending holidays can film two or three full episodes in a month(usually about 8 days an episode)

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, I’m no good at writing articles but certainly if you want to use any of the info I posted as part of a follow up, go right ahead.

        I managed to find one more thing, finally found the filming dates, don’t know how I missed them the first time around, esp as in some ways it was the most important bit of info: Filmed: June 19, 1985 – July 15, 1985.

        So this does seem like it would have been the episode Benjamin was supposed to be in and Live Aid on July 13th was right at the end of filming. Still haven’t found anything regarding his role though so I don’t know if it was something they were able to just cut completely or if it was filled by someone else. I tried to see if I could find when Gene Simmons was hired on, like if he was a last minute addition or anything like that, but couldn’t.

        Most of this info came from the Fandom Wiki pages on Miami Vice. I just checked out the first few episodes of Season 2 to see if any of them seemed to fit. Prodigal Son was a 2 hour season premier which is why it had such a long shooting schedule.

        For what it’s worth Live Aid was announced on June 10, about a week before filming the episode started but I don’t know when The Cars actually got involved, Live Aid was adding acts almost up to the last minute. And a big hit TV show isn’t going to switch up their shooting schedule, they weren’t going to change things around. OR it’s possible his scene or scenes were scheduled to film earlier in the schedule originally and there was some reason the show had to change it and it ended up conflicting. If, and it is a big if, it was the role Simmons ended up with, I believe it took place on a yacht. They may only have been able to film at the certain time as I’m sure they were renting the yacht from someone.

        I’m trying to imagine Benjamin as a sleazy drug dealer on a yacht…if he managed to be convincing, it would have certainly been a testament to his potential as an actor. 🙂 (For some reason I have no trouble imagining Gene Simmons as a sleazy drug dealer on a yacht LOL)

        Liked by 1 person

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