Bruce Boxleitner co-stars in the 1980 TV-movie that spawned a franchise.
Free for you to view on Hulu.com: Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, the popular 1980 TV-movie – inspired by Rogers’ smash-hit 1978 song – that spawned four sequels over a 14-year period.
Rogers stars as Brady Hawkes, a Wild West cardsharp who sets out to meet the son he never knew he had. During his journey, he befriends Billy Montana (Bruce Boxleitner), a novice gambler who needs to learn when to hold ‘em, when to fold ‘em, when to walk away – and when to run.
In a 2011 interview with C&I, Rogers admitted that, despite his success in the Gambler franchise and other movies, “I never really wanted to be an actor. It’s like I told somebody the other day: ‘There are actors, and then there are people who can act.’ You give an actor unbelievable dialogue, and they can make it believable. If you give me believable dialogue, I can keep it believable. There are a lot of people who can’t do that.
“There’s a great story about an old western actor who went to join a Beverly Hills country club. They told him, ‘We’re very sorry, sir, but we don’t let actors in here.’ And he said, ‘I’m no actor — and I’ve got 42 movies to prove it.’ That’s how I feel.”
Still, Rogers has fond memories of playing cowboy in the first Gambler film. “I loved riding the horses,” he said, “and I loved being out in the West. And being in gunfights where I knew I couldn’t really get shot. It was a great time, and I’m so glad that I did that.”