Beacon Hill (TV series)
|Written by||Lionel Chetwynd|
|Directed by||Fielder Cook
Robin Mary Paris
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Robert Stigwood Organization|
|Original release||25 August 1975 – 4 November 1975|
Beacon Hill is a dramatic television series shown on CBS in 1975.
The show focused on the fictitious Lassiter family and their Irish servants who lived on Louisburg Square, in Boston's fashionable Beacon Hill area during the 1920s. It was considered to be an Americanized version of the popular British series, Upstairs, Downstairs, of which the premise was almost the same. The wealthy family lived upstairs, and the servants ruled belowstairs.
Beryl Vertue, who produced Beacon Hill, was a former literary agent of Jean Marsh who had been instrumental in getting Upstairs, Downstairs on television.
The show starred Stephen Elliott as Ben Lassiter, who worked as the "Gray eminence" at Boston City Hall and Nancy Marchand the Lassiter family matriarch, Mary, who was wealthy in her own right before marrying Ben. Other family members included Maeve McGuire as Maude Lassiter Palmer, the oldest daughter; Edward Herrmann as Maude's husband, Richard Palmer, a yachtsman who was pleasant, but very boring company; Kathryn Walker as Fawn Lassiter, the maverick, independent, and artistic youngest daughter; Michael Nouri as Giorgio Bellonci, Fawn's music teacher; DeAnn Mears as Emily Lassiter Bullock, the emotionally reserved (and somewhat snobbish) middle daughter; Roy Cooper as Trevor Bullock, Emily's husband who was a stockbroker; Linda Purl as Betsy Bullock, Trevor and Emily's daughter; Kitty Winn as Rosamond Lassiter, the "Plain Jane" daughter who resented being in the shadow of her more beautiful sisters, however, she proved herself to be a whiz at the family businesses; and David Dukes as the only son, Robert Lassiter, who was wounded (losing an arm) in World War I and was still traumatized by his injuries, which worried his parents and his sister, Rosamond, with whom he was closest.
The servants were Beatrice Straight as their head housemaid, Mrs. Emmeline Hacker; Susan Blanchard as Maureen Mahaffey, an under maid, and Emmeline's niece; Paul Ryan Rudd as Brian Mallory, Emmeline's nephew and the Lassiter family's chauffeur; Barry Snider as Harry Emmet, the former chauffeur, who was fired for stealing money from the Lassiter family, most notably Robert; George Rose as the Lassiter butler (and Emmeline's husband), Arthur Hacker; David Rounds as Terence O'Hara, Hacker's assistant; Richard Ward as William Piper, the family cook; Don Blakely as Grant Piper (William's son); and Holland Taylor as Marilyn Gardiner, Mrs. Lassiter's personal assistant/secretary. The premiere episode was a ratings success, but the ratings dropped drastically as the show went along, mostly because of bad reviews and word-of-mouth, and was soon after cancelled.
- Bart Andrews and Brad Dunning, The Worst TV Shows Ever (New York: EP Dutton, 1980), pp. 7-14