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|First appearance||"Sliders, Part One"|
|Last appearance||"The Exodus, Part II" (chronological)
"The Last of Eden" (airdate)
"The Seer" (cameo)
|Created by||Tracy Tormé
Robert K. Weiss
|Portrayed by||John Rhys-Davies|
Professor Maximillian P. Arturo (often called the Professor, or simply Professor, or occasionally Max, during the third season) is a fictional character on the science fiction television show Sliders. He was played by John Rhys-Davies.
Maximillian P. Arturo was born in Great Britain during the early 1940s. (His driving licence, shown in "Summer of Love," indicates that his birthdate is September 23.) When he was a young child, his aunt's house was bombed by the Luftwaffe while he and his mother were staying there. Both Arturo's mother and aunt were killed. His only memories of this incident were his mother's dead body being pulled off him. Since his father was fighting in India at the time, there was no way for Arturo to be identified, so he was put in an orphanage. After the war ended, Arturo's father came to get him ("Season's Greedings").
Arturo served in the British Army as a young adult. After completing his service, he moved to the United States, where he pursued graduate studies in physics, and met fellow student Christina Fox, whom he later married. Christina died of a brain aneurysm when she was 27 ("Eggheads"). Arturo had a son; however, it is not revealed in the show whether or not Christina Fox was the mother ("Into the Mystic"). At the beginning of the pilot, Arturo was Regents professor of cosmology and ontology at the fictional California University.
As a travelling companion, Arturo was arrogant, hot-tempered, and pompous, often referring to people who failed to meet his expectations as "blistering idiots." But he was not without a soft spot, particularly toward individuals he perceived as kindred intellects. Having been estranged from his son before he began sliding, Arturo had expressed that he wished Quinn were his son. Arturo was somewhat resentful of Quinn, jealous of Quinn's greater intelligence, as well as the fact that Quinn (and not Arturo) invented sliding.
In 1996, when the Sliders mistakenly believed they had landed home, Arturo's double attempted to impersonate him. Quinn, Wade, and Rembrandt never knew whether they took the right Arturo sliding with them or not ("Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome"). Later that year, Arturo was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and attempted to stop sliding. He continued to slide because Quinn needed him, and Quinn was more fearful of his friend and mentor's death than Arturo himself was ("The Guardian"). In mid-1997, while on an alternate Earth that was to be destroyed by a pulsar, Arturo was shot by ruthless Marine Colonel Angus Rickman. Rickman initially tried to shoot Quinn, but Arturo took the bullet for him. His last words to Quinn were, "Get them [Rembrandt and Wade] home . . . Sliders" ("The Exodus, Part Two").
Since the Sliders never determined which Arturo they took in "Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome," it is possible the original Arturo from Earth Prime is still alive, as Rembrandt said at the end of the episode, "We've got an Arturo and we don't even know which one!".
The professor made a brief cameo in the last episode "The Seer" portrayed by Anthony Genovese.
In the episode "Into The Mystic", Arturo expresses strong opposition to the ideas that any supernatural phenomena (such as psychics) around the Sliders were real. He believed that all that is perceived as "supernatural" is an illusion designed to fool the simple-minded. However, in the episode "Obsession," Arturo found it interesting that a psychic saved the life of the world's Abraham Lincoln.
In the second season episode "Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome", the vortex had opened on Quinn's front lawn as the Arturos had a showdown. Quinn wanted to "take them both (and) sort it out after we slide," but one of the Arturos said "Like hell we will," and attacked his counterpart. After a brief scuffle, one of the Arturos slugged the other one and jumped into the vortex alongside Quinn. Once the vortex closed, the remaining Arturo said "Oh my god" with a worried look on his face.
When it was left as a possibility that a double of Arturo's had slid instead of the Earth Prime Arturo, controversy has been generated among fans about which Arturo actually slid. In an interview done in 2009, the show's creator, Tracy Tormé, stated that he intended that the Arturo who slid should not be the original Arturo. But due to Tormé losing control of the show and John Rhys-Davies leaving the following year, this issue was never resolved.
In the DVD audio commentary on the Sliders pilot episode, series creators Tracy Tormé and Robert K. Weiss revealed that the character of Maximillian Arturo was very nearly played by actors other than John Rhys-Davies — Hector Elizondo was in fact the producers' final choice for the role prior to auditioning Rhys-Davies, but ultimately passed, due to the filming location. At one point, Elizondo went on a late-night talk show and mentioned that "I [would be] doing Sliders right now, except for one word: 'Vancouver'."
Also on the DVD commentary, Weiss and Tormé reveal that other actors who were considered for the role included Ricardo Montalban and David Ogden Stiers (who was reportedly one of the chief finalists).