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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 17:28 GMT
Gould's envy of rich Friends
The BBC's Sarah Montague met actor Elliott Gould
The BBC's Sarah Montague met actor Elliott Gould
Hollywood actor Elliott Gould - who plays the screen father of Ross and Monica in hit comedy Friends - has told the BBC's HARDtalk programme that he is jealous of its stars' pay packets.

Gould, who started out as a chorus line dancer before making his name on Broadway, also told presenter Sarah Montague this feeling was widespread among others who work on the show.

Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer will each be paid $1m (700,000) per episode to record a ninth and final season of the show.

When I was asked to play the father to Ross and Monica it's because I wanted to integrate with newer and younger people.

Elliott Gould
"We must be honest that each of us is a little bit envious in our own way in terms of the workers like myself and the rest of us who work, participate and contribute, but don't make that kind of salary," he said.

The deal, with Warner Bros and broadcaster NBC, puts the show's six stars among Hollywood's highest-paid actors.


However Gould does not regret taking on his role in the series, calling it a "privilege" to work with new talent.

Friends' female stars are famed worldwide
Friends' female stars are famed worldwide
"When I was asked to play the father to Ross and Monica, it's because I want to integrate with newer and younger people," he said.

"I believe I have something to offer."

The Hollywood veteran is currently starring in Las Vegas heist movie Ocean's 11.

The film also stars Hollywood heart-throbs Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon.

But Gould rejected criticism that the film, a remake of the 1960 Rat Pack original, is nothing more than eye candy.

"It's pretty, pure entertainment. It's a throw back to the kind of picture that doesn't get made anymore," he said.


Gould was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the 1969 film Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, and starred in the film version of M*A*S*H.

But he admitted he had made some wrong choices in his career.

"I more than admit that I had no judgement and I had no perspective," he said.

Barbra Streisand
Gould was married to Barbra Streisand for eight years
"I also was desperate and I would do whatever I could do in order to make a living, in order to continue to support myself and my family."

Gould was famously married to actress and singer Barbra Streisand in 1963, but they divorced after just eight years.

"I was very young, she was very young and we went as far as we could together," he said.

He denied rumours that the marriage came under strain when Streisand's career began to take off.

He also shared his fears on growing old in Hollywood.

"It's pretty daunting when you start to feel your joints and you know you are getting physically older, but my mind isn't old," he said.

You can see the HARDtalk interview in full at the following times:

BBC News 24 (times shown in GMT)
21 March 0430, repeated 2230

BBC World (times shown in GMT)
21 March 0430, repeated 1130, 1630, 1930, 0030

Eliott Gould
"We must be honest that each of us is a little bit envious in our own way."

Review, interviews, clips, quiz and more Five star hit
BBCi Films' special section on Ocean's 11
See also:

12 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Friends reunite for final series
15 Feb 02 | Reviews
Ocean's 11 is plain sailing
15 Feb 02 | Reviews
Ocean's 11: Your views
10 Dec 01 | Film
Clooney's crooks oust Potter
07 Dec 01 | Film
The man behind Ocean's 11
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