Richard Hatch visits Edinboro University

Contributed Photo
Richard Hatch is widely known for his role as Captain Apollo in the original ‘Battlestar Galactica.’
A special guest on campus

By Karlee Dies
Staff Writer/Spectator

It was a beautiful fall morning. The leaves were a wild array of red, orange and green and the sun was shining, providing warmth, especially to a special guest on campus that day who resides in California.

“It’s absolutely beautiful here. It’s just stunning,” he said having never been to this area before.

Richard Hatch came to visit Edinboro University on Thursday, Oct. 16.

Hatch has starred in films and series such as “Battlestar Galactica,” “Star Trek,” and “All My Children.”

The university helped sponsor his visit to the Eerie Horror Film Festival so he came to see Edinboro the day before as a “thank you.”

Complete with a black leather jacket, blue jeans, and a very caring, inviting personality, he told me his story.

Hatch started out in college taking a liberal arts course and focusing mainly on sports. He wasn’t sure what career path he wanted to take but was considering architecture.

According to Hatch, the only open, required English elective for him was an oral interpretation class, which was, “a class where you had to get up in the front of the room and of course it was filled with all of the actors in school. I thought ‘oh my god what am I going to do?’”

Hatch said, it wasn’t until an article written so powerfully about the Kennedy assassination came to his attention that his failing status in the class began to change.

“Normally, whenever I was going to get up and speak, everyone would go to sleep because here comes Richard Hatch, you know, and I could barely speak English because I would get so nervous and was so quiet and couldn’t make eye contact, all the wrong things. They were all kind of checking their papers, whereas if it were today, they’d have been checking their phones. Everyone was tuned out waiting for the five minutes to be over.”

When he started reading the article, it was like the “Dead Poet’s Society,” said Hatch, “It was very quiet and nobody heard me. I was mumbling and then all of the sudden, I just started getting really affected by the material and after a few seconds, I started raising my voice and becoming articulate. I started making eye contact. By the end of it, everybody was blown away. I couldn’t believe that I had delivered this speech. After it, everyone was like ‘oh you should be an actor’ and I thought no, it’s not for me.”

Little did Hatch know, this would be a life changing moment for him. He started taking acting classes with the likes of Jack Nicholson.

Watching these aspiring actors do various exercises like dealing with insecurity, communication, and exploring your imagination, it sparked an interest in Hatch.

“It was kind of scary but compelling…I did this scene from ‘This Property Is Condemned.’ It took me about nine months to get over my inhibitions where I could actually be heard, intelligible to where someone could actually see what I was doing. It was the first time on stage that I was relaxed enough that I actually connected to the scene and the character,” said Hatch.

He never felt as though a life in acting was for him but the more he got into the class, the more he thought maybe he should.

“I got into more plays and then finally went with a theatre company to New York. I started living in a one bedroom studio and doing one act plays and poetry and Shakespeare. Finally, an agent saw me at one of our local performances and wanted to pick me up. Then I auditioned for ‘All My Children’ when it first started and it was me Susan Lucci and Erica Kane. There were four kids and I was the first children of ‘All My Children,’” he said.

He went on to audition and was cast in many shows, plays and musicals.

“Battlestar Galactica” was a major role in his career. Hatch, determined to keep the name alive, would eventually create a revival trailer for it, wrote novels, and helped get the original film on DVD and now Blu-ray.

On top of that, Hatch is very involved in all aspects of the Hollywood life, including acting, directing, writing and teaching.

Hatch enjoys going to colleges, high schools, and such to do workshops and seminars.

“What I have learned is that talent is talent. You could have all of the experience in the world but that doesn’t make you talented. Some who have never done anything can go and do something extraordinary. We can make all the mistakes in the world and come up with something far more interesting than somebody who is sophisticated. I love working with talented people and I love inspiring people because I find that way too many people, men and women, boys and girls, live lives of quiet desperation because they aren’t going after what they really want.”

Hatch is a very passionate person, especially about getting young filmmakers, actors, and the like to get involved and make things happen for themselves, but also about knowing what it takes to do so.

“Where there is a will, there is a way. In this day and age, everything is changing so rapidly that you have be as much an innovative business person as you are the artist. You have to develop both sides of the equation. You can’t just be the actor anymore. Talented people are realizing they don’t have to do it the traditional way anymore. They can just create something and build a fan base,” he said.

Hatch is so invested in his acting that he won’t be settling down or calling it quits anytime soon.

He is currently working on a series of different projects such as a web series called “Pairings,” a steampunk western film called “Cowboys and Engines” with Malcolm McDowell, a project he developed himself called “Guam,” “Star Trek” and much more.

When asked about his advice for aspiring actors, filmmakers and writers, he said, “Don’t wait on anything. The best way to learn is couplet it with classes, workshops, the kind of experience where you can be doing it. You can film things on your iPhone. Get people together to put all the elements together and find out how it works. It’s like going into the kitchen and figuring out how to cook. A famous director once told me never trust an actor who couldn’t cook. It was a metaphor of life for him.”

Hatch spent the remainder of his day on campus meeting with animation and film students as well as faculty.

In the evening, he showed a documentary style prelude to “Star Trek: Anaxar” to a group of students and faculty followed by a Q&A. Hatch continues to create and utilize the opportunities that come his way.  He continues to work hard throughout what he calls his, “almost 50 year career.”

Karlee Dies is the staff writer for The Spectator. She can be reached by