Created by Webmaster on 21 Jun 2011 - 9:12. Pageviews : 31262
Melinda Culea's Departure
Not quite all. Recently, the show aired its dirty linen following the firing of former model Melinda Culea, 28, the token woman on the Team. She was dumped after she taped the first 10 shows of the Team's second season and was replaced this month by Maria Heasley, 25. "Melinda was very unhappy about the size and importance of her role," says Peppard. "She came on the set frustrated, angry, a terribly discontented woman." He said she wanted more time on camera and wanted to join in the fight scenes with a few karate chops. T says she wanted more money, Culea reportedly made $15,000 per show at first and later about $20,000 (versus T's $40,000 or so--which, though not as much as the veteran Peppard's salary, still adds up to about $1 million a year).
Peppard denies reports that he and the other stars turned on Culea like a vigilante force. "We just put up with [her discountent] and said nothing," he contends. But when the producers found out about the tension, he says, "they were furious. . . . They felt that she was harassing the team." Nobody harasses the team and gets away with it. After a warning, Cannell fired her.
Mr. T backs up Peppard. "The show was not designed for a lady," he says. "It's a story about Vietnam veterans. She wasn't in Vietnam. I told her to her face: 'You was blessed and didn't realize it. You was a sore winner.' She says that she wanted more work, more time on camera. Can you believe that? How stupid can you get? . . . Melinda, she came in griping every day. We don't need that."
Benedict seems more willing than T to admit a woman to the club. "Because we are four guys, we want a girl around," he says. "It's a dream job for an actress--God! All you have to do is show up, smile and look good."
To some, Culea may not have looked good enough. Peppard reportedly believed that the show needed "more of a bimbo." When asked about that now, all he'll say is: "If those were our needs, they were already eminently satisfied."
Culea, who has since made a Fantasy Island, reportedly found out she had been dumped from the Team when she read a script with no lines for her character. Her story is that Peppard disliked her from the start and was cruel to her, telling her she could not act. She told the producers that the part was not worthy of her. "If you can't write the role better," she said, "you don't need me." She also complained that T and Peppard grabbed all the attention, which "left me out in the cold."
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