It's likely that nothing American actor Matt Frewer ever did while training with Britain's Old Vic prepared him for the role that would boost him to stardom. In the early 1980s, Frewer began making appearances on a British music video show in the role of Max Headroom, an ostensibly computer-generated "talking head". Decked out in sunglasses and loud preppie clothes, Max Headroom would break into the middle of videos making nonsensical, obtrusive comments, his voice metallicized and distorted; Max' trademark was an electronic stutter, virtually indescribable on paper. In 1985 Max began conducting celebrity interviews, forever digressing from the conversation with self-involved harangues about his favorite subject, golf. So popular was Frewer as Headroom that Britain's Channel 4 devised a one-hour "documentary" titled Rebus: The Max Headroom Story, which alleged that Max had once been a flesh-and-blood TV newsman who was killed by an oppressive government to keep him from divulging secrets: his name, it was explained, was derived from the last words the "live" Max ever saw, a warning on a bridge reading "Maximum Headroom." This premise was modified a bit when Frewer starred on the 1986 American satirical talk show Max Headroom, which first appeared on the Cinemax cable service. Frewer continued the characterization into a local New York program, then played the dual role of Max and futuristic investigative reporter Edison Carter on ABC's brief Max Headroom comedy adventure series. In addition, Frewer essayed Max for a series of widely-imitated Coca Cola commercials. In 1989, Matt Frewer abandoned Max Headroom to seek out roles that didn't require computer enhancement; he subsequently starred in a few sitcoms, and in 1993 provided the voice of the title character in a new series of Pink Panther TV cartoons.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Born in Washington, DC, while his father was assigned to the Canadian embassy there.
- Planned to study biology in college before dropping out to become an actor.
- Spent over four hours in the makeup chair to transform into Max Headroom.
- Along with his wife, co-authored children's book series The Fez Brothers.