Richard Moll didn't have a lot in common with his character on Night Court
Image credit: The Everett Collection
Even among the exceptional ensemble cast of NBC's Night Court (1984), Richard Moll, the sincere and loveable bailiff Bull Shannon, stood out. Although, it's not hard to stand out in a crowd of Emmy-winning actors when you're 6 feet 8 inches tall.
Moll's character, even if minor compared to his co-stars, became a fan-favorite that many fans still celebrate to this day. Moll loved playing Bull Shannon, even if the two had nothing in common.
According to a 1986 interview with The Knoxville News Sentinel, Moll said that Bull Shannon was much more of a softie than he was in real life and admitted that Bull had a lot more to give to others as well.
"Bull was much harder when the show began two years ago," Moll said. "He's gotten softer. Bull has a lot of little boy in him, which I do, too."
Before Night Court, Moll was known for playing the role of the bald-headed bad guy in both TV and film. Shortly before Night Court premiered in 1984, Moll shaved his head for another role in the 1983 film Metalstorm.
This bald head look led him to the role on Night Court.
"He's also a lion," Moll said. "He's fiercely loyal to the judge (played by Harry Anderson). He's very sensitive, and he's a pushover for adopting things, like turkeys on Thanksgiving. He's most altruistic than me. But I think I could beat him at a math test."
Moll even played a faceless monster several years prior to Night Court on a Saturday morning kid's show. He went from playing a faceless monster to a guy who could hardly leave his house without being stopped by fans.
According to the interview, Moll said he may not have been classically handsome, but was happy he didn't scare anyone with his presence anymore. No one could be mad at Bull Shannon.
Despite the typecasting he faced early on in his career, Moll said he was blissfully unconcerned about being typed as a "heavy." In fact, when Night Court wasn't filming, Moll would seek out roles as villains and heavies. He even said heavies often get the best lines in a script.
"I want my fans to understand that in real life I am a sensitive and sweet-natured kind of guy," Moll said. "Playing a man who looks like he bites the heads off of chickens at a carnival is a real acting challenge."
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