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Magazine article by Robert Arnold from TV STAR PARADE (June 1975)
THE ROOKIES' SAM MELVILLE TELLS WHY: "Children Would Ruin My Marriage!"


THE ROOKIES' SAM MELVILLE TELLS WHY:

"Children Would Ruin My Marriage!"

[Photo and Captions: Sam and Anne's happy marriage has endured for nine years and they have weathered many bad times together. As a result, they've formed a strong union that leaves little time for someone else.]

Sam and Anne Melville's life revolves around each other. It's been that way for almost nine years. They epitomize a couple who has gone through the thick and the thin of early early adulthood. From the onset of their marriage they were broke, scurrying from one job to another to make ends meet as Sam devoted what time he could to his acting career. Their means were limited, and consequently they were confined to the simple pleasures of life.

They faced endless setbacks, repeated frustrations and moments of despair, but at least, they had each other. With such unity they continued to have the optimism that some day Sam's career would blossom and the dues they had paid would be rewarded. As if written in script form, their dreams have become reality with Sam's starring role in THE ROOKIES.

Success and stardom though, have not changed the Melvilles appreciably. A great part of what their life together has been remains in tact, foremost of which is their devotion to one another. And it is that bond that held them together when times were rough that continues to seal their love for one another today.

However, it is this same togetherness which allows little room for anyone else. Naturally they have their friends, those who are involved in the series and those who are not, but as for their own family they do not see room for children. In fact, whenever Sam and Anne discuss the possibility of starting a family they admit to one another that an offspring would probably be more of a detriment to their marriage than an asset.

"It would be a lie if I said the show, the success and all that's gone with it, hasn't been hard for Annie," Sam says candidly during a lunch break from filming.

"In a big way, she has lost her best friend. We were really tight before I started working the long hours every day. Throughout our marriage she and I have been like each other's best friend, and we've been like VERY good friends. Certainly we've had friends outside each other, sure, we've been very lucky."

"But," he continues, "we really were not like lonely lovers, we were each others best friend as well. And it's been hard, it really has. It's taken a great deal away from both of us. She's had to find other things to occupy herself with and because of that I have had moments when I've felt a little jealous because I realize she's involved with other things."

"However," Sam adds, "we're out of debt and we do take considerable advantage of my time off from the show."

The time Sam and Anne have together is usually devoted to one of their many interests, be it traveling, skiing, or simply exploring interesting hideaways in and around Southern California. Such activities are their reward for the numerous years when they couldn't afford to do anything.

"I say we're out of debt, and we're proud of that, but really, that never did bother either one of us. We've always had that kind of relationship. There was never that pressure when we did have bills and only a certain amount of money. We were always realists about that whole thing."

"Annie's been very good. She just kind of knew everything would fall together eventually. She was much more confident in what I was trying to do than I was, I think."

"And I still go through that great mental thing of knowing that she's right there saying, 'No, this is where's it's at' when I don't know where it is."

"The fortunate thing I guess," Sam says with a loving grin as he discusses his "bride," "her dad used to sing with the Tommy Dorsey orchestra and there were lengthy periods of time when she and her family would tour with her dad while he played in the band. So she got used to that kind of gypsy-style of living when she was a child. She was used to new adventures, where with me, I didn't get out of my hometown of Filmore, Utah until I was 18."

"So Annie was used to that kind of unsettled life, and she was able to help me cope with it when I was trying to get my career off the ground. Before this show we might go three, four weeks without work. In fact," he says in amusement, "we went eight months one time without a job. That freaked me out, but it didn't bother her at all."

"She was never upset by that kind of thing, even when it dragged on and on and we had no money whatsoever. And there was a time when, if she would have said just once, had she said anything, we would have been gone, but that would have been it. There would have been no career."

"If I would have gotten any word of any kind from her that we should toss in the towel and give up, we would have gotten the hell out of this business and this town. But," he says lovingly, "she always said, no. She always said, 'It'll work itself out,' and she was right."

"And the interesting thing is that she's never worked! She's worked at things, but she's never worked professionally at anything. She's always just taken care of things, and looked out for things. Today she does our bookkeeping and she's kind of taken the job of manager and she's very good at it."

"It's been kind of difficult for her what with the women's lib movement. Some people have tried to make her feel a little guilty for not having a profession as such, but she looks at it as if she does have a career. Her career is my career," Sam explains.

The joint interest and concern over Sam's success as an actor has been characterized by dedication and hope. With that hope now fulfilled, it is only natural that friends of the couple speculate on when they will begin a family. Children however, are not in their plans.

"We just kind of put that aside," Sam offers. "I don't know if we really have children in our future or not. I see people`like my sister. She has had five children and should have stopped at two. I see all these people with six, seven maybe ten children and they simply refuse to stop having kids."

"Someone has got to stop having children, and I guess Annie and I have decided it will be us. What we are going to miss by not having children of our own we will never know. Right now I think children would ruin my marriage. Annie and I spent six years doing without, sacrificing to attain something we now have."

"As I said earlier, we are each other's best friends, and as such I don't know if there's room for children in our lives. We have lived so long in an environment in which we could come and go as we please, do things on impulse, and I don't think we would want to give that up."

"Perhaps after this show runs its course and we can have a clear vision of what comes next, I don't know. We need to talk about it from time-to-time, and somehow we do see children in our life but not necessarily our own."

"I think adopting children is what we're thinking about a little bit, because it seems so unfair to bring that many more people into this world when there's not enough room. Somebody has got to stop. You look at what's happening in the world, and not even the world, right here in our own country, people are starving, they're out of work, children are going without food and an education and some of them are being put into orphanages or maybe even being taken away from their parents out of necessity."

"Annie and I just feel that maybe we can make our own contribution in this problem," he says.

Sam hesitates a moment to sip on a freshly poured cup of coffee.

"I don't want to sound as if I'm degrading people who have large families, not at all. I know there is a great deal of joy and usually togetherness in large families, but we, Annie and I, can't see ourselves in that environment."

"First of all, we've lived in a very small apartment in Hollywood most of our married life. It's just a one bedroom, but it's become very important to us. One day we got ambitious and tore the ceiling out and built a loft to use as a second bedroom. Well, it's so confining that you can't even stand up in it, and now we use it more as a reading room than anything else."

"But it reflects what we're all about, and that is putting our values into things that are meaningful to us. And part of that is being wise in what we do based on what we think makes sense. In other words, evaluating a situation as we see it and going ahead accordingly."

"Well," he explains sincerely, "part of what we think is right is doing in our own small way what we can for the problems that beset all of us. We don't want, nor do we pretend to want, to convince everybody we're right and they're wrong. We simply believe that there are plenty of people with needs already, so why add to it."

"I guess you could say that our life together is very elementary, very basic. Our biggest extravagance since the show began has been a skiing vacation. Other than that it's just a lot of companionship with each other. Nothing else has really changed."

"We've done small things maybe, like buy some new clothes, which is something we hadn't done for years, and we've gone in spurts of doing things we had always wanted to do, like becoming a couple of ski bums for a week."

"But that's it. You see," he says excitedly, "we can have endless hours of fun and pleasure out of just being together. Just the two of us maybe, or with some of our friends. Generally a fun evening for us is a nice quiet dinner followed by an evening of reading or talking, communicating. That's all we had for a long time, and I think as a result our values were brought into focus in a way in which there is little outside influence."

"Some people couldn't live the way we do. Some people, couples I mean, have to do something constantly, going here, going there, doing this or that, and I can only wonder how good of friends they are. If you have a deep and sincere friendship, there's not much more that you need."

"That's why the subject of children in our lives is one of debate. I don't know if we, as friends, are ready or willing to share each other with someone else. I don't mean that to sound selfish, but again to repeat myself, when the time comes for children I think we would want to extend our friendship to someone who might otherwise never have the experience."



-ROBERT ARNOLD, 1975

Transcribed by Doreen Mulman (Saturday, February 9, 2002) for use on
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