Bronson Pinchot is an actor best known for his role as "Balki Bartokomous" in the ABC family sitcom Perfect Strangers from 1986–1993. Pinchot was born on May 20, 1959 in New York City, New York with the birth name Bronson Alcott Poncharavsky.
Although born in New York, Pinchot was raised in southern California. After graduating from South Pasadena High School, he headed back east and attended Yale University. He initially studied painting in college, but quickly became interested in acting. Pinchot began his acting career with bit roles in successful movies such as Risky Business (1983) and Beverly Hills Cop (1984). His role in Beverly Hills Cop as "Serge," a gay assistant art dealer with a thick foreign accent, was memorable and put him on the map.
Beverly Hills Cop was an international success and shortly after the movie hit the theatres Pinchot was cast as Balki Bartokomous on Perfect Strangers. The character Balki was a shepherd from the (fictional Greek) island nation of Mypos. Balki had a thick foreign accent and lived his entire life in a small farming community until he moved into an apartment in Chicago with his distant cousin "Larry Appleton" (played by Mark Linn-Baker).
The sitcom focused on Balki's naive and idealistic view of the world, as well as his chronic misunderstandings of American culture. Balki's catch phrase on the show was, "Of course not, don't be ridiculous!" and was usually spoken flamboyantly in response being accused of doing something. He also performed the "Dance of Joy" with his cousin Larry whenever he was happy, as shown below:
I actually liked Pinchot on Perfect Strangers. His character carried that show and was the primary reason for its success. However, Pinchot's career hit the skids after the show ended and has yet to recover. He did manage to secure a full-time role on Step By Step for one season, but that was in 1997, at the end of that show's run, when its popularity was rapidly fading.
Pinchot’s most notable role of the past 10 years was in 2005 on the fifth season of The Surreal Life, with other washed-up stars. Pinchot came across as a pathetic man on The Surreal Life. I honestly had always assumed he was gay, based on his effeminate and flamboyant roles in Beverly Hills Cop and Perfect Strangers that made him a star. However, after watching a few episodes of The Surreal Life, it is clear to me that Pinchot is not gay. Instead, he is a dirty old man who probably has to pay for sex.
During his appearance on The Surreal Life, he immediately took a fancy to the women on the show. When he initially arrived at The Surreal Life house, he informed everyone that his agent warned him against doing anything that could be construed as sexual harassment because apparently he’s “a very horny dude.”
Shortly after arriving on the set, he gave fellow castmate Janice Dickenson an extended hug and apparently groped her, against her will, causing her to burst into tears and almost quit the show. Despite Dickenson's obvious disgust for Pinchot, after the incident he actually said, "I believed in my heart Janice and I will hook up somehow. I liked her hoarse voice and I liked her tough-ass thing. I think the sex would be amazing... I never groped her."
Dickenson managed to get in her two cents, saying,
"I don’t like this guy. This guy is a gimp motherfucker. I made it very clear to the producers that I would not be groped or molested or have sex with anyone—that was in my contract. The minute I walked in, Balki or whatever he’s called started groping me. A few days in he asked me, 'Why are you so angry?' And I said, 'At you? Because you’re a fucking pervert.'"
Pinchot also tried to hook up with fellow castmate Caprice Bourret, a lingerie model. Bronson sexually harassed Caprice in nearly every episode, practically begging her to have sex with him, thereby solidifying his new-found "dirty old man" image.
Pinchot’s entertainment career is definitely over and he apparently is unable to accept this fact. One would think that his appearance on The Tonight Show in the early 1990s when the audience booed him for telling extremely boring stories would have been a “wake up” call. However, as a result of his stalled career and the fact that he has morphed into a total pervert, Bronson Pinchot is definitely one washed-up celebrity!