An actor, teacher and published author, Ron Millkie has appeared in films like Larry Cohen’s Return to Salem’s Lot, Meridian and the forthcoming Satan’s Playground, but his most memorable role was that of “Officer Dorf” in 1980′s Friday the 13th. Dorf was the man in charge of keeping the peace at Crystal Lake, and his infamous exchange with the new counselors is one of the funniest scenes in the movie. “Columbian gold, man…grass, hash, the weed. Dig it?” We recently caught up with Ron, and he gives us some insight into Officer Dorf’s character, what it’s like looking back on 25 years of Friday the 13th, and also what he’s currently up to these days. Enjoy, campers!
1) How did you get started in acting?
Acting was the only thing I was good at besides being the class clown, and my first play was in the 3rd grade where I played the title character in Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates. Then I did some acting in high school, and while I was in the Air Force (Lajes Field, Azores) I had a lot of fun with that theatre group overseas. Then I did a summer stock production of West Side Story where I played the character “Action”. Dorf used to call himself that, even though his real name was Harold.
2) How did you get the role of Officer Dorf?
I got the part of Officer Dorf from cleaning and doing odd jobs in New York for a film producer named Saul Swimmer. This was a very humbling part of my life. My wife used to tell people her husband was a “cleaning lady”. Well, you can see why we’re not married anymore. All kidding aside, Saul recommended me to Sean Cunningham, and I auditioned and got the part.
3) One of the most memorable scenes in Friday the 13th was the “whatcha been smokin’, boy?” scene. Was that written in the script as it appeared in the film?
That line was not written by Victor Miller. Some other guy and Sean wrote that scene.
4) Where did your humorous portrayal of Dorf come from? Was it based on any one in particular, or just your interpretation of the character written in the script?
When I read the script I said this guy is pretty funny. He doesn’t think so, and takes himself pretty seriously. Just sort of instinctively came up with a battery of guys I’ve known who like to throw their weight around.
5) In the film’s climactic scene at the lake, we see two officers get out of the patrol car and call to Adrienne King’s character just before she is pulled into the water by Jason. Is it true you were one of those officers in that scene as well?
Yes, I was at the lake next to the police cruiser when Adrienne King was attacked by Jason.
6) How long were you actually on-set for?
7) Was it a pleasant shoot for you?
Yes, very pleasant. Sean was always a fun guy. Easy going and quick to laugh.
8) Did you have any idea that 25 years later the Friday the 13th series would be as popular as it has become, with more films reportedly on the way?
I had no idea. None of us did. I couldn’t believe it was the biggest money maker of 1980.
9) Was there ever any mention of Officer Dorf making a return appearance in a sequel?
I still get residual checks for like $7.00.
10) Have you kept in touch with anyone from the cast or crew over the years?
No, except for Kevin Bacon…he has to check in with me like every day. I keep telling him “Kevin, you’ve got to get a life, guy”.
11) Did you keep any souveniers from the set? (script, photos, props,costumes, etc)
I was lucky to get a still black and white shot which is on my “Friday the 13th” t-shirts.
12) You act in films, as well as teach and have written books on the subject. What projects do you currently have in the works?
In regard to the books, I wrote “How You Can Appear in T.V.Commercials” and “You Don’t Have to be Beautiful to be a Model” both published by Pilot Books, Babylon, New York and both out of print at this time. Last year I did Satan’s Playground for Dante Tomesilli. I get whacked this time though, by the Jersey Devil. Should be out on video and DVD soon. Current projects include working with screenwriter Jayson Palmer on a new script about a detective (me) on the scent of a serial killer not unlike Jack the Ripper. My originaal collaboration with Jayson (whom I met last year at the Chiller Theatre convention) was a feature along the lines of “Jason vs Officer Dorf”. We never would get the rights, but if Sean Cunningham wanted us to do it, we’d have it ready tomorrow.
13) Any last words for the fans reading this interview?
The 13th question and my favorite. I’d just like to say “thanks guys” I mean it. You sort of made it all worth while. By that I mean there are a couple of thousand or more actors who have done so much more work than I have, yet because of “Friday the 13th” and it’s following I feel that years from now when I’m gone, somewhere in some room someone will remember Ron Millkie as the guy who played Officer Dorf in “Friday the 13th”. It’s every actor’s dream to find some little piece of immortality and I have been luckier than most. As for the future, I’m hoping for a great part but there’s always Swift Messinger Service.