If John Ritter Is Anne Archer's 'Hero at Large,' Terry Jastrow Is Her Prettier Hero at Home

updated 02/25/1980 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/25/1980 01:00AM

Their wedding could not have had a more decorous setting: the Bel Air living room of the bride's mother, TV actress Marjorie (Make Room for Daddy) Lord. But when the minister intoned, "Now kiss the bride," a familiar voice from among the attendants snarled: "Lay one hand on that lady and I'll break your arm." The voice, as every startled celebrant knew, was that of ABC sportscaster Howard Cosell. But in the long lens of history, it is possible that the couple will be bigger stars than their bumptious joking guest. The bridegroom is actor Terry Jastrow, 31, until recently a boy wonder at ABC Sports—where he produced and directed Cosell's Sports Magazine and covered such events as the U.S. Open, the Indy 500, the Kentucky Derby and three Olympics. The bride is Anne Archer, 32, who had worked in a dozen mostly lesser films before being cast in the just-released Hero at Large as the fetching love interest of John Ritter.

The handsome Jastrow was in the habit of getting his way—even sometimes with Cosell—until he met Anne Archer. "She put me through more passion and pain than I had ever experienced," he reports. "It was hot animal attraction. She was the first thing that I just had to have." They met in an acting class through mutual friends Cheryl Ladd and her now estranged husband, David. Terry begged for an introduction. Then he blew it by stuttering: "I just wanted to tell you that I think you have a terrific profile." He estimates that it set back his pursuit by four months. "It was such a ridiculous thing to say," Anne recalls. "I thought he was an out-of-work, struggling actor, and I didn't need that in my life." At the time she was a divorcee romantically involved with another man. A few months later Anne and Terry were teamed in an improvisation in which she was to pursue him aggressively. Thirty seconds into the scene the intrepid Jastrow had wrestled her to the floor and was hungrily smothering her with kisses. "I was thinking," Terry grins, " 'If I have a shot at Anne Archer, I don't care if it's in front of 30 people, I'm going to go for it.' "

On their first date, Terry invited her to a Stanford-USC game he was covering for ABC in Palo Alto. He had her met at the airport by a chauffeur, who offered her chilled Puligny Montrachet while he sped her to the TV control truck at the stadium. "I only had three cameras to work with," Terry remembers, "but when she walked in I started shouting, 'Camera seven, dissolve to camera 12; camera five, pick up the close-ups!' To this day," he chuckles, "the camera crew thinks I lost my mind."

Shortly afterward Sly Stallone picked Anne for a breakthrough role—the flame-haired dance hall girl in Paradise Alley. "I was dating two men," she says. "I had the movie to shoot, and the pressures were driving me slightly crazy." Terry won her heart when he offered to leave her so she could dedicate herself to her work. "I thought, 'This is the guy I could really be married to,' " Anne remembers. " 'He has an absolute desire that I shine as an artist.' " Two months later they were roommates, and in another year came their big co-starring scene with Howard Cosell.

Jastrow spent his boyhood first in Denver, then in Midland, Texas, where his father was an oil wildcatter ("Some years it was steak and other years it was hamburger," he recalls). More adroit as an athlete than as a student, Terry swung his way through the University of Houston on a golf scholarship. In his sophomore year he volunteered to do scut work with ABC sports announcer Keith Jackson at the Houston Open, and was so turned on by TV production that he switched his major to communications. After graduation he was hired by ABC Sports as a production assistant and worked his way up to where he was being called the Roone Arledge of his generation. He had, after all, been nominated for 10 Emmys, and had already won three.

But Terry enrolled in an acting class, ostensibly to perfect his directing craft, and got hooked on performing. While his secretary at ABC made excuses, Jastrow snuck out to classes with Lee Strasberg. For the next three years he moonlighted as an actor, playing bit parts off-Broadway. Then in 1977 Jastrow left his spot at ABC to try to make it as an actor in Hollywood. He landed guest shots in TV series like Police Story, but continued to direct special events for ABC on a lucrative free-lance basis: Last week he was in charge of the ski jump coverage at the Lake Placid Olympics. Acting, though, is his first priority, and he's now progressed far enough to teach at a workshop.

For Anne, acting was a natural evolution from her California childhood. Her father, John Archer, starred on the stage, as did her mother when she wasn't in films or on TV with Danny Thomas. But her parents sheltered her from the spotlight and she grew up painfully shy. "People used to tell me I was attractive as a child," she says, "but I became a compulsive eater and was overweight in high school. It made me very insecure about my looks," she continues, "so I decided I should be good at something. Acting seemed to be the thing I could do quite well."

She debuted in a summer stock production of Glad Tidings at age 19 and at 21, after graduating from Southern California's Pitzer College, landed her first movie role with Jon Voight in All American Boy. That same year Anne married L.A. businessman William Davis, with whom she had a son, Tommy, now 7. She continued to study and shoot an obscure film a year while losing coveted leads in Smokey and the Bandit, The Champ and Superman. She gambled on turning down the juicy part of Billy Ikehorn in the CBS production of Scruples (Lindsay Wagner then got it) in favor of the movie comedy with Ritter.

Anne and Terry share a richly appointed house in Bel Air canyon with her son, two dogs, a part-time Guatemalan housekeeper and a British nanny. They also keep a Manhattan apartment and recently purchased a ranch near Vail, Colo. Their social life revolves around Tommy, with frequent jaunts to Disneyland and movies. "We are just as happy dressing up and dining at Maxim's in Paris," says Terry, "as we are catching a Waylon Jennings concert and a bacon cheeseburger in Long Beach."

Archer and Jastrow have now founded their own production company called Aster with $250,000 seed money from associates of Terry's father. Three feature films are on the drawing board, co-starring the two of them; the first is a kind of All the President's Men about journalistic intrigue. "Unless Anne is expressing herself as an artist she can never be the happy wife I want her to be," observes Terry. "And if I don't get some of the things I want I'm not the driving, terrific husband she wants." The household is not as super-serious as it sometimes sounds. When Anne won the part opposite Sly Stallone, their Guatemalan housekeeper—who may have watched too much of Terry's ABC sports coverage—poured a bottle of champagne over her employer's head.

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