Saving the World's All in a Day's Work for Marc Singer

updated 05/14/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/14/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Who better to fight the fascist lizards from outer space than Marc Singer? The guy is tough. He injured his left elbow on one of his stunts for V: The Final Battle. "I never had time to go and have it x-rayed," he says. "I think I may have fractured it." But he never whined a word. He went on to do more stunts as the antireptile rebel. He caught a knee in his ribs and heard something pop. Ignored it. He kept right on working, delivering his lines, taking 25-foot falls.

"He moves like a young Doug Fairbanks and can really do all that athletic stuff," says Singer's director on V, Richard Heffron. Adds co-star Faye Grant, the heroine: "He's the most extraordinary athlete I've ever seen for an actor." One could read that the wrong way. She meant it as a compliment. "I ended up taking more chances," Grant says, "tumbling, running, jumping over stuff, because I didn't want to look like a sissy."

Sure he's done his share of Shakespeare. But what Singer really wants to be is an action-adventure star, an athlete on the silver screen. So he runs, boxes, dives, skis, rides horses and, most important, practices kung fu several hours each week. He's been studying the martial art for 13 years. "Kung fu is the foundation on which I lay all of my acting and even all the relationships I have with other human beings," he says. "It gives me physical health and calmness. It contributes to a heightened sense of stamina and endurance."

Singer's not your usual star. He tried not to be a prima donna on the set of V. When he gets mad, he says, "I end up popping my cork at myself and that takes the heat off anybody else. I press a button and rail at myself. I just swear, curse, stomp around and threaten myself in order to get the demons exorcised." He doesn't worry about becoming a buddy to his co-stars. In fact, Singer lives a quiet, uncelebrated life in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon, gardening with his wife, Haunani Minn. Singer and Minn met while both were drama majors at the University of Washington in Seattle. Haunani is an actor too. She has her own TV special, CBS' Anatomy of an Illness, a week after Marc's. They're both about to go to Europe together to tape a Love Boat.

Singer is private. He won't say how old he is (he's 36). "I think we should be careful in this industry of revealing too much," he explains. "We're like magicians, and we shouldn't part the veil too frequently."

But he will let you know that he's the brother of Lori (Footloose) Singer, ex of TV's Fame. Their father, Jacques, was a symphony conductor in Vancouver, B.C. (where Marc was born), Corpus Christi and Portland, Oreg. "We were blessed as children," he says, "with the acquaintanceship of people like Isaac Stern and Andrés Segovia." Marc did learn classical piano (he played and sang in the movie If You Could See What I Hear), but music was never his life. "It was sports for me," he says, "all the way."

An actor and an athlete he is. A philosopher he's not. Singer talks about the possibility—the probability, in his mind—that there is alien life like that in V: "There are just too many fish in the ocean," he says. "If each fish thought he was the only little fishie, they'd all be living in a fool's paradise, but they don't. They know that there are other fishies out there in the universe too." As a scientist, he's a great actor.

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