JACKSONVILLE — A former 1970s anchorman is enjoying a little more time in the limelight, thanks to the return of his fictional counterpart Ron Burgundy.
Comedian Will Ferrell has said the inspiration for his character in the “Anchorman” movies was Mort Crim, who moved to northeast Florida in 1998 after retiring as a TV news anchor in Detroit.
Crim tells The Florida Times-Union the film is a satire and he doesn’t take offense to Ferrell’s performance. He says he always took his work seriously but tried not to take himself too seriously.
“I think the first movie was a parody of anchor people,” Crim said. “The second is a parody of the whole 24-hour news cycle. The key moment is when Burgundy says, `Why do we have to give them what they need? Let’s give them what they want.”’
Crim and his wife were invited to the Dec. 15 premiere of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” at the Beacon Theatre in New York, where he got to meet Ferrell for the first time.
“I walked up to him, put out my hand and said, `Will, it’s such an honor for you to meet me,”’ Crim said. “He said he appreciated the good nature I had displayed in the interviews I’d done.”
Crim’s smooth baritone voice caught Ferrell’s attention in a documentary on Jessica Savitch, Crim’s co-anchor at a Philadelphia TV station in the mid-1970s. Crim has said he wasn’t always nice to Savitch in the early days of their partnership, but he came to admire her and delivered the eulogy at her memorial service in 1983.
Now 78, Crim has written seven books and is starting to write his eighth, which is about working in television news in the 1970s and 1980s.