A tribute to Bill Panzer

Adrian Paul and Bill Panzer

Dear Bill

Only a couple of weeks ago we were speaking over the phone and emailing and now today I find myself writing a tribute to you. Wow, that’s messed up. But I know you can still hear me so wherever you are, I want you to know how much your life meant to all of us.

Remember how we first met at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills? Me, a cocky young actor who told you that you were wasting your time if you looked anywhere else to fill the role of Duncan MacLeod, and you, the confident producer who sat at the back of the room quietly nodding your head at what I had to say? That was sixteen years ago. Time does fly. Since then, millions have seen the series and the films that you brought to the screen. Millions, in over 80 countries around the world. That Bill, is quite an achievement.

I think we all want to make a mark in this world, whether it is for ourselves, our families, or the wider society in which we live. We make that choice early on and yours was to produce a little known idea about a man who could live forever - an idea that eventually became significant to so many. It gave us the opportunity to look at ourselves and ask the questions about who we were, who we are, what choices we might make if we were in the same position and how we could perhaps make our lives better. Why did that idea transcend societies, borders, and languages? Why was it that everywhere I went, I found people excited about the world of Highlander? Why have the series and films lasted so long? Why? Well, the why is not important. The importance is that they have.

For me, Highlander was an important part of my career and my life and I know it was the same in yours too. Over the years we discussed so many times, about the how, why and whether or not The Highlander should behave a certain way. We didn’t always see eye to eye but I knew that we both came from the same place. We wanted to create something good, something that would have a lasting effect on people.

Through these years I made lifelong friends. Some were actors, writers and film people who came to work alongside me. Others, because I was given the opportunity to meet them through playing this role. I want to thank you for that. But, not only for that. Playing Duncan MacLeod made me a better human being because the values in the character that you created, his passion and sense of honor were things that I admired. You allowed me to develop these and in turn allowed me to question my own personal sense of honor and my path in life.

I know there were times that you questioned your position in Hollywood; questioned whether you were big enough, good enough or successful enough. Perhaps inside, like many of us, you didn’t believe that you had achieved everything that you dreamed of. But believe me, you touched millions. You were able to create something that made a ripple in the frequency of life and touched people’s hearts and souls. For that we all thank you.

However, the thing I regret the most is that in all that time, in all the moments we spent together, in all the places we visited - Vancouver, Paris, Vilnius, London, Bucharest, Los Angeles Bordeaux, Cannes and Daytona - I never truly thanked you for allowing me into the Highlander universe and for giving me the opportunity to play Duncan MacLeod. So, from the bottom of my heart Bill, thank you. Thank You. Thank You.

May the winds be with you and ....in the end Bill, there was only one......

I will miss you.

Adrian Paul