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6 Degrees Entertainment

John Schneider   ('Dukes of Hazzard') John Schneider ('Dukes of Hazzard')
'One Good Ol' Conversation!'

Beauregard (Bo) Duke: Was the youngest Duke cousin. He drove the General the most of the time. He was always willing to jump the General Lee no matter the distance, once he jumped 32 cars. He was the first to ever drive the General, and race the General, also he was the first jump it across a creek. Bo is always very friendly and out going though is quite quite naive at times. His handle is: Lost Sheep #2. John Schneider played Bo Duke. He was only 18 when the show started.

John Schneider still looks as though he could "yee-haw" if he needed to, but these days 'The Dukes of Hazzard' good ol' boy is more content playing the dad. Between forkfuls of risotto at a restaurant near the suburban home where he and wife, Elly, raise three children, the actor, who played Bo Duke in the CBS series that ran from 1979 to '85, works the word "family" into many aspects of his conversation.

Schneider now plays Jonathan Kent, adoptive father to an adolescent Superman in the WB's 'Smallville.'

What was it initially that drew you to the father role in 'Smallville'? "I like the fact that the young man comes to his parents for advice, and he takes it," says John. "It says that parents are important. People know that Jonathan is as loving as he is strict."

But what about that long commute - 'Smallville' is shot in Vancouver, B.C., away from his home in L.A. "Having to travel to Vancouver is really terrible," he admits. "I come back home every possible chance."

What are your memories of your country singing career back in the '80s? "The most amazing part of that period in my life," he recalls, "was that people were actually interested in what I had to say, creatively!"

And even though he's ruled out touring - it would keep him away from home too much - he intends to keep making music. "Acting for a camera is a very technical set of learned skills," he explains. "Singing, however, is far more organic. You work as the spirit moves you. I love it!"

So, just how did the whole role in 'Dukes' come about? "Late in 1978," he answers with his usual enthusiasm, "I showed up for an open audition in Atlanta. They wanted to find what they called the perfect Bo Duke. Though I was born in Westchester County, New York, and moved to Atlanta when I was a teenager, I walked into the casting session as though I'd just fallen off a turnip truck: unwashed, unshaven, and talking very loudly in a thick southern drawl. It worked! And here I am."

"I hope 'Hazzard' goes on forever," John adds, "but I have to be able to do other things, too. Unless I can do the music and the movies, I could end up doing car shows for the rest of my life! "I hope to hold on to my 'Hazzard' fans, but also to expand my horizons. I think. People, especially the critics, tend to put boundaries around what an entertainer can do, but I'm not going to fall into that trap. I want to keep growing in my carrer."

"At the same time, I don't believe in giant steps; I prefer a slow but steady growth. I have to be careful that I don't play someone people won't recognize, or appear in something kids shouldn't see. I've grown up with a good amount of self-confidence. Older folks used to tell me, 'If anyone can do what he wants with his life, it's you.' Sure, I'm very ambitious. I wouldn't be here if that weren't true. But I want to get ahead by growing in many directions."

What are your memories of 'Dukes'? "'Dukes' started 21 years ago," he smiles wearily. "It was a very good show and a lot of fun to do. Tiring some days, but a lot of fun. Good people to be around too. I'm proud of 'Dukes'. It's one of the few mainstream shows on television where you can sit down with the whole family and watch."

Is there a residule effect from your '80s fame to this day? "Well, there is a brand-new generation of kids looking up to me because of the character I played on 'Dukes'," Schneider admits. "And, as a father, that feels great."

Where would your ideal place to retire to be? "IF I retire - though I don't know when that would ever be the case - I'll probably retreat to a cabin in the mountains somewhere and just relax," he says matter-of-factly. "Yeah, I'm just liable to do that."

To read our exclusive DVD review of 'The Dukes of Hazzard: Season 1' just click here and be whisked away !

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