For younger audiences Corbin Bernsen is known as retired police detective Henry Spencer in the USA’s hit show, “Psych,” but to those a little older he’ll forever be the lovable Arnie Becker in “L.A. Law.” In the late 1980s and early ‘90s the ruggedly handsome actor appeared on more than 50 magazine covers and hosted “Saturday Night Live.” The 58-year-old actor spoke to FOX 411 about his career, marriage and faith.
FOX 411: Besides “Psych” what else have you got going on?
Bernsen: I have a tech project on the side called Powsumer. I had this vision where say 50 people want a TV at this price and what we do is bring the seller to that group of people. I have a production company called Home Theater Films which makes faith based films.
FOX 411: Are you born again?
Bernsen: No, that's not where I put myself. I consider myself to be Christian. It's the kind of a thing that I struggle with. I have faith, I believe in God. I look at Christ as this magnificent figure. I don't go to the evangelical side of it I suppose. It's hard to describe because this is of late, really trying to express what I am and what a lot of people are, people of faith.
I don't want to make it sound like I'm different, it's just according to some guidelines I guess I'm different. It's a shame because you feel like you're not part of those other people. All I know is I march to my own drummer these days and true to myself. There's a lot of people who want faith in their life, and I'm more about that than all of it.
People who I would like to bring into the discussion. I don't want anybody to become anything and I am certainly on a journey of discovery but it's having a conversation about it. These days where there's so much in the world that's not working, somehow we've used faith/religion throughout history, it's sort of been a glue for society and community, it's something that's made things work, not drive things apart, I feel this need to celebrate that for the good of what it is.
There's an assumption if you have any faith you vote this way, you vote that way or you're this or you're absolutely a conservative and those just aren't all true. There are very cool people out there, very relevant people that have faith in their lives and people who want faith and like I say are afraid to enter the conversation, that's all I care about entering the conversation.
I have four sons who are basically growing up in a world where they don't believe in sh*t and I know that's not good either. I'm not saying you have to believe in God or Christ or any of that stuff, just come in the conversation for a bit. It's awakening. You don't have to believe like I do, certainly partake in the conversation.
I have good conversations with wonderful atheist friends and I find that to be fulfilling whether they get to a place that I am or not that's not my job but I do find it, I say to be far more interesting than talking about Lindsay Lohan, you know what I mean? Philosophically it's interesting to me, I just happen to believe, my personal beliefs are, you know, I believe God, I believe in that mystery of what God is, and I place it sort of, I place him if you will, I mean every time they come up with a discovery of something that's great, now before that, I keep on kind of putting God in all of that. I'll never get to the end. None of us will ever reach that place, you know. You can't, that's the whole thing of having faith.
So I find it to be an enlightening thing, it's ultimately, oddly enough I'm 58 years old, it's almost like the 60's when we talked about love and community and peace and prosperity, I don't know, there is a movement. I see there is people who want to come into the conversation and then there's people who've been a part of it forever. U2. If you listen to a U2 song. It's probably the example of what everyone uses of where it can really be. Poetically and not sort of the hardcore way.
I tell my friends I've always believed in God and Christ, I don't know, I guess maybe I don't qualify because I didn't do it again.
I'm also about family and community. Ultimately that's what my films are about. I don't mean sweet kid movies necessarily, I mean movies that talk about family and community as sort of structural building blocks for a strong society, again almost philosophical social engineering if you will. I think we need to re-explore what family and community are. Part of this whole divisiveness in this country, you're on one side and I'm on this side, and you forget we're all working towards a common good.
FOX 411: Back in the late ’80s you were the “It” boy for a while.
Bernsen: For a while, you’re starting to make me feel like a has-been! Actually “L.A. Law” has been a bit of a blessing and a curse. First of all it was a very prestigious show that had a lot of intellect and I was the pretty boy. I’ve had to battle that my whole career, “Oh you were the face guy. You didn’t really have to act, you just had to wear the right suits.” I had to battle that.
FOX 411: You’ve been married a long time [to British actress Amanda Pays]. What’s the secret?
Bernsen: It’s been 25 years this November. Friendship absolutely, first and foremost. All the other stuff like sex, it comes and goes in waves. After two or three years the honeymoon is over. The thing that keeps you going when things relax a bit is the friendship. When you celebrate that friendship that’s when it reignites the passion. I don’t have a bunch of mates. I don’t have a man cave. My wife and I, we are each other’s best friend.
I’m very fortunate that I have a gorgeous wife that I’m still completely attracted to and love to get naked with at every possible moment.
FOX 411: Being in a house of men has your wife ever entered a bathroom without the toilet seat up?
Bernsen: She loves it. We have this unique beautiful thing.
FOX 411: I know! I’m just talking about toilet seats!
Bernsen: I put it down. Mind you I tried to get a urinal in our bathroom when we built our house.
FOX 411: That’s a great idea.
Bernsen: I think it would be great for the middle of the night piss. I don’t know why more people don’t do that.