I’m watching The Deliberate Stranger (which I almost always misread as Strangler) for the first time right now. I’m prompted mostly by the following quote from Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me.
Mark Harmon (People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive”) played Ted as Ted was portrayed in Richar Larsen’s book, The Deliberate Stranger. Physically, Harmon was a good choice, but he played Ted Bundy as confident from the beginning, as a young Kennedy clone.
To Harmon’s credit, he could not have known that Ted Bundy had begun his twenties as the man I knew, the socially inept man, the man who felt he didn’t fit into a world of wealth and success. It was the latter-day infamous Ted who was smooth and charismatic. Infamy became Ted. Only as his crimes made black headlines did he become the Ted Bundy portrayed By Mark Harmon. That one-dimensional man was the “Hollywood TV Ted.” Harmon’s Ted was so charming and sexy that he sometimes seemed almost heroic.
And that was the Ted that a whole generation of teenage girls fell in love with. I was appalled at the letters and phone calls I got from young girls who wanted to rush to Florida to “save Ted Bundy.” Finally, I said - or wrote - firmly to each one: “You are not in love with Ted Bundy. You are in love with Mark Harmon.”