BEACON HILL was a one season period drama that was broadcast over the CBS television network in 1975. It was produced by the Robert Stigwood Organisation and was produced by Beryl Vertue.
The series took place in Boston, Massachusetts during the 1920s prohibition era. The premise of the series was quite similar to the popular British series Upstairs, Downstairs, which was on the air at that time on PBS's Masterpiece Theater.
This same format would be redone in a 2010 continuation of Upstairs, Downstairs, and would also be used in the more recent and highly successful series, Downton Abbey, which was similarly inspired by Upstairs, Downstairs.
The upstairs family was comprised of the Lassiter family who lived in a townhouse on Louisburg Square in the Beacon Hill section of Boston (hence the title). What made the show unique was that both the upstairs family and the downstairs servants were all Irish immigrants.
Patriarch Ben Lassiter (Stephen Elliott) was a successful businessman and a highly powerful Democratic political boss (known as the "Gray Eminence") at Boston's City Hall and his wife, Mary (Nancy Marchand) was the matriarch. Mary was independently wealthy when she married Ben. They had five children, four daughters and one son.
Maudie Lassiter Palmer (Maeve McGuire) was the oldest daughter, and was married to yachtsman Richard Palmer (Edward Herrman). Although he, by his own admission, was quite dull, he was considered to be pleasant enough company; Emily Lassiter Bullock (Deann Meers) was the middle daughter, married to Trevor Bullock (Roy Cooper), a successful stockbroker, who was mother to mischievous Betsy Bullock (Linda Purl). Emily, who lived with her family in the North Shore area of Boston, could be emotionally reserved and exceedingly snobbish. Rosamond Lassiter (Kitty Winn) was the plain jane daughter, who resented being shadowed by her other sisters' beauty, but yet was shown to be quite adept at running the family's assorted business holdings. Robert Lassiter (David Dukes), the sole son, who had lost an arm in World War I and was still traumatized due to his injuries, which worried his parents and his sister, Rosamond, whom he is closest to, although he did love his other sisters. Fawn Lassiter (Kathryn Walker) was the youngest daughter, who was more maverick, more independent than her siblings and was more artistically bent. She was also known for being more flamboyant than her more sedate siblings.
Downstairs was the domain of Emmeline Hacker (Beatrice Straight), the head housekeeper; her husband, Arthur Hacker (George Rose) was the family's butler (Butler and housekeeper which would be duplicated with Mr. Hudson and Mrs. Bridges (although she was the cook) on Upstairs, Downstairs; and eventually with Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes on Downton Abbey); Harry Emmet (Barry Snider) was the chauffeur who was fired by Ben Lassiter due to his theft of money from his son, Robert; Paul Rudd played Brian Mallory, Emmeline's nephew, who replaced Emmet as the chauffeur; Terrence O'Hara (David Rounds) was the footman and Hacker's assistant; Marilyn Gardner (Holland Taylor) was Mrs. Lassiter's personal secretary and companion (equivalent to Lady's maid); Maureen Mehaffey (Susan Blanchard) was Emmeline's niece and also one of the under house maids (the other housemaid was a girl named Eleanor, played by Sydney Swire); William Piper (Richard Ward) was the family's cook; Grant Piper (Don Blakely) was William's son. Also seen occasionally was Giorgio Bellonci (Michael Nouri), Fawn's music teacher and sometime lover.
The show's producer, Vertue was a former literary agent who was instrumental in helping Jean Marsh get Upstairs, Downstairs, the show which Beacon Hill was patterned after, on television. Although the premiere episode had huge ratings, the show's audience shrank as the show went on, and at the end of its first season, the series was cancelled.
- STEPHEN ELLIOTT-- Ben Lassiter
- NANCY MARCHAND-- Mary Lassiter
- MAEVE MCGUIRE-- Maudie Lassiter Palmer
- EDWARD HERRMANN-- Richard Palmer
- DEANN MEARS-- Emily Lassiter Bullock
- ROY COOPER-- Trevor Bullock
- LINDA PURL-- Betsy Bullock
- KATHRYN WALKER-- Fawn Lassiter
- KITTY WINN-- Rosamond Lassiter
- DAVID DUKES-- Robert Lassiter
- BEATRICE STRAIGHT-- Emmeline Hacker
- GEORGE ROSE-- Arthur Hacker
- PAUL RUDD-- Brian Mallory
- BARRY SNIDER-- Harry Emmet
- DAVID ROUNDS-- Terence O'Hara
- RICHARD WARD-- William Piper
- DON BLAKELY-- Grant Piper
- HOLLAND TAYLOR-- Marilyn Gardner
- SUSAN BLANCHARD-- Maureen Mehaffey
- SYDNEY SWIRE-- Eleanor
- MICHAEL NOURI-- Giorgio Bellonci