35 Years Ago: That Time Boy George Guest-Starred on ‘The A-Team’
Television shows have a long history of booking A-list musical guest stars to attract viewers and higher ratings. Although Miami Vice was the king of the cameo during the '80s, the show wasn't alone in seeking out top talent.
On Feb. 11, 1986, long-running action show The A-Team booked '80s pop star Boy George to appear in an episode called "Cowboy George."
The plot was music-focused: Faceman (Dirk Benedict) has hired the highly touted group Cowboy George and the Range Rats to play at a low-key venue called the Floor 'Em. However, the musician who shows up is Boy George, who's under the impression he's playing the Arizona Forum.
That mistake naturally doesn't go over well with the club, which was expecting a different act ("I booked Cowboy George, and some turkey in a sequined coat shows up") and figures the new waver wearing "eyeball glitter" isn't going to sell tickets. The singer also isn't thrilled with the mix-up, noting with cheerful passive-aggression about the venue, "Excuse me, I can't play this place because it's a certified toilet."
He later comes around, however: After another pointed dig ("This place is really American, but I think people will like us once they hear the music"), he and the rest of Culture Club end up performing two songs in the episode. First up was their current single "Move Away," which eventually became the band's last Top 40 single, peaking at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100; later, as the episode ends, the band returns for a spirited lip-sync of the mega-hit "Karma Chameleon."
Watch Boy George on 'The A-Team'
In between these performances, George gets involved with another subplot involving the A-Team springing into action to fight off bad guys.
Memorably, Murdock (Dwight Schultz) enlists the musician to help jimmy a locked door; George gives a bobby pin and moral support. When Murdock notes, "A really honest man doesn't have an appetite for this" as he struggles to open the door, George says, "Who needs honesty?" and then kicks the door in himself.
Unsurprisingly, Boy George's The A-Team appearance has become legendary over the years – and, in interviews, he's revealed plenty of nuggets about his role. The singer revealed that his Culture Club bandmates initially wanted to be on the red-hot Miami Vice, although it wasn't meant to be. "I think because of me - we were a little too camp for Miami Vice," he said during a 2020 interview
In a 1995 appearance on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, he talked about the financial reasons his role came about. "First of all, they offered me a lot of money to do it," he said, and while he couldn't remember the exact amount, he said it was "close to" $100,000. "It was something very alluring."
"The thing was, when I got there, they gave me this script, which was a total valley-girl script," he added. "And it was like, 'I wouldn't say things like this.' But I thought, 'Well, they're paying me loads of money, so I guess I'll go for it.'"
Watch an 'A-Team' Promo With Boy George
In his 1995 autobiography, Take It Like a Man, he recalled the actual filming was also a bit rough: "I had to stay stoned to get through the experience."
Among other things, while The A-Team costar Mr. T was "fabulous," the icon had a big ego: "There was some fun, hiding from Mr. T, who would charge into my Winnebago every morning and talk about how wonderful he was." Mr. T and actor George Peppard (who played Hannibal) also didn't get along, which caused mild stress, although George has fond memories of Peppard and his wife.
And while George's kicking in the door has become an iconic move, in the moment things were different. "The last day's filming was the pinnacle of cringe," he wrote. "I felt and looked like a total prat. For the rest of the day everyone was calling me Rambo."