On July 16, 2023, just days after actors joined screenwriters in their Hollywood strike, a Facebook page shared what looked to be quite a story. The story: David J. Fielding, the actor who portrayed the face of Zordon on the 1990s children's TV show "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" ("MMPR"), reportedly had only made $150 for what amounted to hundreds of appearances in the franchise's episodes.
The character of Zordon, described by Fandom.com as being "a wise galactic wizard who fought for the side of good against the forces of evil" and who had been "trapped in a time warp," appeared on the show in a large, hologram-like form.
"Now, with this, we get an idea of the current actors guild strike and artificial intelligence," the Facebook post said, referring to concerns that AI could replace future roles that formerly were filled by human actors.
We contacted Fielding to ask about the rumor. In a Twitter DM, he said that he recalled making a flat rate of $150 for one day of filming for his portrayal as the face of Zordon. He also earned several additional paychecks after completing voice work for the "MMPR" series' first 31 episodes, before he moved away from Los Angeles and another voice actor, Robert Manahan, was hired.
After Fielding left L.A., his face continued to be used to portray Zordon in future episodes, with vocals coming from Manahan.
"All the footage of my character that was used for the show going forward was taken from that day's work," he said.
All told, Fielding said he made around $1,000-$1,200 for his participation in the franchise's episodes.
"Wasn't much I could do to fight it back in '93 as a small fish in the big L.A. pond," Fielding told Snopes.
Fielding's face appeared in the hologram-like form in around 150 episodes of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," the 10-episode mini-series "Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers," and 50 episodes of "Power Rangers Zeo," as well as several episodes of "Power Rangers Turbo" and "Power Rangers in Space," according to information from both Fielding and IMDb.com.
The end of the Facebook post that promoted this story cited actor David Yost, who portrayed the Blue Ranger character of Billy Cranston.
According to a tweet from Yost, he had said that Fielding's face was filmed once, then used in hundreds of episodes, just as Fielding had confirmed. We reached out to Yost to ask about this story and will update our article if we receive more details.
To bring the subject of Fielding's pay fully into focus, we turned to a Los Angeles Times story from May 2018. At the time, the newspaper reported that L.A. billionaire Haim Saban had sold the "Power Rangers" franchise he had started in a cash-and-stock deal worth $522 million, and added that, in addition to the franchise's many shows and movies that had been released over the years, the sales of toys and other merchandise had produced revenue amounting to billions of dollars.