Special Guest Star
You say you don't remember Paul Richards? Well, think back a little. You probably remember the face, but not the name. Richards was a darkly handsome character actor who was usually cast as the guest villain in TV shows such as Gunsmoke (where his character shot Marshal Dillon in the very first episode). He also:
broke Burke's Law--twice
got booked by Danno on Hawaii 5-0
tried to Get Smart
menaced Mannix and The Mod Squad
Here's a bit of background on PR:
Paul Richards was born in Hollywood, CA, on November 23, 1924. He apparently caught the showbiz "bug" early: it was reported that when Richards was just ten years old, he and some friends made films with an old 8mm camera and then charged other kids a nickel admission to watch their "productions." As an adult, Richards commented, "Little did I think that one day the same people who paid five cents to see me in a movie would be paying two dollars to see me do almost the same thing...but, of course, the direction and scripting have improved."
He added, "I feel most fortunate that I know what I wanted when I was ten and now, two decades later, I have the same goal."
While earning a Masters degree in theatre arts at UCLA, Richards acted on radio, a medium well-suited to his distinctive voice. The talented young actor was awarded a scholarship to London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, but couldn't afford to travel to England. Also, as Richards later explained, "The scholarship was a great honor, but the time comes when you must stop formal studying--though you keep learning all your life--and get down to work."
So, Richards stayed in the US and entered the new medium of television, as well as films. He also entered into matrimony with stage actress Monica Keating in 1953.
In spite of his captivating looks, Richards wound up playing mostly heavies. PR finally got to play a good guy when he starred as a dedicated psychiatrist in the short-lived ABC series Breaking Point (1963). Then, it was back to being the bad guy in episodes of The Fugitive, Hawaii Five-O and Get Smart, and in films such as Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
Richards also lent his voice and urbane presence to TV commercials, including a memorable pitch for the 1967 Pontiac GTO. (Watch the actual ad here.)
Sadly, Paul Richards died of cancer on December 10, 1974. He was just 50 years old.
This site is simply a tribute
to an actor whose talent I came to appreciate about 30 years
too late. If by some chance you're also a PR fan, I hope you enjoy this
site. And, if you can provide any additional background information his life
and/or career, please let me know. It is my goal to expand this site onto the
printed page by writing a full-fledged, in-depth biography of Paul
Dr. Mac Will See You Now: A look at Paul Richards' TV series Breaking Point
PR Acting Credits
TV & Film Reviews
About the Author
Far more than PR fans
have visited this page
Website copyright 2002-2014 by Lisa Oldham