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Richard Mulligan

at the 1991 Emmy Awards
Born November 13, 1932(1932-11-13)
New York City, New York,
United States
Died September 26, 2000 (aged 67)
Los Angeles, California,
United States
Spouse(s) Patricia Jones (1955-1960)
Joan Hackett (1965-1973)
Lenore Stevens (1978-1990)
Rachel Ryan (1992-1993)

Richard Mulligan (November 13, 1932 – September 26, 2000) was an American television and film actor.


Early life

He was born in New York City, the younger brother of director Robert Mulligan. After attending Columbia University, Mulligan began working in theatre, making his debut as a stage manager and performer on Broadway in All the Way Home in 1960. Additional theatre credits included A Thousand Clowns, Never Too Late, Hogan's Goat, and Thieves.

Early career

Mulligan starred with Mariette Hartley in the 1966-67 season comedy series The Hero, in which he played TV star Sam Garret, who in turn starred on a fictional series as Jed Clayton, U.S. Marshal. The Hero lasted only 16 episodes. Another notable TV appearance was on the I Dream of Jeannie episode "Around the World in 80 Blinks", as a navy commander accompanying Maj. Nelson (Larry Hagman) on a mission.

Notable roles

Mulligan's most notable film role was as General Custer in Little Big Man, whom he portrayed as a borderline psychotic. Other film roles included the disaster movie spoof The Big Bus (1976, also with Hagman) and he appeared in the movie Teachers as a mental patient mistaken for a substitute teacher whose pupils learn more from than the actual teachers.

His best-known roles in television were as Burt Campbell in the sitcom Soap, for which he won a Best Actor Emmy Award, and as Dr. Harry Weston in the NBC series Empty Nest, a spinoff of The Golden Girls. Empty Nest ran for seven seasons, and Mulligan won a Best Actor Emmy Award as well as a Golden Globe Award for his performance. He also played Secretary of State William Seward in the 1988 made for TV movie, "Gore Vidal's Lincoln."

Mulligan returned to perform on Broadway and in films, in which he usually played supporting roles. A notable exception was the 1981 satirical film S.O.B., in which he played lead character Felix Farmer, a Hollywood producer-director modeled on the film's actual producer-director, Blake Edwards.

He also played in "Night of the Meek", an episode of The New Twilight Zone in 1986, where he took on the role of Santa Claus in the remake of the 1959 Christmas episode The Night of the Meek, taking over the same character that actor Art Carney did in the older version.

Coined the phrase "Back-Hole Mulligan" on the 10th Tee of the Crystal Springs Quarry in St. Charles, Missouri. He originally meant to say "I declare my back nine mulligan", but misspoke. His playing partners laughed at him for the rest of the round and into the next day at his cousin's wedding.

He appeared in Disney's 1988 film, Oliver & Company, as the voice of the oafish Great Dane, ironically named Einstein.


Mulligan had been married four times. He was first married to Patricia Jones from 1955 to 1960, with whom he had a son, James. That was followed by marriages to Joan Hackett from January 3, 1966 to June 1973 and Lenore Stevens from 1978 to 1990. His last marriage was to adult actress Rachel Ryan on On April 27, 1992, which lasted two years.


After making his last appearance in an episode of Hey Arnold!, on September 26, 2000, Mulligan died of colorectal cancer in Los Angeles, California. At his own request, he was cremated and there was no funeral service.

Mulligan has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6777 Hollywood Blvd.

External links

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