Richard Widmark: Wikis


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Richard Widmark

Widmark in the trailer for Panic in the Streets (1950)
Born Richard Weedt Widmark
December 26, 1914(1914-12-26)
Sunrise Township, Minnesota, U.S.
Died March 24, 2008 (aged 93)
Roxbury, Connecticut, U.S.
Years active 19471996
Spouse(s) Jean Hazlewood (m. 1942–1997) «start: (1942)–end+1: (1998)»"Marriage: Jean Hazlewood to Richard Widmark" Location: (linkback: (her death)
Susan Blanchard (m. 1999–2008) «start: (1999)–end+1: (2009)»"Marriage: Susan Blanchard to Richard Widmark" Location: (linkback: (his death)

Richard Widmark (December 26, 1914 – March 24, 2008) was an American actor of films, stage, radio and television.

He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as the villainous Tommy Udo in his debut film, Kiss of Death. Early in his career Widmark specialized in similar villainous or anti-hero roles in films noir, but he later branched out into more heroic leading and support roles in westerns, mainstream dramas and horror films, among others.

At his death, Widmark was the earliest surviving Oscar nominee in the Supporting Actor category, and one of only two left from the 1940s (the other having been James Whitmore). For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Widmark has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6800 Hollywood Boulevard. In 2002, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


Early life

Richard Weedt Widmark was born in Sunrise Township, Minnesota,[1] the son of Ethel Mae (née Barr) and Carl H. Widmark.[2] His father was of Swedish descent and his mother of English and Scottish ancestry.[3] Widmark grew up in Princeton, Illinois, and also lived in Henry, Illinois for a short time, moving frequently because of his father's work as a traveling salesman.[4] He attended Lake Forest College, where he studied acting and also taught acting after he graduated.


Widmark made his debut as a radio actor in 1938 on Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories. In 1941 and 1942, he was heard daily on the Mutual Broadcasting System in the title role of the daytime serial Front Page Farrell, introduced each afternoon as "the exciting, unforgettable radio drama... the story of a crack newspaperman and his wife, the story of David and Sally Farrell." Farrell was a top reporter for the Brooklyn Eagle. When the series moved to NBC, Widmark turned the role over to Carleton G. Young and Staats Cotsworth.

During the 1940s, Widmark was also heard on such network radio programs as Gang Busters, Inner Sanctum Mysteries, Joyce Jordan, M.D., Molle Mystery Theater, Suspense and Ethel and Albert. He returned to radio drama decades later, performing on CBS Radio Mystery Theater (1974-82), and was also one of the five hosts on Sears Radio Theater (as the Friday "adventure night" host) from 1979-81.

Broadway and films

Widmark with Victor Mature in the trailer for Kiss of Death (1947)

Widmark appeared on Broadway in 1943 in Kiss and Tell. He was unable to join the military during World War II because of a perforated eardrum. He was in Chicago appearing in a stage production of Dream Girl with June Havoc when 20th Century Fox signed him to a seven-year contract.[5]

Widmark's first movie appearance was in 1947's Kiss of Death, as the giggling, sociopathic villain Tommy Udo.[6] His most notorious scene in the film found Udo pushing a wheelchair-using woman (played by Mildred Dunnock) down a flight of stairs to her death.[4] Widmark was almost not cast. He said, "The director, Henry Hathaway, didn't want me. I have a high forehead; he thought I looked too intellectual." Hathaway was overruled by studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck. "Hathaway gave me kind of a bad time," recalled Widmark.[5] Kiss of Death was a commercial and critical success: Widmark won the Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year - Actor, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.[6] Widmark's character was also the inspiration for the song The Ballad of Tommy Udo by the band Kaleidoscope.

In 1950, Widmark co-starred with Paul Douglas, Barbara Bel Geddes, Jack Palance and Zero Mostel in Elia Kazan's Panic in the Streets, and appeared opposite Gene Tierney in Jules Dassin's Night and the City. Both are considered classic examples of film noir.

In 1952, Widmark had his handprints cast in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. During his stint at Fox, he appeared in The Street with No Name (1948), Don't Bother to Knock (1952) with Marilyn Monroe, and Pickup on South Street (1953). He also appeared in Vincente Minnelli's 1955 cult film The Cobweb with Lauren Bacall.

He starred in and also produced a drama set during the Cold War, The Bedford Incident (1965). He is also credited with producing his films Time Limit (1957) and The Secret Ways (1961). Other notable films in the 1960s were Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), How the West was Won (1962) and Cheyenne Autumn (1964). During the 1970s, Widmark's films included Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Coma (1978), and The Swarm (1978). In all, Widmark appeared in over 60 films before making his final movie appearance in the 1991 thriller True Colors.[1]


Widmark in Broken Lance (1954)

Widmark was a guest on What's My Line? in 1954. The following year, he made a rare foray into comedy on I Love Lucy, portraying himself when a star-struck Lucy trespasses onto his property to steal a souvenir. Widmark finds Lucy sprawled out on his living room floor underneath a bear skin rug.

Returning to television in the early 1970s, Widmark received an Emmy nomination for his performance as the U.S. President in the TV movie Vanished (1971), a Fletcher Knebel political thriller. In 1972-73, he reprised his detective role from Madigan (1968) with six 90-minute episodes on the NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie. The mini-series Benjamin Franklin (1974) was a unique experiment of four 90-minute dramas, each with a different actor performing the title role: Widmark, Beau Bridges, Lloyd Bridges, Eddie Albert, Melvyn Douglas and Willie Aames (Franklin at age 12). The series won a Peabody Award and five Emmys. During the 1980s, Widmark returned to TV with a half-dozen TV movies.

Personal life

Widmark speaking in France, 1991

From 1942 until her death in 1997, Widmark was married to playwright Jean Hazlewood. The marriage produced a daughter, Anne Heath Widmark, an artist and author who was married to baseball player Sandy Koufax from 1969 to 1982. In 1999, Widmark married socialite Susan Blanchard, who had been Henry Fonda's third wife.

Green City, Missouri, is the site of Widmark Airport ((FAA LID: MO83)) in extreme northeastern Missouri. Towns the size of Green City (pop. 688 in 2000) usually do not have airports, but Richard Widmark owned a cattle ranch in the area during the 1950s and 1960s. Widmark contributed funds to the construction of an airport which led to its being named in his honor.

Widmark died after a long illness on March 24, 2008, at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut.


Short films:

  • Screen Snapshots: Hopalong in Hoppy Land (1951)
  • Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Night Life (1952)
  • 1955 Motion Picture Theatre Celebration (1955)
  • Shooting the Moonshine War (1970)


External links

Simple English

Richard Widmark
Richard Widmark speaking in France in 1991
Born December 26, 1914(1914-12-26)
Sunrise Township, Minnesota
Died March 24, 2008 (aged 93)
Roxbury, Connecticut
Years active 1947-1996
Spouse Jean Hazlewood (1942-1997) (her death)
Susan Blanchard (1999-2008) (his death)

Richard Widmark (December 26, 1914March 24, 2008) was a well known American actor of movies, stage, radio and television. He is best known for his role as Tommy Udo in his first film, Kiss of Death. Characters played by Widmark were often tough.

Other websites

Error creating thumbnail: sh: convert: command not found
NAME Widmark, Richard
DATE OF BIRTH 1914-12-26
PLACE OF BIRTH Sunrise Township, Minnesota
DATE OF DEATH 2008-3-24
PLACE OF DEATH Roxbury, Connecticut

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