Richard Garrick

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Richard Garrick (December 27, 1878 – August 21, 1962) was a director and actor. He was born Richard Thomas O'Brien in the townland of Portlaw, County Waterford, Ireland. His father, James E. O'Brien, was a master tailor in that town, counting among his clients Lord Waterford as well as other nobility and landed gentry. In 1882, James left Portlaw for the United States. He landed in the town of North Adams, Massachusetts, where there were cotton mills and the need for a clothesmaker. Two years later, his wife Johanna and children followed.

In 1898, Richard enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served as a Corporal in Company M, U.S. 26th Infantry Regiment stationed in Miagao, Iloilo, in the Philippines in 1900 during the Philippine-American War. When he returned to North Adams, he worked for a time in his father's tailor shop, then struck out on his own.

He ventured to New York City where he landed roles in stage productions, among them The Boys of Company B, The Flag Lieutenant, The Fourth Estate and The Monkey's Paw. By 1912 Garrick was in Los Angeles and became a charter member of The Reel Club. Through the early 1910s, Garrick acted in, as well as directed, silent motion pictures, including Colonel Custard's Last Stand in 1914. In 1915, he joined the Gaumont Company and was placed in charge of the second Rialto Star Feature Company. By 1916, Garrick was the Director General of Gaumont's Jacksonville, Florida studios. He left the employ of Gaumont to open Garrick Studios Company, offering a five acre (20,000 m²) facility in Jacksonville that would house enough equipment and space for 20 companies to work simultaneously. As the 1916-1917 season approached, however, the mood towards filmmaking in Jacksonville shifted and there were many residents opposed to the industry's presence.

Garrick went overseas and directed films in the UK and France. When he returned to the United States, it was to pursue his first love — stage acting. During World War II, he was among the cast of Ten Little Indians, a production of the U.S. Army Special Service/USO Camp Shows in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations.

In 1947, Garrick was once again on stage in New York City, playing the role of the stranger in the original production of A Streetcar Named Desire, along with Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy. He also performed in the 1951 film version.

His television acting credits include the role of Benjamin Franklin in Night Strike on Calvacade of America (Apr 29, 1953 and Oct 19, 1954); and the role of Thaddeus Grimshaw in the episode Royal Carriage on My Friend Flicka (Mar 16, 1956).

Throughout his illustrious career, Richard Garrick performed along with some of the brightest actors and actresses in stage and film history, including James Arness, Ed Begley, Marlon Brando, Lee J. Cobb, James Dean, Julie Harris, Brian Keith, Charles Laughton, Vivien Leigh, Karl Malden, Victor Mature, Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe, Patricia Neal, Donald O'Connor, Maureen O'Sullivan, Anthony Quinn, Ronald Reagan, Ginger Rogers, Jean Simmons, Richard Todd, Spencer Tracy, Robert Wagner, John Wayne, Dennis Weaver and Richard Widmark.

Richard Garrick died on August 21, 1962 in Los Angeles and is buried as a U.S. veteran at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California.

Selected filmography[edit]

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