Richard Haydn

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Richard Haydn
Richard Haydn Press Wire Photo 1945.jpg
Richard Haydn, 1945
Born George Richard Haydon
(1905-03-10)10 March 1905
Camberwell, London, England, UK
Died 25 April 1985(1985-04-25) (aged 80)
Los Angeles, California, US
Cause of death Heart attack
Occupation Actor
Years active 1938–1985

Richard Haydn (10 March 1905 – 25 April 1985) was an English comic actor in radio, films and television. Some of his better known performances include Ball of Fire (1941) as Professor Oddley, No Time for Love (1943) as Roger, And Then There Were None (1945) as Thomas Rogers, The Emperor Waltz (1948), Alice in Wonderland (1951) as the Caterpillar, as Baron Popoff in The Merry Widow (1952), and The Sound of Music (1965) as Maximilian "Max" Detweiler.[1]


George Richard Haydon was born on 10 March 1905 in London. After working as a music hall entertainer and overseer of a Jamaican banana plantation, he joined a touring British theatre troupe.[1] He was known for playing eccentric characters, such as Edwin Carp (on a 1964 episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show), Claud Curdle (Mr. Music, 1950), Richard Rancyd (Miss Tatlock's Millions, 1948) and Stanley Stayle (Dear Wife, 1949).[clarification needed] Much of his stage delivery was done in a deliberate over-nasalized and over-enunciated manner. While he was noted for his performance as the voice of the Caterpillar in the 1951 Disney animated adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, Haydn is probably best known to modern audiences for the small role of Herr Falkstein in the 1974 Mel Brooks classic comedy Young Frankenstein. Haydn was also memorable as the manservant Rogers in the 1945 adaptation of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. He is also well remembered for his role as "Uncle" Max Detweiler in The Sound of Music.

Haydn performed as the nosy neighbor and gossip in Sitting Pretty with Clifton Webb and Maureen O'Hara in 1948, using his over-nasal voice. He was Prof. Summerlee in 1960's The Lost World, and in the same year played opposite Doris Day in Please Don't Eat the Daisies.

In the DVD commentary of Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks said that Haydn eschewed the Hollywood lifestyle, and that he used gardening and horticulture as a means of escape.

Following a heart attack, Haydn died on 25 April 1985 in Los Angeles, California.

Television and film[edit]

Haydn as Thomas Rogers in the 1945 film And Then There Were None

In the 1960 The Twilight Zone episode "A Thing About Machines", he portrayed Mr. Bartlett Finchley, a quirky, self-absorbed, technophobe who is confronted by every machine in his home. On 1 April 1964, he reprised the Edwin Carp character, a poet and an expert on fish, in an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show which saluted several old-time radio performers.

On 11 April 1968 he appeared as a Japanese businessman on the episode of Bewitched entitled "A Majority of Two". On 23 February 1969, he played the Magician who had twin daughters on the episode of Bonanza entitled "The Lady and the Mountain Lion" (S10/Ep21). On 12 January 1973 he appeared as Edward the butler in season 4 episode 15 of Love American Style entitled "Love And The Impossible Gift".

Perhaps his most acclaimed role was in Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1965 film musical The Sound of Music, in which he played the Von Trapps' family friend Max Detweiler.

Other work[edit]

He was a regular on the Burns and Allen radio show. Haydn authored one book, The Journal of Edwin Carp, in 1954.

Select filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "Richard Haydn: Full Biography". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 

External links[edit]