Paul Richards (actor)

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For other people with the same name, see Paul Richards.
Paul Richards
Paul Richards Breaking Point 1963.JPG
Richards in the 1963 television series Breaking Point
Born Paul Richard Levitt
(1924-11-23)November 23, 1924
Hollywood, Hollywood, Los Angeles
California, USA
Died December 10, 1974(1974-12-10) (aged 50)
Culver City, California
Cause of death Cancer
Resting place Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City
Years active 1951-1974
Spouse(s) Monica Keating (1953-1974, his death)

Paul Richards (November 23, 1924 - December 10, 1974) was an American actor who appeared in films and on television in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.


He guest-starred in a number of classic television western series such as The Rifleman, Have Gun–Will Travel, Zorro, Johnny Ringo, The Rebel, Zane Grey Theatre, Black Saddle, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Trackdown, Rawhide, The Virginian, The Loner, and The Guns of Will Sonnett. One of Richards' most memorable appearances came in the very first Gunsmoke episode, entitled "Matt Gets It," broadcast on CBS on September 10, 1955, as the first antagonist to outdraw and nearly kill Marshal Matt Dillon. He made additional guest appearances in 1956, 1958, and 1968.

Richards guest-starred three times in 1956 on the NBC western anthology series Frontier, having portrayed Louis Rose in "The Texicans", John Webb in "The Big Dry", and Will Shaw in "The Salt War". He guest-starred in Brian Keith's first series, Crusader, a Cold War drama. Richards appeared twice on the ABC and later syndicated western series Tombstone Territory, starring Pat Conway and Richard Eastham, in the episodes "Thicker than Water" (1958) and "The Noose That Broke" (1959). Richards was cast as Bret Younger in the episode "The Desperado" (1957) on the ABC western series, Broken Arrow.

He also appeared in the syndicated series, Sheriff of Cochise, a crime drama starring John Bromfield set in Arizona, and The Silent Service, a drama based on true stories of the submarine section of the United States Navy. He was a guest star on Kenneth Tobey's Whirlybirds, a syndicated aviation adventure series. He appeared on three other syndicated crime dramas, Sheriff of Cochise and U.S. Marshal, both starring John Bromfield, and The Brothers Brannagan, with Stephen Dunne and Mark Roberts. He made guest appearances on the ABC adventure series, Straightaway, and on NBC's Dragnet, starring Jack Webb. In the 1955 episode, "The Big Bird," Richards played Phil Baurch, who stole from people's homes after being hired out to do yard work, and he killed pet birds.

In 1959, he appeared in a five-part episode entitled "Louie K" in the role of Louis "Louie" Kassoff in NBC's 1920s crime drama The Lawless Years with James Gregory. Over the years, Richards guest starred in many television series, including NBC's Dan Raven, a crime drama starring Skip Homeier, and CBS's anthology series The Lloyd Bridges Show as "Doc" in the 1962 episode, "Testing Ground". He made two guest appearances on Perry Mason. In 1959 he played murderer Earl Mauldin in "The Case of the Startled Stallion," then he played defendant Ted Chase in the 1962 episode, "The Case of the Melancholy Marksman" (in 1973 Richards played Jules Barron in The New Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Cagey Cager"). In the summer of 1960, he was cast in an episode of David McLean's NBC western series, Tate. In 1962, he portrayed the part of Vance Caldwell in the episode "The Boss's Daughters" on CBS's Rawhide.

He starred as Dr. McKinley Thompson in the 1963-1964 medical drama Breaking Point, set in a hospital psychiatric ward. His co-star was Eduard Franz. Breaking Point aired the same year as the second season of NBC's related series, The Eleventh Hour starring Jack Ging and Ralph Bellamy. He appeared with Roy Thinnes in the 1964 episode "Murder by Scandal" of the CBS drama The Reporter starring Harry Guardino. He appeared in a 1964 episode of The Fugitive entitled "A.P.B." as an escaped convict opposite David Janssen's Dr. Richard Kimble. Richards' portrayal of an amoral killer with a refined intellect was an especially compelling performance in that popular drama's legendary run. He later appeared as a villainous lawyer in a 1968 episode of Hawaii Five-O, called "Twenty-Four Karat Kill".

Richards guest starred in a number of popular 1960s and 1970s television series, including Burke's Law, I Spy, Mannix, Banacek, McMillan and Wife, and three appearances on The Mod Squad between 1969 and 1972. Richards appeared primarily in dramas, but made turns into comedy as well, appearing in "The Town Tamer" episode of Tim Conway's 1967 western sitcom Rango, and in a 1969 episode of Get Smart as a villain named Ironhand who had assumed leadership of KAOS, but whose reign was short lived as Maxwell Smart thwarted his plans.

He appeared as the mutant leader Mendez in the 1970 apocalyptic science-fiction film Beneath the Planet of the Apes. One of his minor film roles was a prisoner in Demetrius and the Gladiators, a sequel to 20th Century Fox's biblical epic The Robe. For several years, Richards served as the commercial pitchman for General Motors' defunct Pontiac Division, doing commercials for several of their cars, including the GTO and Firebird.[1][1][2]

Personal life[edit]

In 1953, Richards married actress Monica Keating (July 20, 1924 - September 10, 1985).


After dying from cancer at the age of 50, Richards was entombed in Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery near Moe Howard.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b US Auto Industry (24 July 2010). "Pontiac GTO Commercial (1967)" – via YouTube. 
  2. ^ US Auto Industry (24 July 2010). "1969 Pontiac Firebird Commercial" – via YouTube. 

External links[edit]