Richard Bakalyan

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Richard Bakalyan
Born (1931-01-29)January 29, 1931
Watertown, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died February 27, 2015(2015-02-27) (aged 84)
Elmira, New York, U.S.
Cause of death cerebral hemorrhage
Occupation Actor
Years active 1954–2008
Spouse(s) Betty Lee Bauman (1952–1967) (her death)[1]

Richard Bakalyan (January 29, 1931 – February 27, 2015) was an Armenian American character actor who started his career playing juvenile delinquents in his first several films.

Early life[edit]

Born Richard Bakalyan on January 29, 1931 in Watertown, Massachusetts, he was the son of Armenian-born William Nishan Bakalyan and Canadian (from Nova Scotia) Elsie Florence (née Fancy) Bakalyan.[2]

Bakalyan served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.[3]

Early years[edit]

Balkayan served a year's probation at age 15 for unknown crimes.



Early in his career he was cast as thugs, outlaws, and in military action films, like The Delinquents (1957), The Bonnie Parker Story (1958), and Up Periscope (1959). During the filming of 1958's juvenile-gang drama "The Cool and the Crazy", he and fellow actor Dick Jones were arrested for vagrancy for real on-location, in Kansas City. They were standing on the corner between takes in "JD" outfits and the police thought that they were actual gang members. It took several hours for the film crew to explain to the police what was going on, and had them released from jail.

By the mid-1960s, as he grew out of these roles, he became something of a comic heavy, often cast years later in family Disney films, though still known in dramas. Some of his Disney projects included Never a Dull Moment (1968), The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969), The Strongest Man in the World (1975), Return from Witch Mountain (1978), and voice-efforts in The Fox and the Hound (1981), as 'Dinky' the finch bird.

Bakalyan had an uncredited role in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) as the good thief on the cross. He appeared in several of Frank Sinatra's movies during the 1960s, such as Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), None but the Brave (1965), and Von Ryan's Express (1965), becoming lifelong friends with the Sinatra family. While filming Pressure Point in 1962, he met co-star Bobby Darin, who later became one of Bakalyan's closest friends. It's reported Bakalyan was one of the last friends to see Darin, before his early death from heart disease, in 1973.

A prolific character player, Bakalyan was profiled in the book, "Names You Never Remember, With Faces You Never Forget" by Justin Humphreys.


Bakalyan has also appeared on numerous television shows from the 1950s through the 2000s.[citation needed]. Early small screen performances came in "Panic!", The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Hawaiian Eye, The Untouchables, and Batman. Later he appeared in a variety of shows, including Love, American Style, Kojak, The Bionic Woman, Charlie's Angels, Hill Street Blues, and the NBC comedy series My Name Is Earl, which was his last screen effort in October 2008.

In 1968, Bakalyan was featured in "Way Down Cellar," a two-part story on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.[4]


Richard Bakalyan died suddenly on February 27, 2015, at the Arnot Ogden Medical Center, in Elmira, New York, aged 84. He was predeceased by a brother, Gerald, but survived by another brother, William, and extended family.[5]

Partial filmography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Names You Never Remember, With Faces You Never Forget, by Justin Humphreys. BearManor Media, Albany, 2006. ISBN 1-59393-041-0.


  1. ^ Staff, Variety (11 March 2015). "Dick Bakalyan, Character Actor Who Appeared in 'Chinatown,' Dies at 84". Retrieved 26 May 2018. 
  2. ^ Names you never remember, with faces you never forget: interviews with the movies' character actors by Justin Humphreys - page 45
  3. ^ Lentz III, Harris (April 2015). "Obituaries". Classic Images (478): 50–56. 
  4. ^ "(TV listing)". The Argus. January 6, 1968. p. 7. Retrieved April 21, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ "Richard Bakalyan Obituary". Star-Gazette. March 1, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Double Feature Set For Plaza Two Days". The Paris News. July 20, 1958. p. 21. Retrieved April 21, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read

External links[edit]