George Richard Beymer Jr.
February 20, 1938
Avoca, Iowa, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, painter, sculptor, novelist|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (188 cm)|
George Richard Beymer Jr. (born February 20, 1938) is an American actor, filmmaker and artist who played the roles of Tony in the film version of West Side Story (1961), Peter in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), and Ben Horne on the television series Twin Peaks (1990–1991, 2017).
In 1949, Beymer began acting in television in a Los Angeles TV series for children Sandy Dreams (1949–53). He did it for three years, rehearsing after school during the week and recording it on Saturdays. The show ended when he was 13.
The contract with Selznick only lasted a year. Beymer found himself in much demand on television: Cavalcade of America (1954) and Johnny Tremain (1957). He guest starred in 26 Men, Zane Grey Theatre, Make Room for Daddy, The Gray Ghost, Navy Log, Whirlybirds, Sky King, Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre, and Schlitz Playhouse. He auditioned unsuccessfully for the role played by Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause (1954).
20th Century Fox
Beymer was put under contract to 20th Century Fox and started to be regarded as an exciting future star. Producer William Perlberg later said, "It's a thing that periodically happens out here. Somebody comes along and talk starts and agents and studios keep talking and talking. Like an avalanche, the talk gathers speed. Ultimately that 'somebody' turns out to be a big name in Hollywood only."
After appearing in Playhouse 90 he had a supporting role in High Time (1960), a comedy with Bing Crosby and Tuesday Weld at 20th Century Fox. "I wanted to be a very good actor," said Beymer later. "I wanted to work and let the work stand for something."
In June 1960, Beymer was cast in the lead role of Tony in West Side Story (1961), a huge hit. He shared a 1962 Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor with Bobby Darin and Warren Beatty.
Beymer later said he "was miserable in West Side Story. I didn't know enough at the time because I lacked certain knowledge in acting... I came out ridiculous. I didn't stand up for what I should have and I didn't know enough. The blame should be on me."
Beymer was reunited with Weld in the Fox comedy Bachelor Flat (1961). At Columbia he played the son of Rosalind Russell and Jack Hawkins in Five Finger Exercise (1962). Beymer later said he was "terrible" in that film.
Beymer was given the role of Nick Adams in Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962) for Fox, with an all-star supporting cast. Producer Jerry Wald says he and director Martin Ritt agreed that Beymer was "the young actor I think stands the best chance of being the next Gary Cooper." During filming Beymer met Sharon Tate and it was he who encouraged her to get into acting. The film was a big flop.
Beymer had a significant role in the film The Longest Day (1962), which was successful, but he was unhappy with his acting in the film. "They tried to make me the nice kid next door," he said. "That's just not me. They said just play you - but I am not the all American boy."
In December 1962, Richard Zanuck of Fox wanted Beymer in Illicit, based on a story by Vera Caspary but the film was not made; neither was A Promise at Dawn with Ingrid Bergman after Fox studio shut down temporarily due to cost overruns.
Producer Wald and director Franklin Schaffner cast Beymer in The Stripper (1963) with Joanne Woodward, which was critically acclaimed but not a big hit. Beymer returned to New York. "I got sick of the whole thing and I left," he said.
He assisted Barney Frank in rescuing Freedom Democrat forms in a rental truck that had been confiscated from arrested Freedom volunteers in Canton, Mississippi on Freedom Day (July 16, 1964). During this time, he filmed the award-winning documentary A Regular Bouquet: Mississippi Summer (1964), documenting the efforts of volunteers registering African-Americans to vote.
In February 1964, he said all the films he had done except The Longest Day "should have been classroom work and never should have been shown publicly... I'm not a leading man. I'm a character actor. That is, I'm not a stereotyped leading man type. I'm kind of a schlepp at times... I don't care about billing and being a star. Being myself is the first thing."
Beymer guest starred in episodes of Kraft Suspense Theatre, The Virginian, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, Dr. Kildare, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Death Valley Days. He did The Country Girl on stage.
Beymer turned to filmmaking with The Innerview (1973), which he wrote, produced and directed as well as starred.
"I never left the movies," Beymer said. "I just made different kinds of movies."
Return to acting
Beymer returned to Los Angeles in 1982 to reactivate his career.
He appeared in Cross Country (1983). He had roles in Paper Dolls (1984), playing the husband of Mimi Rogers, and Generation (1985). His television appearances at the time include Moonlighting, Dallas, The Bronx Zoo and Buck James, and co-starred in the film Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! (1989).
Beymer could also be seen in Under Investigation (1993), My Girl 2 (1994), State of Emergency (1994), The Disappearance of Kevin Johnson (1996), several episodes of Murder, She Wrote, A Face to Die For (1996), The Little Death (1996), Foxfire (1996), Elvis Meets Nixon (1997) and Home: the Horror Story. He was in episodes of Flipper, The X-Files, Vengeance Unlimited, Profiler, and Family Law.
In 2019, Beymer visited the set of Steven Spielberg's remake of West Side Story. In December 2021, the film's star, Rachel Zegler, released two photos on her Instagram page: One of Beymer sitting next to Spielberg; another of Beymer hugging Zegler while screenwriter Tony Kushner looked on. According to Zegler, Beymer said "Te adoro María" to her "over and over again" as they embraced.
In the early 2000s Beymer was already making documentaries. One entitled Whatever Happened to Richard Beymer?, which chronicled his obsession with photography throughout his life, was screened at the 2002 Twin Peaks Festival in Seattle.
He was in Sadie's Waltz (2008) then focused on directing documentaries: The Passing of a Saint (2010), It's a Beautiful World (2014), Richard Beymer's Before... the Big Bang (2016), I Had Bad Milk in Dehradun (2017), and Behind the Red Curtain (2017).
The avant-garde film The Innerview, which he directed, produced, wrote the screenplay for and edited, won the Josef von Sternberg Award at the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Filmfestival in 1974. His 2010 film, The Passing of a Saint, chronicles the funeral rites of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In April 2014 his film of a trip to India with David Lynch, It's a Beautiful World, was released.
In 2007 Beymer completed his first book, a self-published novel, Impostor: Or Whatever Happened to Richard Beymer?, a semi-autobiographical account of a young actor's struggle to find himself.
As visual artist
Beymer's photographs of Twin Peaks cast and crew were featured in the gallery of behind the scenes photos on the Definitive Gold Box Edition for Twin Peaks, released on October 30, 2007. He is also a painter and sculptor.
|1953||Terminal Station||Paul Stevens|
|1953||So Big||Roelf (Age 12–16)|
|1957||Johnny Tremain||Rab Silsbee|
|1959||The Diary of Anne Frank||Peter Van Daan|
|1960||High Time||Bob Bannerman|
|1961||West Side Story||Tony||Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy|
|1961||Bachelor Flat||Mike Pulaski|
|1962||Five Finger Exercise||Philip Harrington|
|1962||Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man||Nick Adams|
|1962||The Longest Day||Pvt. Dutch Schultz|
|1963||The Stripper||Kenny Baird|
|1964||A Regular Bouquet: Mississippi Summer||Documentary short; director and writer|
|1973||The Innerview||Also director, writer, producer, editor and cinematographer|
|1983||Cross Country||Evan Bley|
|1989||Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!||Dr. Newbury||Direct-to-video|
|1993||Under Investigation||Dr. Jerry Parsons|
|1994||My Girl 2||Peter Webb|
|1996||The Disappearance of Kevin Johnson||Chad Leary|
|2000||Home the Horror Story||Bob Parkinson|
|2002||Whatever Happened to Richard Beymer?||Documentary; director, editor and cinematographer|
|2008||Sadie's Waltz||Garvus||Short film|
|2010||The Passing of a Saint||Documentary; director, editor and cinematographer|
|2014||It's a Beautiful World||Documentary; director, editor and cinematographer|
|2016||Richard Beymer's Before the Big Bang||Documentary; director, editor and cinematographer|
|2017||I Had Bad Milk in Dehradun||Documentary short; director, editor and cinematographer|
|2017||Behind the Red Curtain||Documentary short; director, editor and cinematographer|
|1954||Cavalcade of America||Episode: "Gentle Conqueror"|
|1956–1957||Make Room for Daddy||The Boyfriend / Freddie Baxter||2 episodes|
|1957||The Gray Ghost||Luke Burnette||Episode: "An Eye for an Eye"|
|1957||26 Men||Tod Devers||Episode: "Dead Man in Tucson"|
|1957||Zane Grey Theatre||Shep Jolland||Episode: "The Bitter Land"|
|1958||Navy Log||Ennis Thompson||Episode: "The Soapbox Kid"|
|1958||Whirlybirds||John Thompson||Episode: "The Brothers"|
|1958||Sky King||Joe Belden||Episode: "Man Hunt"|
|1958||Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre||Mark||Episode: "On the Brink"|
|1958, 1968||Death Valley Days||John Owens / Zeb Fallon||2 episodes|
|1959||Schlitz Playhouse||Episode: "On the Brink"|
|1959||Playhouse 90||LeRoy Cadman||Episode: "Dark December"|
|1965||Kraft Suspense Theatre||Werner Schiff||Episode: "The East Breach"|
|1965||The Virginian||Mark Shannon / Frank Colter||2 episodes|
|1966||Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||Ralph Belmonte||Episode: "Guilty or Not Guilty"|
|1966||Dr. Kildare||Reverend Jack Elder||3 episodes|
|1967||The Man from U.N.C.L.E.||Harry Williams||Episode: "The Survival School Affair"|
|1975, 1980||Insight||Train Conductor / Josh / God||3 episodes|
|1981||The Girl on the Edge of Town||Television film; cinematographer|
|1982||The Juggler of Notre Dame||Television film; cinematographer|
|1984||Paper Dolls||David Fenton||13 episodes|
|1985||Generation||Allan Breed||Television film|
|1986||Moonlighting||Ray Adamson||Episode: "All Creatures Great... and Not So Great"|
|Murder, She Wrote||Various roles||6 episodes|
|1987–1988||Buck James||Max||2 episodes|
|1987||Dallas||Jeff Larkin||Episode: "Bedtime Stories"|
|1988||The Bronx Zoo||Mr. Locke||Episode: "The Gospel Truth"|
|1990–1991||Twin Peaks||Benjamin Horne||30 episodes|
|1992||Danger Island||Ben||Television film|
|1993||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Li Nalas||3 episodes|
|1994||State of Emergency||Dr. Ronald Frames||Television film|
|1996||A Face to Die For||Dr. Matthew Sheridan||Television film|
|1996||Flipper||Andrew Cantrell||Episode: "Sharks"|
|1996||The X-Files||Dr. Jack Franklin||Episode: "Sanguinarium"|
|1997||Elvis Meets Nixon||Bob Haldeman||Television film|
|1998||Vengeance Unlimited||Douglas Bradford||Episode: "Noir"|
|1999||Profiler||Martin Fizer||Episode: "Ceremony of Innocence"|
|2001||Family Law||Richard Collins||Episode: "Against All Odds"|
|2017||Twin Peaks||Benjamin Horne||6 episodes|
- John Willis' Screen World. Crown Publishers. 1981. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-517-54482-2.
- Hopper, Hedda (August 21, 1960). "The DICK BEYMER STORY: He Thanks Bing Crosby for His First Big Break, but He Won a Starring Role in 'West Side Story' Thru His Own Talent". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. B26.
- Brennan, Sandra (2014). "Full Biography". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
- Rosenfield, Paul (December 26, 1982). "MOVIES: Richard Beymer Never Was 'The Soft Young Man'". Los Angeles Times. p. M27.
- "Beymer Gets Film Role". The New York Times. June 8, 1960. p. 45.
- Alpert, Don (February 23, 1964). "Actors 'Come Out Ridiculous' in Films; Richard Beymer Tells Why". Los Angeles Times. p. C4.
- Bart, Peter (September 9, 1964). "A YOUNG EX-ACTOR RETURNS TO FILMS: Richard Beymer Writes and Produces Documentary". The New York Times. p. 48. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
- Parsons, Louella (August 2, 1961). "Ernest Hemingway's 'young man' film to honor Gary Cooper". The Washington Post.
- Thomas, Kevin (January 18, 1966). "Miss Tate: Old, New Hollywood". Los Angeles Times. p. C11.
- Hopper, Hedda (December 22, 1962). "Beymer Will Star in 20th's 'Illicit': Zanuck Lifts Star's Option; for Rosenberg's Production". Los Angeles Times. p. B6.
- Hopper, Hedda (September 9, 1962). "The Heat's on Beymer!: Did He Fly Too High Too Fast?". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. C32.
- "4 Officials Leave Fox Posts; 3 Films Delayed: Levathes Will Take Over TV Division; Bergman, Stewart Movies Called Off". Los Angeles Times. August 28, 1962. p. A2.
- "Richard Beymer Is Daily Student at Actors' Studio". Los Angeles Times. March 22, 1963. p. D12.
- Seidenbaum, Art (October 5, 1964). "Richard Beymer's South Side Story". Los Angeles Times. p. D1.
- Watson, Bruce (2010). Freedom Summer. New York: Penguin. p. 328. ISBN 978-1-101-19018-0.
- Profile, University of Southern Mississippi Libraries; accessed June 28, 2014. Archived May 26, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
- "Katherine Crawford in Suspense Segment". Los Angeles Times. March 11, 1965. p. D9.
- Smith, Cecil (October 17, 1966). "2 Revivals Do Little to Inspire". Los Angeles Times. p. C25.
- Martin, Betty (March 11, 1968). "MOVIE CALL SHEET: John Saxon Set for 'Lead'". Los Angeles Times. p. C32.
- Thomas, Kevin (June 29, 1973). "MOVIE REVIEW: Beymer Goes Avant-Garde". Los Angeles Times. p. H16.
- Wheelock, Julie (April 6, 1990). "Twin Peaks' Stars Tamblyn, Beymer Share Twin Experience: Television: Actors at work on ABC series share a common bond... their roles in 'West Side Story' almost 30 years ago". Los Angeles Times. p. F23.
- "Beymer's Career Karma He Used A Knife For Ill Iin West Side,For Good In 'A Face To Die For'". Los Angeles Daily News. March 10, 1996. p. L3.
- Munson, Kyle (October 13, 2014). "Richard Beymer another 'Twin Peaks' angle in Fairfield". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
- "Rachel zegler on Instagram: "we made a movie. It's out tonight. I loved living in this beautiful environment in the summer of 2019, and i have loved revisiting it through the lens of my dear friend and director steven spielberg. Our film is so special— it's one for the ages. So, for context— (1) on our last day on set, steven directs the balcony scene. (2) steven converses with richard beymer, the original tony from the 1961 film. (3) laughing my head off during i feel pretty with my favorite woman on the planet, miss jeanine tesori. (4) hugging richard beymer as he says "te adoro maría" to me over and over again, while our brilliant tony kushner watches on. (5) a loving sister moment with my sweet ariana debose, our anita for the modern age, yet timeless as ever. (6) hugging my beautiful josh andrés rivera on his last day of shooting, which didn't end up being his last day of shooting. He just kept coming back to set. I'm so glad he did. West side story is only in theaters 12/10/2021. Please consider seeing it with those you love most. It's the missing piece. Xo - r."".
- "Lynch Movie Night History". Twin Peaks Festival.
- Lee, Felicia R. (June 22, 2014). "Right Out of Hollywood, A Witness to History". The New York Times. p. AR10.
- Moore, James (March 2010). "Richard Beymer's Tribute to Maharishi – The Passing of a Saint". The Iowa Source. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
- "Richard Beymer talks "It's a Beautiful World" and more". Brad D Studios. Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
There is a TM center here in Fairfield, Iowa, so I would come here for two or three weeks and cool out.
- Beymer, Richard (2007). Impostor: Or Whatever Happened to Richard Beymer?. Richard Beymer. ISBN 978-0615175515. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
- Dye, David. Child and Youth Actors: Filmography of Their Entire Careers, 1914-1985. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1988, p. 18.