Richard Conte in 1945.
|Born||Nicholas Peter Conte
March 24, 1910
Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
|Died||April 15, 1975
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Resting place||Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery|
|Spouse(s)||Ruth Storey (1943–1962 div.)
Shirlee Garner (1973–75, his death)
Richard Conte (born Nicholas Peter Conte; March 24, 1910 – April 15, 1975) was an American actor. He appeared in more than 100 films from the 1940s through 1970s, including I'll Cry Tomorrow, Ocean's 11, and The Godfather.
Richard Conte was born Nicholas Peter Conte on March 24, 1910, in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of Italian-Americans Julia (Fina), a seamstress, and Pasquale Conte, a barber. He graduated from William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City.
Conte worked as a truck driver, messenger, shoe salesman and a singing waiter before starting his acting career. He was discovered by actors Elia Kazan and John Garfield during his job at a Connecticut resort, which led to Conte finding stage work. He eventually earned a scholarship to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, where he became a standout actor.
Conte has been described as "a key actor in noir films ... invaluable because he could play tough heroes ... as well as conniving villains ...." His first film performance was in 1939, Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence, in which he was billed as Nicholas Conte. His career started to thrive during the Second World War. In 1942, Conte signed a long-term contract with 20th Century Fox. He then changed his name to Richard Conte. His first Fox film was Guadalcanal Diary (1943). During the World War II years, Conte played mostly soldiers in war dramas, including The Purple Heart (1944) and A Walk in the Sun (1945).
Conte appeared in many films noir after World War II. Conte appeared in the espionage movie 13 Rue Madeleine (1947) and in such Fox crime dramas as Cry of the City and Call Northside 777 (both from 1948) and Thieves' Highway (1949). Conte appeared in Otto Preminger's classic film noir Whirlpool (1949) co-starring Gene Tierney. He also starred with Susan Hayward along with Edward G. Robinson and Luther Adler in House of Strangers (1949) as Max Monetti, a lawyer who defends his father (Robinson) against government charges of banking irregularities and goes to prison for jury tampering.
In the early-1950s, Conte, now not working for Fox, began appearing in films for various studios. Critics and fans consider his best films from that era include the film noir B-movies The Sleeping City (1950), The Raging Tide (1951), Highway Dragnet (1954), The Blue Gardenia (1953), The Big Combo (1955), and The Brothers Rico (1957). He also was featured in a leading role opposite Susan Hayward in the 1955 film production I'll Cry Tomorrow, a biopic about singer/actress Lillian Roth.
In 1959, Conte starred in The Twilight Zone episode Perchance to Dream. He appeared as one of The Four Just Men (1959) in the Sapphire Films TV series for ITV. He appeared on American TV shows "throughout the late 1950s and much of the 1960s." He guest-starred on the ABC 1962-1963 drama series, Going My Way, and in the ABC sitcom, The Donna Reed Show. He and Anne Francis guest-starred together in the episode "Hideout" of CBS's short-lived drama series, The Reporter, starring Harry Guardino in the title role as New York City journalist Danny Taylor, with Gary Merrill as city editor Lou Sheldon. In 1966, Conte landed a supporting role in the short-lived CBS sitcom, The Jean Arthur Show.
Once film noir became less popular in the 1960s Conte’s career was at a standstill. He appeared as Lieutenant Dave Santini in two Frank Sinatra crime films, Tony Rome (1967) and Lady in Cement (1968). He had also appeared with Sinatra in the 1960 film Ocean's 11 and the 1966 picture Assault on a Queen.
Conte eventually moved to Europe and acted in a number of films. Later in life, Conte acted one of his most memorable performances in The Godfather (1972) as Don Barzini. He was at one time also considered for the title role, Don Vito Corleone, a role which Marlon Brando eventually filled.
He continued to work in European films until his death. His most notable of over sixty films include The Godfather (1972), Ocean's 11 (1960), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), and Call Northside 777 (1948).
Conte was married to actress Ruth Storey, with whom he adopted a son, film editor Mark Conte. They divorced in 1963. He married his second wife, Shirlee Garner, in 1973; they remained married until Conte's death. His grandson is National Football League free safety Chris Conte. Chris is the son of Mark Conte.
|1960||Golden Laurel||Top Action Performance||Nominated||They Came to Cordura (1959)|
- Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (1939) as Tony
- Guadalcanal Diary (1943) as Capt. Davis
- The Purple Heart (1944) as Lt. Angelo Canelli
- Captain Eddie (1945) as Pvt. John Bartek
- A Bell for Adano (1945) as Nicolo (Italian POW)
- The Spider (1945) as Chris Conlon
- A Walk in the Sun (1945) as Pvt. Rivera
- 13 Rue Madeleine (1946) as Bill O'Connell
- Somewhere in the Night (1946) as Mel Phillips
- The Other Love (1947) as Paul Clermont
- Call Northside 777 (1948) as Frank W. Wiecek
- Cry of the City (1948) as Martin Rome
- Big Jack (1949) as Dr. Alexander Meade
- House of Strangers (1949) as Max Monetti
- Thieves' Highway (1949) as Nick Garcos
- Whirlpool (1949) as Dr. William 'Bill' Sutton
- The Sleeping City (1950) as Fred Rowan,aka Fred Gilbert
- Under the Gun (1951) as Bert Galvin
- Hollywood Story (1951) as Larry O'Brien
- The Raging Tide (1951) as Bruno Felkin
- The Fighter (1952) as Felipe Rivera
- Riders of Vengeance (1952) as Jan Morrell
- The Blue Gardenia (1953) as Casey Mayo
- Desert Legion (1953) as Crito Damou / Omar Ben Khalif
- Slaves of Babylon (1953) as Nahum
- Highway Dragnet (1954) as Jim Henry
- Mask of Dust (1954) as Peter Wells
- The Big Combo (1955) as Mr. Brown
- New York Confidential (1955) as Nick Magellan
- The Big Tip Off (1955) as Johnny Denton
- Little Red Monkey (1955) as Bill Locklin
- Bengazi (1955) as John Gillmore
- Target Zero (1955) as Lt. Tom Flagler
- I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955) as Tony Bardeman
- Full of Life (1956) as Nick Rocco
- The Brothers Rico (1957) as Eddie Rico
- This Angry Age (1957) as Michael
- The Untouchables (1959-Season 2 Episode15) as Ira Bauer / Arnie Seeger
- They Came to Cordura (1959) as Cpl. Milo Trubee
- Ocean's 11 (1960) as Anthony Bergdorf
- Pepe (1960) as Richard Conte
- Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1963) as Leonard Ashley
- The Eyes of Annie Jones (1964) as David Wheeler
- Circus World (1964) as Aldo Alfredo
- The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) as Barabbas
- Synanon (1965) as Reid Kimble
- Extraña invasión (1965)
- Assault on a Queen (1966) as Tony Moreno
- Hotel (1967) as Detective Dupere
- Tony Rome (1967) as Lt. Dave Santini
- Death Sentence (1968) as Diaz
- Operation Cross Eagles (1968) as Lt. Bradford
- Lady in Cement (1968) as Lt. Dave Santini
- Explosion (1969) as Dr. Philip Neal
- Piazza pulita (1972)
- The Godfather (1972) as Barzini
- Il Boss (1973) as Don Corrasco
- The Big Family (1973) as Don Antonio Marchesi
- My Brother Anastasia (1973) as Alberto 'Big Al' Anastasia
- The Violent Professionals (1973) as Padulo
- Tony Arzenta / Big Guns (1973) as Nick Gusto
- Anna, quel particolare piacere (1973) as Riccardo Sogliani
- Shoot First, Die Later (1974) as Mazzanti
- Evil Eye (1975) as Dr. Stone
- La encadenada (1975) as Alexander
- Violent Rome (1975) as Lawyer Sartori
- Un urlo dalle tenebre (1975) as Exorcist
|1946||Readers' Digest Radio Edition||Our Lady's Juggler|
|1953||Hollywood Star Playhouse||Blackout|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richard Conte.|
- Obituary Variety, April 23, 1975.
- "Another Star dies". Wellsville Daily Reporter. April 16, 1975. p. 1. Retrieved June 10, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Stevenson, L.L. (January 30, 1951). "Lights of New York". Valley Morning Star. p. 4. Retrieved June 10, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Conte made film debut in '43". The Kerrville Times. June 2, 1991. p. 47. Retrieved June 10, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Mayer, Geoff; McDonnell, Brian (2007). Encyclopedia of Film Noir. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 136–137. ISBN 0-313-33306-8. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
- "Looks Like 'North Star' Hit for Goldwyn". The Salt Lake Tribune. May 24, 1943. p. 6. Retrieved June 10, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "The Jean Arthur Show". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 26, 2009.
- "Actor Richard Conte Dies Of Heart Attack". Valley Morning Star. April 16, 1975. p. 9. Retrieved June 10, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Actor Richard Conte Dies". Cumberland Evening Times. April 16, 1975. p. 1. Retrieved June 10, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest. 39 (1): 32–41. Winter 2013.
- Kirby, Walter (January 18, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 40. Retrieved June 20, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.