Richard Eastham

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Richard Eastham
Dickinson Swift Eastham

(1916-06-22)June 22, 1916
DiedJuly 10, 2005(2005-07-10) (aged 89)
Occupation(s)Film, television and stage actor
Betty Jean Eastham
(m. 1942; died 2002)

Richard Eastham (born Dickinson Swift Eastham; June 22, 1916 – July 10, 2005) was an American actor of stage, film, and television, a concert singer known for his deep baritone voice, and an inventor.

Early years[edit]

Eastham's birth name was chosen in honor of Miss Helen Dickinson Swift, one of his mother's college classmates.[1] He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest K. Eastham, and he attended Soldan High School.[2] Prior to serving in the Army during World War II, he was a student at Washington University in St. Louis, where he sang with the St. Louis Grand Opera.[3]


On Broadway, Eastham was the understudy for Ezio Pinza as "Emile DeBecque" in South Pacific, eventually replacing Pinza on stage. His performance was so well received that he was made the male lead for a two-year national tour of the musical.[4] His other Broadway plays included Medea and Call Me Madam.[5] Eastham and co-star Janet Blair, in their original roles, headed another tour of South Pacific in 1965.[6] In 1981 he appeared as Wesley Northridge on "The Waltons" The Lumberjack (TV Episode 1981)

Prompted by his playing of a guitar in The Sound of Music, Eastham invented the "Sidewinder", a mechanical device that attaches to the tuning gears and assists restringing a guitar. 31,000 "Sidewinders" were sold in the first three weeks they were publicly available.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Eastham married Betty Jean Van Allen, who was his high school classmate.[2] On July 10, 2005, he died of Alzheimer's disease at an assisted-living facility in Pacific Palisades.[7]


Year Title Role Notes
1954 There's No Business Like Show Business Lew Harris Film
1957 Man on Fire Bryan Seward Film
1960 Toby Tyler; or, Ten Weeks with a Circus Colonel Sam Castle Film
1965 That Darn Cat! Supervisor Newton Film
1966 Not with My Wife, You Don't! General Milt Walters Film
1966 Murderers' Row Dr. Norman Solaris Film
1969 Silent Night, Lonely Night Paul Johnson TV Movie
1969 The Last of the Powerseekers Anthony Mathesson III TV Movie
1973 Tom Sawyer Doctor P.R. Robinson Film
1973 Battle for the Planet of the Apes Mutant Captain Film
1974 The President's Plane is Missing General Colton TV Movie
1974 McQ Walter Forrester Film
1974 The Missiles of October Gen. David M. Shoup - USMC Commandant TV Movie
1975 Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan Investigator TV Movie
1975 Doubletalk Father Short
1976 Mallory: Circumstantial Evidence Executive TV Movie
1980 Conquest of the Earth Gen. Cushing Film
1982 A Wedding on Walton's Mountain Mr. Northridge TV Movie
Year Title Role Notes
1955 Max Liebman Spectaculars Grandfather Heidi
1957 Men of Annapolis Coach Uehling / Instructor Damon 2 episodes
1957-1960 Tombstone Territory Harris Claibourne / Narrator 91 episodes
1960 Zane Grey Theatre Jim Amber Never Too Late
1960 The Aquanauts Sinclair Disaster Below
1961 Bat Masterson Orin Dilts A Lesson in Violence
1961 The Barbara Stanwyck Show Sam Verner Along the Barbary Coast
1961 King of Diamonds Trumik The Couriers
1962 Ensign O'Toole Chief Petty Officer O'Toole Operation Potomac
1962 Ripcord Don Hart Hostage Below
1963 Alcoa Premiere Will Stark The Town That Died
1961-1965 Perry Mason Oliver Stone / Roland Canfield /

Prosecutor Parness/ Deputy D.A. Parness

4 episodes
1967 The Invaders Carl Vanders Summit Meeting: Part II
1967 Cowboy in Africa Whitaker The Hesitant Hero
1969 The Bill Cosby Show Lionel Schallert Lullaby and Goodnight
1969 The Survivors Himself Chapter One
1969-1970 Bright Promise Red Wilson 15 episodes
1970 Mod Squad Harrison Cochran A Time for Remembering
1970 Adam-12 Mr. Courtnay Log 173: Shoplift
1970 The Young Lawyers Torrance Where's Aaron
1968-1971 The F.B.I Special Agent Howard Armstrong 2 Episodes
1972 Cade's County Rafaelson Shakedown
1972 Cannon Lucas Whipple The Shadow Man
1967-1973 Bonanza Tom Yardley / Stanton 2 episodes
1971-1974 Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law Prof. Gannett / Philip Lerman 2 episodes
1972-1974 The Streets of San Francisco Jack Leist / Jules Rhinelander 2 episodes
1974 Toma Dr. Herman 50% of Normal
1974 Kojak Jack Seymour A Killing in the Second House
1975 McMillan & Wife Thomas Ewing Deadly Inheritance
1976 Rich Man, Poor Man Sen. Mickelwaite Part III: Chapter 5
1976 Baretta Linton Gavin Runaway Cowboy
1976-1977 Wonder Woman General Phil Blankenship 13 episodes
1978 Grandpa Goes to Washington Unknown Pilot
1975-1979 Barnaby Jones Lawrence Adams / R.B. Catlin 3 episodes
1979 Salvage 1 Brinks / Commentator 6 episodes
1980 Galactica 1980 General Cushing Galactica Discovers Earth: Part 1
1980 Condominium Tom Forrester 2 episodes
1977-1981 The Waltons Wesley Northridge / Judge Thomas Parrish 2 episodes
1979-1982 Quincy M.E. Drug Industry Council Member / Baine / Chemical Company Executive 3 episodes
1982 Tales of the Gold Monkey Dr. White Trunk from the Past
1982 Falcon Crest Dr. Howell 6 episodes
1982 Hart to Hart Man at Restaurant One Hart Too Many
1991 Dallas Frank Hillson 2 episodes


  1. ^ "Richard Eastham's kin to attend stage hit in body". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. September 25, 1950. p. 17. Retrieved July 13, 2020 – via
  2. ^ a b c Gardner, Dorothy (March 14, 1966). "He's Stringing Along With the Times". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 45. Retrieved July 13, 2020 – via
  3. ^ "Richard Eastham". Retrieved 2022-07-13.
  4. ^ "Richard Eastham -- Inventor, Actor". Daily World. Louisiana, Opelousas. February 21, 1975. p. 49. Retrieved July 13, 2020 – via
  5. ^ "Richard Eastham". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on July 13, 2020. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  6. ^ Scott, John L. (September 17, 1965). "'South Pacific' Returns; It's Still an Enchanted Evening". The Los Angeles Times. p. 74. Retrieved July 13, 2020 – via
  7. ^ Nelson, Valerie (2005-07-23). "Richard Eastham, 89; Starred on Broadway, Acted in TV, Movies from 1950s to 1983". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2022-07-13.

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