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)
Resting placeOak Grove Cemetery in Bel-Nor, Missouri, U.S.
Alma materWashington University in St. Louis
OccupationFilm, 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 was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest K. Eastham, and he attended Soldan High School.[2]


On Broadway, Eastham was understudy for Ezio Pinza 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.[3] His other Broadway plays included Medea and Call Me Madam.[4] Eastham and co-star Janet Blair, in their original roles, headed another tour of South Pacific in 1965.[5]In 1981 he appeared as Wesley Northridge on the "The Waltons" The Lumberjack (TV Episode 1981)

Prompted by his playing of a guitar in The Sound of Music, Eastham invented a device for stringing a guitar, with 31,000 of them sold in the first three weeks that they were available.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Eastham married Betty Jean Van Allen, who was his high school classmate.[2]


Year Title Role Notes
1954 There's No Business Like Show Business Lew Harris
1957 Man on Fire Bryan Seward
1960 Toby Tyler; or, Ten Weeks with a Circus Colonel Sam Castle
1965 That Darn Cat! Supervisor Newton
1966 Not with My Wife, You Don't! General Milt Walters
1966 Murderers' Row Dr. Norman Solaris
1973 Tom Sawyer Doc Robinson
1973 Battle for the Planet of the Apes Mutant Captain
1974 McQ Walter Forrester
Year Title Role Notes
1957-1958 Tombstone Territory Harris Claibourne / Narrator 91 episodes
1967-1973 Bonanza Tom Yardley / Stanton 2 episodes
1976-1977 Wonder Woman General Phil Blankenship 13 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 -- Inventor, Actor". Daily World. Louisiana, Opelousas. February 21, 1975. p. 49. Retrieved July 13, 2020 – via
  4. ^ "Richard Eastham". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on July 13, 2020. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  5. ^ 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

External links[edit]