Richard Libertini

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Richard Libertini
Richard Joseph Libertini

(1933-05-21)May 21, 1933
DiedJanuary 7, 2016(2016-01-07) (aged 82)
Alma materEmerson College
Years active1968–2013
(m. 1963; div. 1978)

Richard Joseph Libertini (May 21, 1933 – January 7, 2016)[1] was an American stage, film and television actor.

He was known for playing character roles and his ability to speak in numerous accents. His films include Catch-22 (1970), The In-Laws (1979), Popeye (1980), All of Me (1984), Fletch (1985), Fletch Lives (1989), Awakenings (1990), Lethal Weapon 4 (1998), and Dolphin Tale (2011).

Early life[edit]

Libertini was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and graduated from Emerson College in Boston.[2] During his early years, Libertini worked in New York City and in Chicago. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career during the 1960s.[2]


He was an original cast member of The Mad Show, a 1966 Off-Broadway musical-comedy produced by Mad magazine. His first film appearances were in The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968), Don't Drink the Water (1969) and Catch-22 (1970).[3]

Two of his more memorable film roles came in the comedies Fletch (1985), in which he played Chevy Chase's character's doubting editor, a role he repeated in the 1989 sequel Fletch Lives, and The In-Laws (1979), in which he played General Garcia, an insane Latin American dictator whose closest advisor was a cartoon face drawn on his own hand a la Señor Wences. He portrayed Nosh, an electronics expert who is the childhood best friend of Burt Reynolds's character, in Sharky's Machine (1981).

He also played a traveling vaudevillian in Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978), the greengrocer George W. Geezil in Robert Altman's Popeye (1980), a Hispanic priest in Best Friends (1982), the servant Giuseppe in Unfaithfully Yours (1984), spiritual advisor Prahka Lasa ("Back in Bowl!") in All of Me (1984), the bandit Dijon in Disney's animated feature film DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990), and a rabbi in Lethal Weapon 4 (1998).

On television, Libertini was a series regular in the first season of Soap as the Godfather. He appeared as three different characters in episodes of Barney Miller. He also appeared in "Evaluation" (1978) and "Middle Age" (January 1979). He guest starred in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Accession" as a Bajoran named Akorem Laan, and in the Sonny with a Chance episode "Dakota's Revenge" as Izzy, an insane mechanic. He also voiced Wally Llama on Animaniacs, and starred in three short-lived sitcoms: Family Man (1988), in which he played a middle-aged comedy writer who married a much younger woman and became a father late in life; The Fanelli Boys (1990–1991), in which he played an Italian priest; and Pacific Station (1991–1992), in which he played a police detective.

Libertini appeared on the TV show Supernatural. His final film role was that of a fisherman in the 2011 film Dolphin Tale. From October 2011 through January 2012, Libertini appeared on Broadway as a rabbi in "Honeymoon Motel," the Woody Allen-penned segment of Relatively Speaking.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Libertini married actress Melinda Dillon on September 30, 1963;[4]he had one child with her, Richard.[5] They divorced in 1978.[6]

Libertini died at the age of 82 in Venice, California on January 7, 2016, from cancer. He had been diagnosed two years prior.[1][7]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b Fox, Margalit (January 13, 2016). "Richard Libertini, Actor, Dies at 82; Had Memorable Turn in 'The In-Laws'". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c Barnes, Mike. "Richard Libertini Dead: 'In-Laws' Actor was 82". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 1, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  3. ^ Sblendorio, Peter. "Actor Richard Libertini has died at 82". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on May 13, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  4. ^ "Melinda Dillon Biography (1939-)". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  5. ^ Kleiner, Dick (April 20, 1985). "Libertini Trying to Avoid Typecasting". Ocala Star-Banner TV Week. Newspaper Enterprise Association. pp. 10, 54. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
  6. ^ Pak, Eudie (December 14, 2012). "'A Christmas Story' Cast: Where Are They Now?". Biography. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  7. ^ "Death Notices: Libertini, Richard Joseph". The New York Times. January 10, 2016. Archived from the original on June 1, 2016. Retrieved January 10, 2016.

External links[edit]