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), Sharky's Machine (1981), 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 an 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 a 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 (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]


Year Title Role Notes
1968 The Night They Raided Minsky's Pockets
1969 Don't Drink the Water Father Drobney
1970 The Out-of-Towners Baggage Man in Boston
1970 Catch-22 Brother John
1971 Lady Liberty Tim Uncredited
1975 I Wonder Who's Killing Her Now? Café Waiter, Jack Kirsten
1977 Fire Sale Painter
1978 Days of Heaven Vaudeville Leader
1979 The In-Laws General Garcia
1980 Popeye Geezil
1981 Sharky's Machine Nosh
1982 Soup for One Angelo
1982 Best Friends Jorge Mendina
1983 Going Berserk Sun Yi Day
1983 Deal of the Century Masaggi
1984 Unfaithfully Yours Giuseppe
1984 All of Me Prahka Lasa
1985 Fletch Frank Walker
1986 Big Trouble Dr. Lopez
1988 Betrayed Sam Kraus
1989 Fletch Lives Frank Walker
1989 Animal Behavior Doctor Parrish
1990 The Lemon Sisters Nicholas Panas
1990 DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp Dijon (voice) Direct-to-video[8]
1990 Awakenings Sidney
1990 The Bonfire of the Vanities Ed Rifkin
1994 Nell Alexander Paley
1994 Cultivating Charlie Glosser
1998 Lethal Weapon 4 Rabbi Gelb Uncredited
1998 Telling You Mr. P
2002 The 4th Tenor Vincenzo
2006 Grilled Rabbi Silver
2007 Everybody Wants to Be Italian Aldo Tempesti
2011 Dolphin Tale Fisherman
2014 How to Become an Outlaw Judge Volpay Documentary


Year Title Role Notes
1985 The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible Apple Merchant (voice) Episode: "The Creation"
1990 DuckTales Dijon (voice) 3 episodes
1990–1991 The Fanelli Boys Angelo Lombardi Recurring role
1993 Animaniacs Wally Llama (voice) Episode: "Wally Llama"[8]
1995 Pinky and the Brain Talleyrand (voice) Episode: "Napoleon Brainaparte"[8]
1996 The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest Commissioner (voice) Episode: "Bloodlines"[8]
1998 Columbo Sheik Yarami Episode: "Ashes to Ashes"
2002 Static Shock Ragtag (voice) Episode: "Power Play"[8]
2002 The Zeta Project Dr. Myrell (voice) Episode: "The Wrong Morph"[8]
2007 A Grandpa for Christmas Karl Sugarman Television film


  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 (10 January 2016). "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.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Richard Libertini (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved May 11, 2024. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.

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