Richard Webb (actor)

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Richard Webb
Mari Aldon and Richard Webb.jpg
Richard Webb with actress Mari Aldon in Florida for the premiere of Distant Drums (1951)
Born (1915-09-15)September 15, 1915
Bloomington, Illinois, USA
Died June 10, 1993(1993-06-10) (aged 77)
Van Nuys, California, USA
Cause of death Suicide by firearm
Resting place Cremated
Years active 1941–1965
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Sterns (1942–?) (divorced) 2 children
Florence Webb (?–1993) (his death) 2 children

Richard Webb (born John Richard Webb September 9, 1915 – June 10, 1993) was a film, television and radio actor, originally from Bloomington, Illinois the son of John Renner Webb and Laura Gail Gunnett.

He appeared in more than fifty films, including many westerns and films noir including Out of the Past (1947), Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951) and Carson City (1952). Today, he may be best remembered as the star of the 1950s television series, Captain Midnight, based on a long-running radio program of the same name and Border Patrol.

Acting career[edit]

Leaving Brown University theological school in 1936 when he realised he was not meant to be a Methodist minister, Webb enlisted in the US Army and was stationed with the First Coast Artillery Regiment in Panama for three years when he decided to go to Hollywood[1]· attending the Bliss Hayden School of Acting.

1940s[edit]

Webb began his film career when he was discovered by Paramount Pictures in 1940[2] where he was soon engaged as a contract player appearing in such films as I Wanted Wings, Sullivan's Travels and This Gun for Hire . During World War II he reenlisted at Fort Ord in 1942, then was commissioned in the US Army at Fort Benning ending the war as a Captain; he remained in the Army Reserve rising to the rank of Major. Four months after leaving the Army he was back at Paramount in O.S.S..

1950s[edit]

In 1951, Webb was contracted to Warner Bros where he played in I Was a Communist for the FBI then appeared along with Gary Cooper in the "Florida Western" Distant Drums.

In 1954, Webb played the notorious gunfighter John Wesley Hardin in an episode of Jim Davis's Stories of the Century western anthology series. The segment shows Hardin shooting two Indians in the back, gunning down a sheriff in a saloon, and finally being outgunned himself by an El Paso officer attempting to arrest Hardin, then a lawyer, on a new murder warrant, possibly his 41st or 45th killing.[3]

In 1958, Webb appeared in the episode "Wheel of Fortune" of the NBC western series, Jefferson Drum, starring Jeff Richads. That same year, he guest starred as agent James Foster in Bruce Gordon's short-lived NBC docudrama about the Cold War, Behind Closed Doors.[4]

Webb in 1958 played the role of Rocky Norton in the episode "Dead Reckoning" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. Jason Robards, Sr., and Lee Van Cleef appear in this episode as Judge Hesby and Devery, respectively.[5]

In 1959, Webb was cast as the fictitious Don Jagger, the deputy chief of the United States Border Patrol in the syndicated series, Border Patrol.

1960s[edit]

In 1960 Webb shot an unsuccessful television pilot for a spy series with Mark Damon called Calling CQ.[6]

In the same year he was cast as Clay in the episode "Calico" of another ABC/WB western series, The Alaskans then played imposter Henry Walker on CBS's Rawhide in the episode entitled "Incident of the Stargazer". He was also cast in an episode of the 1960 CBS sitcom, My Sister Eileen, with Elaine Stritch and Shirley Bonne.

In 1963, Webb played George C. Belter, the murdered owner of Spicy Bits, a gossip magazine, in the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Velvet Claws."

In another 1963 appearance, Webb was cast as Caleb in the episode "The Peacemaker" of the syndicated western series, Death Valley Days. In the story line, Jacob Hamblin (David Brian), a Mormon figure, works feverishly to hold the peace treaty with the Navajo after a white man kills some Indians who come onto his property. Bing Russell and Michael Pate also appear in this episode. At the end of the broadcast one of Hamblin's grandsons appeared with host Stanley Andrews, who noted an historical marker which honors Hamblin's work on behalf of peace on the frontier.[7]

In 1965, Webb again played the murder victim on Perry Mason, this time as Addison Powell in "The Case of the Impetuous Imp." Webb played Lieutenant Commander Ben Finney in an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series ("Court Martial", 1967). In the 1970s, Webb became a writer and published four books on psychic phenomena.

Hindered by a long-term respiratory illness, Webb died of a self-inflicted gunshot in Van Nuys, California.[8]

Author[edit]

Webb wrote four books, Great Ghosts of the West, Voices From Another World and These Came Back, about psychic phenomena and the occult, and The Laughs on Hollywood, a collection of anecdotes about the entertainment industry.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Page 11 The Pantagraph January 19, 1942
  2. ^ p.33 Lenburg, Jeff Peekaboo: The Story of Veronica Lake iUniverse, 1 Aug,2001
  3. ^ "Stories of the Century". Classic TV Archive. Retrieved July 3, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Behind Closed Doors’". ctva.biz. Retrieved September 2, 2009. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Colt .45". ctva.biz. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 
  6. ^ p. 43 Terrace, Vincent Encyclopedia of Television Pilots, 1937-2012 McFarland, 26 Feb 2013
  7. ^ "The Peacemaker on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Richard Webb, Actor And 50's TV Hero, 77". The New York Times. June 13, 1993. 
  9. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/1993-06-12/news/mn-2225_1_captain-midnight

External links[edit]