Richard X. Slattery

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Richard X. Slattery
Actor Richard Slattery aboard USS Peleliu (LHA-5) in 1981.jpeg
Richard Xavier Slattery

(1925-06-26)June 26, 1925
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 27, 1997(1997-01-27) (aged 71)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1960–1990

Richard Xavier Slattery (June 26, 1925 – January 27, 1997) was an American character actor in film, theater and television.[1] Slattery appeared in such films as A Distant Trumpet, The Boston Strangler, Walking Tall, The No Mercy Man and Herbie Rides Again.

Early years[edit]

Born in New York, Slattery was a graduate of All Hallows High School who briefly studied at Fordham University, where he had scholarships in track and football. He left Fordham and enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, serving as a lieutenant in the Pacific for two and a half years.[2] He was awarded the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.[2]


Slattery was distinguished by a square-jawed look and a rough, gravelly voice that made him ideal as a "tough guy" character, usually as a cop or a drill sergeant type. He had been an NYPD police officer for 12 years (1948–1960) and started his acting career in police academy training films, and in community theater in the Bronx.

Slattery was a familiar face on series television during the 1960s thru the 1980s, appearing in numerous guest roles including Route 66, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, 77 Sunset Strip, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched, The Invaders, F Troop, The Green Hornet, The Virginian, Bonanza, The Partridge Family, The Odd Couple, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, The Mod Squad, Emergency!, Run, Joe, Run, The Waltons, Ironside, Kojak, The San Pedro Beach Bums, and Knight Rider.

Slattery starred in a revival of the play The Time of Your Life, starting March 17, 1972, at the Huntington Hartford Theater in Los Angeles.[3][4]

For 14 years, Slattery was featured in a series of popular TV commercials for 76 gasoline during the 1970s and early 1980s, playing Murph, the grandfatherly owner of "Murph's 76 Station"[5] (filmed at the longtime 76 station adjacent to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles). He played Lieutenant Modeen in Switch[6]: 1046  and had featured roles in three series: The Gallant Men (as 1st Sgt. John McKenna),[6]: 376  Mister Roberts (as Captain John Morton),[6]: 703  and C.P.O. Sharkey (as Captain "Buck" Buckner).[6] Slattery appeared in the Barnaby Jones episode titled "The Loose Connection" (March 18, 1973). He appeared on the Cannon episode, "The Cure That Kills," as a carnival owner, an episode that first aired on February 20, 1974.

Personal life[edit]

Slattery was married to Pegeen Rose, an actress, from 1958 to 1968. They had five children.[7] He married Mary Shelquist in 1970 and they divorced in 1979. He married Helene Irene Vergauwen in 1988 and they remained married until his death.[8][1] His son, Kevin, is a television producer (Just Shoot Me).[9]


Slattery died on January 27, 1997, at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, CA. The official cause of death was listed as a stroke.[5][1]


Year Title Role Notes
1946 Till the End of Time Captain Uncredited
1960 Butterfield 8 State Trooper Uncredited
1961 The Last Time I Saw Archie Sergeant in Mess Hall Uncredited
1964 A Distant Trumpet Sgt. Fry
1967 A Time for Killing Cpl. Paddy Darling
1968 The Secret War of Harry Frigg MP Sergeant
1968 The Boston Strangler Det. Capt. Ed Willis
1973 The No Mercy Man Mark Hand
1973 Walking Tall Arno Purdy
1974 Herbie Rides Again Traffic Commissioner
1974 Busting Desk Sergeant
1974 Black Eye Lt. Bill Bowen
1976 Zebra Force Charlie DeSantis
1979 The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again Sgt. Slaughter - Head Soldier
1983 Winds of War Admiral William F. (Bull) Halsey


  1. ^ a b c Oliver, Myrna (January 29, 1997). "Richard Slattery; 'Murph' in Union Oil Commercials". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Misurell, Ed (October 14, 1965). "They Won't Let Him Out of Uniform". The Tipton Daily Tribune. p. 7. Retrieved September 20, 2018 – via open access
  3. ^ The Time of Your Life. OCLC 611053954.
  4. ^ Lane, Bill (April 8, 1972). "Hollywood Beat: Fans Still Talking About Grammy Deal". The Afro American. p. 10. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Richard X. Slattery, character actor on TV". Arizona Republic. Phoenix. February 2, 1997. p. 44. Retrieved September 20, 2018 – via access
  6. ^ a b c d Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  7. ^ "Richard X. Slattery Changes Uniforms". Biddeford-Saco Journal. November 20, 1965. p. 10. Retrieved September 21, 2018 – via open access
  8. ^ "Richard X. Slattery, Biography". IMDb. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  9. ^ Scott, Tony (March 3, 1997). "Reviews: Just Shoot Me". Variety. Archived from the original on August 20, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2012.

External links[edit]