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Updated: January 26, 2018

Born John Richard Basehart on August 31, 1914 in Zanesville, Ohio, Richard spent much of his early childhood in an orphanage because his mother died of complications from childbirth and he was one of 5 siblings of Harry Basehart, a newspaperman who couldn't take care of small kids and do his job as a reporter too.

His first plans were to follow in his father footsteps as a newspaperman (his dad was editor of the local paper THE ZANESVILLE OHIO TIMES SIGNAL), but in his 13th year he cut his acting teeth with a local stock company and a career was born. His first acted, with the Wright Players Stock company in 1932. He also worked in the sewers with his brother. Upon graduation from high school he was the "hottest" cub reporter on the paper - so hot he uncovered a scandal at city hall that caused the administration to topple and even cost him job when he punched a detective involved in the case in the face. He remembered the fun he had as an actor, when he had at the age of 19, was accepted at Philadelphia's famed Hedgerow Theater, where, in five years (from 1938 to 1942) , he played 40 roles from Shakespeare to Saroyan.

But for a stage actor there is only one Mecca, and he then moved to New York where he soon made his presence felt, first in Producer Margaret Webster's Counter-attack, which was followed quickly by roles in Land of Fame, Othello, Take it as it Comes and Hickory Stick.

When he heard Director Bretaigne Windust was looking for an authentic Scotsman for the lead in The Hasty Heart, Basehart not only effected an authentic enough burr to win the part, but won also the 1945 New York Critic's Award as the most promising actor of the year.

This brought him to the attention of Hollywood, and in 1947 he made his film debut in Cry Wolf. That began a successful and varied screen career of almost four decades' duration. He selected his roles carefully and with discrimination to avoid typecasting. During his career he has played heroes, villains, the mentally disturbed, and many other types, often in a rugged and forceful manner. Besides making the occasional stage appearance, he further stretched his talents by performing in many European films, notably Fellini's La Strada (1954) in which he gave a sensitive performance as the Fool. Other roles include Ishmael in Moby Dick (1956) and the title role in the peculiar black-and-white film Hitler (1962). He also appeared frequently on television including a long stint on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

He married Stephanie Klein on January 14, 1940, but she died of a brain tumor July 28, 1950. They had no children. Shortly after this, Richard met Valentina Cortese, an Italian actress he met while making The House on Telegraph Hill, whom he married on March 24, 1951. He lived in Europe for much of the '50's. His marriage to Cortese resulted in one child, his son John Anthony Carmine Michael(Jack), and ended in divorce in 1960. He remarried again to his last wife, Diana Lotery in 1962. Their first daughter, Jenna, was born in 1964 and their second daughter, Gayla, was born in 1969. They were happily married until Basehart's untimely death following a series of strokes after narrating the closing ceremonies to the 1984 Olympics in LA. He died on September 17, 1984 .

"Many thanks to, Stephanie Kellerman for this info!" Please visit her website at,

The Talented Richard Basehart's Filmography -


Playhouse 90 in episode: "So Soon to Die" July 25, 1957
Studio One "Mutiny on the Shark" story of an overzealous commander of an automatic-powered submarine (as Matt Donovan) 1957 Parts 1 and 2
Zane Grey Theater (1958) in episode: "Medal for Valor"
Playhouse 90 (1960) playing "David Connelly"
Playhouse 90 "A Dream Of Treason" (1960)
Playhouse 90 "The Hiding Place" (1960) playing "Martin Lambert"
CBS "Men in White"(1960) playing "George Ferguson, M.D."
Hallmark Hall Of Fame "Shangri-La"(1960) playing "Conway"
Route 66 (1960) playing "Julian Roeback" episode: "You Can't Pick Cotton in Tahiti"
Play Of The Week "He Who Gets Slapped" (1961)
Family Classics "The Light That Failed" (March 16, 1961)
Here's Hollywood (1961)
Rawhide (1961) playing "Tod Stone" in episode: The Black Sheep episode 92 Nov. 10, 1961
Ben Casey (1961) playing "Mark Cassidy" in episode: "Light Up The Dark Corners"
Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962) playing "Phil Townsend" in episode: "BlackCurtain,The" 1962
Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962) playing "Miles Crawford" in episode: "Starring the Defense"
Theater 62 (March 10, 1962) playing "Anthony Keane" in episode: "The Paradine Case"
Naked City (1962) in episode: "Dust Devil on a Quiet Street" 1962
Arrest And Trial (1963) 'Inquest Into A Bleeding Heart'
Combat! (1963) playing "Captain Steiner" in episode: "Long Way Home, The (Part 1 and Part 2)"
Dick Powell Theater(February 5, 1963) playing "Daniel Zachery" in episode: "The Judge"
Twilight Zone (1963) playing "Adam Cook" in episode: "Probe 7-Over and Out"
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964) TV Series .... Adm. Harriman Nelson (1964-68)
Lost in Space (1965) playing "Shakespeare-Reading Tape Recorder Voice"
(voice) in episode: "The Derelict" (episode # 1.2) 22 September 1965
Sole Survivor (1969) (TV).... Brigadier General Russell Hamner
Ironside (1970) 'Noel's Gonna Fly'
Dan August (1970) 'Quadrangle For Death'
City Beneath the Sea (1970) (TV) .... The President
Andersonville Trial, The (1970) (TV) .... Lt.Col Henry Wirz
Birdmen, The (1971) (TV) ....Schiller ..AKA Operation Braindrain ..AKA Escape of the Birdmen
Death of Me Yet, The (1971) (TV)
Gunsmoke (1971) Captain Sligo
Columbo: Dagger of the Mind (1972) (TV) .... Nicholas Frame
The Bold Ones (Sept. 26, 1972) (TV) "Is This Operation Necessary"
Assignment: Munich (1972) (TV)
Bounty Man, The (1972) (TV) .... Angus Keough
Hawaii Five-O (1973) playing "Donald Murdock, Sr." in episode: "Odd Lot Caper, The" ) 1/30/1973
Conflicts 'Me' 1973 (TV)
Maneater (1973) (TV)
Marcus Welby, MD (1974) "The Last Ripoff"
Marcus Welby, MD (1974) "A Full Life"
Valley Forge (1974) (TV) .... George Washington
The First Woman President (1974) (TV) .... Woodrow Wilson
Judgement: The Court Martial of Lt William Calley (1975) (TV) .... George Lattimer
The Case Against Milligan (1975) (TV) .... Lambdin Milligan
Joe Forrester "No Probable Cause" (1975) (TV)
Blue Knight (1975) (TV)
Medical Story (1975) playing "Dr. Charles Galpin" in episode: "God Syndrome, The" Little House On The Prairie playing "Mr. Hannibal Applewood" in episode: "The Troublemaker" February 25, 1976
Time Travelers (1976) (TV) .... Dr. Joshua P. Henderson
Once Upon A Classic--A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1976) ....King Arthur
Flood! (1976) (TV) .... John Cutler
Streets of San Francisco (1976) playing "Bishop Tim Farrow" in episode: "Requiem for Murder"
21 Hours at Munich (1976) (TV) .... Willy Brandt
Stonestreet: Who Killed the Centerfold Model? (1977) (TV) .... Elliott Osborn
Critical List, The (1978) (TV)
How the West Was Won (1978) TV Series .... Colonel Flint
W.E.B. (1978) TV Series .... Gus Dunlap
The Tower Of Babel(1979) (TV) .... Joktan
Rebels, The (1979) (TV) .... Duke of Kentland
Marilyn: The Untold Story (1980) (TV) .... Johnny Hyde
Vega$ (1981) in episode: "Set-Up"
Tales of the Unexpected (1981) playing "Slade" in episode: "Turn of the Tide"
Mr. Merlin (1981)
Love Boat (1982) playing "Stan Ellis" in episode: "Beginning Anew"
Knight Rider (1982)(TV).... Wilton Knight
Olympic Games (Narrator - Closing Ceremonies) 1984

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