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Updated: April 13, 2013

Richard Basehart (August 31, 1914 - September 17, 1984) was an American actor. One of his most notable film roles was the acrobat known as "the Fool" in the acclaimed Italian film La strada directed by Federico Fellini. He also appeared as the killer in the 1948 film noir classic He Walked by Night as Ishmael in Moby Dick, and in the 1951 drama Decision Before Dawn. He was once married to Italian Academy Award-nominated actress Valentina Cortese, with whom he had one son before their divorce in 1960.

Basehart was also noted for his deep, distinctive voice and was prolific as a narrator of many television and movie projects ranging from features to documentaries. In 1980, Basehart narrated the mini-series written by Peter Arnett called Vietnam: The 10,000 Day War that covered Vietnam and its battles from the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945 to the final American embassy evacuation on April 30, 1975. He appeared in the pilot episode of the television series Knight Rider as millionaire Wilton Knight. He is the narrator at the beginning of the shows credits. He also appeared as Hanibal Applewood, an abusive school teacher in Little House on the Prairie in 1976. He also appeared in the "Dagger of the Mind" episode of Columbo with Honor Blackman. He died at age 70 following a series of strokes. One month before his death, Basehart was an announcer for the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

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