Richard Basehart

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Born

8/31/1914 , Zanesville, Ohio, USA

Died

9/17/1984

Birth Name

John Richard Basehart

Gender

Male

Biography:

The deep, resonant voice of Richard Basehart was ideal for narration jobs on documentaries and voice-overs, and the man himself was a fine actor with a tough, incisive style. He achieved first fame on Broadway in John Patrick's play "The Hasty Heart", just after the war, and Hollywood came calling soon enough. In "Fourteen Hours" (1951), he attracted rave reviews as a would-be suicide standing on a ledge high up in a skyscraper, but it wasn't the sort of role to propel anyone into conventional leading-man status, any more than was the villainous fellow Basehart played in "The House On Telegraph Hill", where he played opposite his wife, Valentina Cortese. Twentieth Century Fox had him under contract, but they didn't know what to do with him. In "Titanic" (1953), he was suddenly billed far lower than he had previously been and was cast as a cliche - a whiskey priest who regains his faith in a disaster. Basehart must have been annoyed with Hollywood, for he left soon after for Europe with Cortese, and in her native Italy did two films for Fellini ("La Strada" and "Il Bidone") which were far better than any films he'd done previously. In England, he played Ishmael in John Huston's film of "Moby Dick" (1956). He never quite regained his Hollywood stardom, but he was effective in many TV roles (several of which utilized his fondness for doing an English accent) and starred in the absurd, but very popular, fantasy series "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea".
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