Richard Denning

Richard Denning


3/27/1914, Poughkeepsie, New York, USA



Birth Name

Louis Albert Heindrich Denninger


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Richard Denning was a tall, athletic, and very handsome actor who, thanks to those attributes, had no trouble finding work when he entered show business in the late 1930s. Born Louis Albert Denninger Jr., he was the son of a garment manufacturer. After finishing high school, he enrolled…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Mr. Denning stood 6'2" tall, the same height as Jack Lord. However, whenever the two of them were in a scene together, Lord seemed to tower over him. Lord made the habit of wearing his 'Stoney Burke' boots whenever McGarrett was to share a scene with the Governor.

    • Richard Denning was Layman Lutheran Minister in his later years.

    • Richard Denning was a very giving man. However, if someone was in need of financial help, he was more likely to help them find a job rather than giving them money.

    • Paramount studios kept Richard Denning under contract from 1937 to 1942 because he was the spiritual and physical leader of Dick Denning's Demons, the studio bowling team. He was averaging in the neighborhood of 200 pins a line at the time.

    • Richard Denning actually had a paper doll fashioned after him for the "Karen" series that he had. Recently I found three uncut sets and gifted them to his daughter and granddaughters for Christmas 2006. All were amazed and said that Richard probably never knew they existed.

    • Richard was a member of Beverly Hills Lutheran Church and often took part in Bible studies, one in particular was in the home of Pat Boone.

    • When Richard first broke into acting, he decided to shorten his name from Denninger to Denning as it sounded too much like "Dillinger," the gangster from the same time period.

    • Richard didn't legally change his last name to Denning until his daughter was well into high school.

    • Richard's favorite Christmas Carol was "Silent Night." In an email his daughter shared with me that when she was a child, she played it one Christmas Eve for him at Church on the violin and it made him cry.

    • Mr. Denning's favorite color was beige. If you'll notice in the last years of "Hawaii Five-O" most always his suits were beige in color, compared to the blue, black and gray suits of the early years.

    • Richard was married to Scream Queen of the 40s/50s horror movies, Evelyn Ankers. Ankers was engaged to Glenn Ford, when she met Denning.

    • Prior to the creation of TV's "I Love Lucy," Richard Denning portrayed Lucille Ball's, husband, George Cooper, on the radio version of the comedy, "My Favorite Husband." When the show made the transition to television, Ms. Ball requested that her real life husband, Desi Arnaz, be cast in the part opposite her. Of course this led to Richard getting the role of Jerry North in the "Mr. & Mrs. North" series with Barbara Britton.

    • Richard Denning portrayed Governor Paul Jameson on "Hawaii Five-O" from 1968-1980, however he did a guest appearance as Treasury Agent Phillip Grey in the episode "24 Kt Kill." It has often been speculated that whomever was originally to play the role couldn't keep the obligation and Denning, being a quick study volunteered to help fill the role.

  • Quotes

  • Richard Denning was true hero material -- the more I learn about him from his family, backed up with the positive media exposure he received, makes me love him even more.moreless

    I admit that I came to know about Richard Denning through another actor, Jack Lord, on the series Hawaii Five-O. I had a run in with several power-hungry Lord fans that nearly soured me on liking the show. But something happened, I suddenly took an interest in "The Governor." And then as fate would have it, in my effort to find other Denning fans to share in my enthusiasm, I wound up with the friendships of his daughter and granddaughters. Through them, I have learned what a warm, loving, caring Christian man he truly was. I hate that I was born too late to appreciate him when he was alive, but in a sense I feel that I have gotten to know him through the sweet spirit of his family. I am so thankful that Lew Ayers didn't want the part of "The Governor" as he portrayed him in the pilot movie. Denning's natural handsome features and convincing delivery helped the character to appear distinguished, regal as well as tough, but believable authority figure. No one else could have pulled off the role so well for twelve years!moreless