When Soap creator Susan Harris encountered Richard Mulligan at the memorial service for Cathryn Damon, she was struck by his grief over the loss of his friend and costar, whom he called "Toots." That encounter became Harris' inspiration for Empty Nest, in which Mulligan later starred as a widowed doctor mourning the death of his wife with the help of his two grown daughters. Mulligan won his second Emmy for the role in 1990, and he posthumously thanked "Toots" for her friendship, support and collaboration. (The pair had won Emmys together for Soap 10 years earlier but were unable to take the stage due to an actors strike.)
Richard Mulligan affectionately called his Soap costar Cathryn Damon "Toots," just as his character Burt Campbell occasionally referred to his onscreen wife on the show. However, Damon was known in both her private life and throughout her career as "Skipper," a nickname she received from her grandfather as a child.
Richard has one son, James, with his first wife Patricia Jones.
Richard was married and divorced four different times to four different women.
He won two Emmys for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series, one for "Soap" and the other for "Empty Nest".
He was cremated with no memorial service held at his request.
He studied playwrighting at Columbia University.
He starred in Blake Edward's S.O.B. with Julie Andrews in 1981.
He is the brother of director Robert Mulligan.
Director JD Lobue: : (on Soap duo Cathryn Damon & Richard Mulligan): "They were magic . . . you were going to have to work a little extra in rehearsals to make things comfortable for everybody. But you also knew that ultimately it was going to be gold . . . They sort of fed off each other."
Billy Crystal: (on his Soap costar's preparation on taping night) He makes odd noises in his throat that sound like there's a seal loose on the set.
Soap & Empty Nest Writer/Creator Susan Harris: You have an actor like Richard and you just let him go and do his thing. Sometimes you didn't have to write for him; he would get laughs doing nothing, just being silent.
Actor/Director Ted Wass: (on Soap costar Richard Mulligan) "Richard's reactions would be much bigger, more outrageous than anything most of us had seen during rehearsal . . . I'd rather believe it was just that inspiration that took him. I feel kindly towards him. I loved Richard very much."
Richard:: (on his Soap fame) "The one thing about being recognized is...it deprives me of one of my basic tools as an actor, which is to go and watch people, and collect a walk and see an interaction. Now, when I look up, they're looking at me."
Richard:: (pondering the possible end of Soap) "I will be sad to lose Skipper [Cathryn Damon] as an acting partner, and Teddy and Billy. But...it's not just acting. It's also people."