Richard Widmark

Richard Widmark


12/26/1914, Sunrise,Minnesota



Birth Name

Richard Widmark


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Midwestern born actor who became an overnight sensation as psychotic gangster Tommy Udo in the 1947 film Kiss of Death for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. After the success of Kiss of Death, Widmark, who was a stage and radio actor…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Widmark was a strong supporter of gun control laws.

    • Widmark enjoyed working with John Wayne and Robert Mitchum but didn't socialize with them off the set because they were heavy drinkers and he wasn't.

    • Frank Gorshin once said he based his Riddler's laugh on Widmark's cackle from Kiss of Death.

    • Widmark's life was once featured on an episode of A&E's Biography.

    • Once appeared on an episode of the game show What's My Line? as the Mystery Guest.

    • Widmark co-starred with two other film legends, Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum, in the 1967 film The Way West. A young Sally Field made her motion picture debut in that movie.

    • Won acclaim for his performance opposite Faye Dunaway in the 1989 made for TV movie Cold Sassy Tree.

    • Widmark was good friends with Sidney Poitier. They appeared together in three films: No Way Out, The Bedford Incident, and The Long Ships.

    • Widmark married Susan Blanchard in 1999 two years after the death of his first wife. Blanchard had previously been married to Henry Fonda.

    • Widmark joked that he was the only actor to ever leave behind a house with a swimming pool in order to come to Hollywood. He had an established career on radio in New York before being cast in Kiss of Death so giving Hollywood a try was a gamble.

    • Widmark's first wife, Jean, passed away from Alzheimer's in 1997. The couple had one child, a daughter named Anne.

    • Widmark was residing in Connecticut with his second wife at the time of his death.

    • Widmark played Jim Bowie opposite John Wayne's Davy Crockett in The Alamo.

    • Widmark produced three films in which he starred: Time Limit, The Secret Ways, and The Bedford Incident.

    • In the 1950 film No Way Out, Widmark played a vicious racist who menaced Sidney Poitier.

    • Widmark played the murder victim in the 1975 whodunit Murder on the Orient Express.

    • Widmark played the prosecutor to Maximillian Schell's defense attorney in the 1962 war crimes drama Judgment at Nuremberg.

    • After moving to New York to establish an acting career, Widmark frequently appeared on the classic radio crime drama Gangbusters.

    • Widmark's daughter Anne was married at one time to Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Sandy Koufax. The couple divorced in the 1980's.

    • Widmark was inducted into the Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 2002.

    • Widmark's father was a traveling salesman who moved the family around quite frequently when Richard was growing up.

    • Widmark was president of his high school class.

    • Widmark starred in the 1972 TV series Madigan based on his 1968 movie of the same name but only six episodes were produced and aired before the cancellation axe fell.

    • Critics roasted Widmark for one of the few times in his career when they said he was woefully miscast as the French Dauphin in the 1957 film Saint Joan.

    • Widmark co-starred with Marilyn Monroe in Don't Bother to Knock but said she was a nightmare to work with due to her personal insecurities.

    • Widmark retired after appearing in the 1991 movie True Colors.

    • Widmark has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6800 Hollywood Boulevard.

    • In 2005, Widmark received the Career Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

    • In 1989, Widmark received the Career Achievement Award from the National Board of Review.

    • Widmark won a Golden Globe in 1948 as Most Promising Male Newcomer for his role in Kiss of Death.

    • Widmark was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his film debut in Kiss of Death. He never received another nomination.

    • Widmark made a rare TV appearance as himself on a 1955 episode of I Love Lucy.

    • Widmark was a graduate of Lake Forest College in Illinois.

    • Widmark made his Broadway stage debut in the 1943 play Kiss and Tell.

    • Widmark never appeared on a talk show throughout his entire career.

  • Quotes

    • Widmark: I know I've made kind of a career out of violence but I abhor violence. I am an ardent supporter of gun control. It seems incredible to me that we are the only civilized nation that does not put some effective control on guns.

    • Widmark: The more takes I do, the worse I get.

    • Widmark: I think a performer should do his work and then shut up.

    • Widmark (about Marilyn Monroe): She couldn't act her way out of a paper bag but she became an icon because something happened between her and the lens, and no one knows what it was.

    • Widmark: I felt pretty comfortable with Westerns apart from the fact I couldn't ride.

    • Widmark: A lot of actors said they hated the studio system but I loved it. It was a great place to learn.

    • Widmark: Once you've learned the fundamentals of voice and movement, so much of acting is instinctive and imaginative.

    • Widmark: Most movies today are made for teenage boys. Once in a while a good one comes along.

    • Widmark: I never had any formal training apart from college. I sort of learned as I went.