Jeff Richards (actor, born 1924)
Jeff Richards (November 1, 1924 – July 28, 1989) was an American minor league baseball player with the Portland Beavers, who later became an actor. He was sometimes credited as Dick Taylor and Richard Taylor.
Richards in Jefferson Drum, 1959
Richard Mansfield Taylor
November 1, 1924
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
|Died||July 28, 1989 (aged 64)|
|Occupation||Baseball player, actor|
|Years active||1946–1949 (Baseball, shortstop)|
1948–1966 (film and television)
Vickie Taylor (1955-?)
He is best known for his role as Benjamin Pontipee in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). Following this performance, he tied with George Nader and Joe Adams for the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer. Despite this, his acting career soon floundered.
Early life and careerEdit
He was born Richard Mansfield Taylor in Portland, Oregon. Taylor joined the United States Navy during World War II and served until 1946.
After the war was over, Richard Taylor played shortstop for the Portland Beavers for a year and then for the Salem Senators; however, his baseball career ended after he tore a ligament and was unable to play anymore.
Early Acting CareerEdit
He then went to Hollywood to pursue a film career. His first roles included uncredited bits at Warner Bros in The Big Punch (1948), Johnny Belinda (1948), Fighter Squadron (1948) and The Girl from Jones Beach (1949).
At 20th Century Fox, he had small roles in Mother Is a Freshman (1949), and Cheaper by the Dozen (1950). He went to Columbia to make Kill the Umpire (1950), cast as "Richard Taylor". He played a baseball player and publicity said he used to play for Salem in the Western League and that they had spent six weeks trying to cast the role.
He got a screen test at Metro-Goldwyn Mayer and the studio changed his name to Jeff Richards.
Richards had uncredited roles in The Strip (1951) with Mickey Rooney, The Tall Target (1951) with Dick Powell and Paula Raymond, and The People Against O'Hara (1951) with Spencer Tracy, and a bigger credited part in Angels in the Outfield (1951) as a baseball player. He was being sought to play Frank Merriwell.
Richards had small roles in Just This Once (1952) with Peter Lawford, The Sellout (1952) with Walter Pidgeon, Desperate Search (1952), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) with Kirk Douglas, Above and Beyond (1952) with Jane Greer, and Battle Circus (1953) with Humphrey Bogart. He had a slightly bigger part in Code Two (1953) with Ralph Meeker.
Richards had his first sizeable one, billed third as a ball player, in Big Leaguer (1954). Seagulls Over Sorrento (1954) was another decent sized role. Then Richards was the third lead in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), after Howard Keel and Jane Powell. It was a big hit and established him as a film name. MGM started to build him up as a star. Dore Schary, head of the studio, said the actor had "tremendous personal charm" and "looks like a great bet [to become a star], based on his reception til now."
MGM announced him as star of O'Kelley's Eclipse but it was not made. He was announced for Forbidden Planet but did not appear in the final film. Bar Sinister with Roger Moore was announced but not made.
Richards was one of Eleanor Parker's brothers in Many Rivers to Cross (1955) and was finally given a star part in the Western The Marauders (1955) playing a hero opposite Dan Duryea. He played the lead in the box-office flop It's a Dog's Life (1955) and had one of the male leads in the musical The Opposite Sex (1956) with June Allyson, Joan Collins, and Ann Sheridan.
The Marauders, It's a Dog's Life and The Opposite Sex all lost money and MGM began to lose enthusiasm for Richards. He began working on TV, guest starring in "Man with a Choice" for The Web (1957) and "The Other Side of the Curtain" for Suspicion.
In 1958, on television, Richards played the title role in the NBC western television series Jefferson Drum (1958–59), the story of a crusading journalist, with Eugene Martin portraying his young son. The series was cancelled after twenty-six episodes aired over two seasons.
He guest starred in Behind Closed Doors, Alcoa Theatre, Adventures in Paradise, and Laramie and played the role in 1961 of Jubal Evans in the episode "Incident of His Brother's Keeper" of the CBS western Rawhide.
|1948||The Big Punch||Bit Role||Uncredited|
|1948||Johnny Belinda||Floyd McQuiggen||Uncredited|
|1948||Fighter Squadron||Captain||(scenes deleted)|
|1949||Mother Is a Freshman||Butch||Uncredited|
|1949||The Girl from Jones Beach||Lifeguard||Uncredited|
|1950||Cheaper by the Dozen||Bit Role||Uncredited|
|1950||Kill the Umpire||Bob Landon|
|1951||The Tall Target||Philadelphia Police Officer||Uncredited|
|1951||The Strip||G.I. Ward Patient||Uncredited|
|1951||The People Against O'Hara||Wilson||Uncredited|
|1951||Angels in the Outfield||Dave Rothberg|
|1952||Just This Once||Denham's Clerk||Uncredited|
|1952||The Sellout||Walter O. Hickby|
|1952||The Bad and the Beautiful||Studio Props Department Man||Uncredited|
|1952||Above and Beyond||Thomas Ferebee|
|1953||Code Two||Harry Whenlon|
|1953||Big Leaguer||Adam Polachuk|
|1954||Crest of the Wave||Seaman D. 'Butch' Clelland (USN)|
|1954||Seven Brides for Seven Brothers||Benjamin|
|1955||Many Rivers to Cross||Fremont Cherne|
|1955||The Marauders||Corey Everett|
|1955||It's a Dog's Life||Patch McGill|
|1956||Meet Me in Las Vegas||Jeff Richards||Uncredited|
|1956||The Opposite Sex||Buck Winston|
|1957||Don't Go Near the Water||Lt. Ross Pendleton|
|1958||Born Reckless||Kelly Cobb|
|1959||Island of Lost Women||Mark Bradley|
|1960||The Secret of the Purple Reef||Mark Christophe|
|1966||Waco||Kallen||(final film role)|
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- "Jefferson Drum". ctva.biz. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
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