John Richardson (actor)

John Richardson (19 January 1934 – 5 January 2021) was an English actor who appeared in films from the late 1950s until the early 1990s. He was a male lead in Italian genre films, most notably Mario Bava's Black Sunday (1960) with Barbara Steele, but he was best known for playing the love interest of Ursula Andress in She (1965) and then of Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. (1966).[1]

John Richardson
John Richardson (actor).png
Richardson in Duck in Orange Sauce (1975)
Born(1934-01-19)19 January 1934
Worthing, Sussex, England
Died5 January 2021(2021-01-05) (aged 86)
London, England
Years active1956–1994
(m. 1967; div. 1973)


Richardson was born on 19 January 1934 in Worthing, Sussex. He served in the Merchant Navy. He initially had no desire to be an actor but when he left the service, his looks saw him receive an offer to appear in a play by a local amateur theatre group in his home town. He enjoyed it and began to work for several repertory companies around Britain.

He was spotted by a talent scout from 20th Century Fox who put him under contract. This lasted for two years but he did little.[2]

He had some small roles in film for the Rank Organisation, including A Night to Remember (1958), Sapphire (1959), and The 39 Steps (1959).

His first role of note was in the Italian gothic horror film, Black Sunday (1960), directed by Mario Bava, which starred fellow British actress Barbara Steele. Richardson stayed in Italy for a supporting role in the swashbuckler, Pirates of Tortuga (1961). Back in Britain, he had minor roles in Tender Is the Night (1962) and Lord Jim (1965).[3]

Leading manEdit

Richardson's big breakthrough came when Ray Stark spotted him in the offices of Seven Arts Productions and cast him as the male lead in She (1965), which they were co-producing with Hammer Films.[2] The film was a solid hit. Richardson was the only actor to reprise his role in the sequel, The Vengeance of She (1968), but that film was a flop.[4]

Hammer and Seven Arts used Richardson again supporting another female star, this time Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. (1966). It was another big hit.

Returning to Italy, Richardson had the lead in the spaghetti Westerns, John the Bastard (1967) and Execution (1968), and a supporting role in On My Way to the Crusades, I Met a Girl Who... (1967).

In the late 1960s, he was considered for the role of James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) when Sean Connery first left the franchise, but he lost out to George Lazenby.[5]

Richardson and his wife, English actress Martine Beswick,[6][7][8] moved to Hollywood in 1968.[9] Richardson had a supporting role in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) as a ne'er-do-well who is seduced by Barbra Streisand's character Melinda but eventually abandons her.

Richardson and Beswick divorced in 1973.[6][7][8] That year, Richardson based himself out of Italy once more and appeared in some giallo films: Torso (1973), Eyeball (1975), Reflections in Black (1975), Nine Guests for a Crime (1977), and Murder Obsession (1981). His other films of the period include; Duck in Orange Sauce (1975) a comedy and Cosmos: War of the Planets (1977) a science fiction movie.


Richardson died from COVID-19 on 5 January 2021, at age 86, during the COVID-19 pandemic in England.[10]

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ "John Richardson Biography". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b Watts, Stephen (1 November 1964). "ON BRITAIN'S BUSTLING FILM SCENE: 'Maggie May' Heads Toward Screen – Blue Chip Bonds – 'She' Returns". The New York Times. p. X13.
  3. ^ "John Richardson Filmography". Aveleyman. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  4. ^ Bruce G. Hallenbeck, British Cult Cinema: Hammer Fantasy and Sci-Fi, Hemlock Books 2011 p161
  5. ^ "Being James Bond: LIFE Behind the Scenes at 007 Auditions, 1967". Archived from the original on 18 November 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  6. ^ a b "John Richardson nach Infektion mit COVID-19 gestorben". Prisma.
  7. ^ a b "Er wäre beinahe "007" geworden: Trauer um John Richardson | Blick - Kino".
  8. ^ a b "Er wäre beinahe James Bond geworden: Trauer um John Richardson".
  9. ^ "Martine Beswick, profiled by Maitland McDonagh | Alliance of Women Film Journalists". 10 February 2014. Archived from the original on 10 February 2014.
  10. ^ Barnes, Mike (7 January 2021). "John Richardson, British Actor in 'She' and 'One Million Years B.C.,' Dies of COVID-19 at 86". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 January 2021.

External linksEdit