John Richardson (actor)

John Richardson (born 19 January 1934) is an English former actor who appeared in movies 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 is 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 (age 86)
Worthing, Sussex, England, UK
OccupationActor
Years active1956–1994
Spouse(s)
Martine Beswick
(m. 1967; div. 1973)

CareerEdit

Richardson was born 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 opposite fellow Brit Barbara Steele in the Italian gothic horror film, Black Sunday (1960), directed by Mario Bava. 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. Richardson later married his co-star, Martine Beswick.

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 Beswick moved to Hollywood in 1968. 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.

He eventually based himself in Italy and appeared in some giallo films: Torso (1973), Eyeball (1975), Reflections in Black (1975), Nine Guests for a Crime (1977) and Murder Obsession (1981). Duck in Orange Sauce (1975) was a comedy and Cosmos: War of the Planets (1977) science fiction.

Selected filmographyEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "John Richardson Biography". British Film Institute. 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. ^ Parsons, Chris (5 July 2012). "The Men Who Could Have Been Bond". Daily Mail.

External linksEdit