Richard Denning (March 27, 1914 – October 11, 1998) was an American actor best known for starring in science fiction films of the 1950s, including Unknown Island (1948), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Target Earth (1954), Day the World Ended (1955), Creature with the Atom Brain (1955), and The Black Scorpion (1957). Denning also appeared in the film An Affair to Remember (1957) with Cary Grant and on radio with Lucille Ball in My Favorite Husband:244 (1948–1951), the forerunner of television's I Love Lucy.
Denning as Michael Shayne with Patricia Donahue as Lucy Hamilton
Louis Albert Heindrich Denninger, Jr.
March 27, 1914
Poughkeepsie, New York, U.S.
|Died||October 11, 1998 (aged 84)|
Escondido, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Maui Veterans Cemetery, Makawao, Hawaii|
|Alma mater||Woodbury Business College (MBA)|
(m. 1942; her death 1985)
(m. 1986; his death 1998)
Denning was born as Louis Albert Heindrich Denninger, Jr., in Poughkeepsie, New York. When he was 18 months old, his family moved to Los Angeles. After attending Manual Arts College, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Woodbury Business College in Los Angeles. Plans called for him to take over his father's garment manufacturing business, but he developed an interest in acting. Denning enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II and served on submarines.
Denning became an actor, best known for his recurring starring roles in various science fiction and horror films of the 1950s.
On television, he starred as the title character in the 1950 syndicated adventure series Ding Howe and the Flying Tigers. He was cast as Dr. Greg Graham in the 1959 series, The Flying Doctor.:353 He also starred as the title character in the detective series Michael Shayne (1960–1961):685 and shared title billing with Barbara Britton in the detective series Mr. and Mrs. North (1952–1954).:698
In 1964-1965, Denning played Steve Scott in the comedy series Karen.:555 In later life, he had a recurring role as the fictitious governor of Hawaii, Paul Jameson, in the CBS television crime drama series, Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980), starring Jack Lord.:440
He appeared three times on the ABC religion anthology series Crossroads, as Dr. Ira Langston in "Chinese Checkers" (1955) and as the Reverend George Bolton in "The Bowery Bishop" and as the Reverend Lloyd E. Williams in "The Pure White Orchid" (both 1956). According to Denning, his military service effectively disrupted his acting career, and after his discharge from military service it would be another year and a half before Paramount Pictures offered Denning any more acting work. During that time period, Denning and his family lived in a mobile home that he alternately parked at Malibu and Palm Springs.
Denning's period of unemployment ended when he was hired to star on the radio opposite Lucille Ball in My Favorite Husband. The CBS Radio sitcom ran for 124 episodes from July 23, 1948 through March 31, 1951 and would evolve into the groundbreaking television sitcom I Love Lucy. CBS wanted Denning to continue on as the husband in the new television sitcom but Lucille Ball insisted that her real life husband, Desi Arnaz, play the part.
In other activity on radio, Denning played Uncle Jack in It's a Crime, Mr. Collins (1956-1957) on the Mutual Broadcasting System. He also was the second actor to play Jerry North in the radio version of Mr. and Mrs. North.:232
Denning later appeared in several 'B' crime drama films before starring in a number of science fiction and horror films. In 1957, he began the first of what would become a steady series of television appearances, usually as a supporting character, though he did star briefly in two television dramas, The Flying Doctor (1959), and Michael Shayne (1960–61).
In 1968, Denning completed his last film, a comedy titled I Sailed to Tahiti with an All-Girl Crew. Semi-retired and living on the island of Maui with his wife, Denning was contacted by producer Leonard Freeman, who offered him the supporting role as the governor of Hawaii in the TV detective series, Hawaii Five-O. In order to persuade Denning to sign on in the recurring role, Freeman guaranteed Denning five-hour days and a four-day work week.
In 1942, Denning married 1940s horror film queen Evelyn Ankers (co-star of The Wolf Man, Ghost of Frankenstein and Son of Dracula), who retired from films at the age of 32 after they were married. He and Ankers had a daughter, Diana Denning (later Dwyer). After Ankers' death from cancer in 1985, Denning remarried, to Patricia Leffingwell. Denning died of a heart attack at the age of 84 on October 11, 1998 while visiting relatives in Southern California. Denning and Ankers are buried at Makawao Veterans' Cemetery in Makawao, Hawaii.
|1937||Hold 'em Navy||Midshipman Jepson|
|1937||Night Club Scandal||Vera's Naval Fiancé||(scenes deleted)|
|1937||Wells Fargo||Minor Role||Uncredited|
|1938||The Buccaneer||Captain Reid|
|1938||The Big Broadcast of 1938||Officer, S.S. Gigantic||Uncredited|
|1938||Her Jungle Love||Pilot||Uncredited|
|1938||You and Me||Salesman|
|1938||The Texans||Cpl. Parker||Uncredited|
|1938||Give Me a Sailor||Sailor||Uncredited|
|1938||Campus Confessions||Buck Hogan|
|1938||King of Alcatraz||Harry Vay|
|1938||The Arkansas Traveler||Bit Role||Uncredited|
|1938||Illegal Traffic||Silk Patterson|
|1938||Say It in French||Elevator Passenger||Uncredited|
|1939||Ambush||Police Garage Mechanic|
|1939||Persons in Hiding||Powder, Henchman|
|1939||King of Chinatown||Protective Association Henchman|
|1939||I'm from Missouri||Plane Pilot||Uncredited|
|1939||Sudden Money||Johnny Jordan|
|1939||Some Like It Hot||Mr. Weems|
|1939||Undercover Doctor||Frank Oliver|
|1939||The Gracie Allen Murder Case||Fred|
|1939||Grand Jury Secrets||Murph|
|1939||Million Dollar Legs||Hunk Jordan|
|1939||The Star Maker||Assistant Dance Director|
|1939||Television Spy||Dick Randolph|
|1939||Our Neighbors – The Carters||Pilot||Uncredited|
|1939||The Night of Nights||Call Boy||Uncredited|
|1940||Emergency Squad||Dan Barton|
|1940||Parole Fixer||Bruce Eaton|
|1940||The Farmer's Daughter||Dennis Crane|
|1940||Those Were the Days!||Briggs|
|1940||Queen of the Mob||Charlie Webster|
|1940||Golden Gloves||Bill Crane|
|1940||Northwest Mounted Police||Const. Thornton|
|1940||Love Thy Neighbor||Joe|
|1941||Adam Had Four Sons||Jack Stoddard (older)|
|1941||West Point Widow||Lt. Rhody Graves|
|1942||Beyond the Blue Horizon||Jackra the Magnificent|
|1942||The Glass Key||Taylor Henry|
|1942||Quiet Please, Murder||Hal McByrne|
|1942||Ice-Capades Revue||Jeff Stewart|
|1946||Black Beauty||Bill Dixon|
|1946||The Fabulous Suzanne||Rex|
|1947||Seven Were Saved||Captain Allen Danton|
|1948||Caged Fury||Blaney Lewis|
|1948||Lady at Midnight||Peter Wiggins|
|1948||Unknown Island||John Fairbanks|
|1950||No Man of Her Own||Hugh Harkness|
|1950||Harbor of Missing Men||Jim 'Brooklyn' Gannon|
|1950||Double Deal||Buzz Doyle|
|1951||The Bigelow Theatre||TV series, episode: "The Hot Welcome"|
|1951||Flame of Stamboul||Larry Wilson|
|1951||Insurance Investigator||Tom Davison|
|1951||Secrets of Beauty||Dr. John Waldron|
|1951||Week-End with Father||Don Adams|
|1952||Scarlet Angel||Malcolm Bradley|
|1952 - 1953||Mr. and Mrs. North||Jerry North||TV series on CBS, 56 episodes total|
|1952||Cavalcade of America||TV series episode: "The Man Who Took a Chance"|
|1952||Hangman's Knot||Lee Kemper|
|1953||Target Hong Kong||Mike Lassiter|
|1953||Ford Television Theatre||Dr. James Baker||TV series, episode: "The Doctor's Downfall"|
|1953||The 49th Man||Chief Investigator Paul Reagan|
|1953||The Glass Web||Dave Markson|
|1954||Ford Television Theatre||George Beagle||TV series, episode: "The Legal Beagles"|
|1954||Creature from the Black Lagoon||Dr. Mark Williams|
|1954||Battle of Rogue River||Stacey Wyatt|
|1954||Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||TV series, episode: "Tapu"|
|1954||Mr. and Mrs. North||Jerry North||TV series on NBC, 56 episodes total (both networks)|
|1954||Target Earth||Frank Brooks|
|1955||TV Reader's Digest||Don Wilkerson||TV series, episode: "I'll Pick More Daisies"|
|1955||Ford Television Theatre||Tim Barker||TV series, episode: "All That Glitters"|
|1955||Air Strike||Cmdr. Stanley Blair|
|1955||The Magnificent Matador||Mark Russell|
|1955||Creature with the Atom Brain||Dr. Chet Walker|
|1955||The Gun That Won the West||'Dakota' Jack Gaines|
|1955||The Crooked Web||Frank Daniel|
|1955||Day the World Ended||Rick|
|1956||Cheyenne||Capt. Quinlan||TV series, episode: "Decision"|
|1956||Celebrity Playhouse||William Broder||TV series, episode: "Bachelor Husband"|
|1956||The Oklahoma Woman||Steve Ward|
|1956||Girls in Prison||Rev. Fulton|
|1956||Crossroads||Dr. Ira Langston||TV series, episode: "Chinese Checkers"|
|1956||Crossroads||Rev. George Bolton||TV series, episode: "The Bowery Bishop"|
|1956||Crossroads||Reverend Lloyd E. Williams||TV series, episode: "The Pure White Orchid"|
|1956||Assignment Redhead||Major Gregory Keen|
|1956||Ford Television Theatre||Barney Maddock||TV series, episode: "Double Trouble|
|1956||Ford Television Theatre||Davy Jones||TV series, episode: "On the Beach"|
|1957||Naked Paradise||Duke Bradley|
|1957||Ford Television Theatre||Charlie Frye||TV series, episode: "The Idea Man"|
|1957||The Buckskin Lady||Dr. Bruce Merritt|
|1957||An Affair to Remember||Kenneth Bradley|
|1957||The Black Scorpion||Hank Scott|
|1957||General Electric Theater||Dr. Mark Andrews||TV series, episode: "Eyes of a Stranger"|
|1958||General Electric Theater||Jim Kendall||TV series, episode: "Letters from Cairo"|
|1958||The Lady Takes a Flyer||Al Reynolds|
|1958||Studio One||Jack Marshall||TV series, episode: "The Laughing Willow"|
|1958||Desert Hell||Sgt. Major Pierre Benet|
|1959||The Flying Doctor||Dr. Greg Graham||TV series, 39 episodes|
|1960||No Greater Love|
|1960–1961||Michael Shayne||Michael Shayne||TV series, 32 episodes|
|1963||Going My Way||Larry||TV series, episode: "Don't Forget to Say Goodbye"|
|1963||Twice-Told Tales||Jonathan Maulle|
|1964–1965||Karen||Steve Scott||TV series, 27 episodes|
|1966||Alice Through the Looking Glass||Alice's Father|
|1968||I Sailed to Tahiti With an All Girl Crew||Commodore|
|1968||I Spy||Delaney||TV series, episode: "This Guy Smith"|
|1968–1980||Hawaii Five-O||Governor Paul Jameson||TV series, 69 episodes|
|1974||McCloud||Edgar Hamilton||TV series, episode: "A Cowboy in Paradise"|
|1980||The Asphalt Cowboy||Charles Van Heuran||(final film role)|
- Character Actors in Horror and Science Fiction Films
- Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 165–166. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4.
- Aaker, Everett (2011). Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters: All Regular Cast Members in American Crime and Mystery Series, 1948-1959. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. pp. 181–184. ISBN 978-0-7864-6409-8.
- Weaver, Tom (January 2018). "The Sci-Fi Stalwarts: Richard Denning". Classic Images (511): 26–28.
- "Richard Denning". Variety. 21 October 1998. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
- Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 261. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
- "Richard Denning". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
- Andrews, Bart (1976). Lucy & Ricky & Fred & Ethel: The Story of "I Love Lucy". Dutton. p. 13. ISBN 0525149902. Retrieved 2017-05-27.
- Karol, Michael (2006). Sitcom Queens: Divas of the Small Screen. iUniverse, Inc. p. 16. ISBN 0-595-40251-8. Retrieved 2017-05-27.
- Thomas, Bob (4 Sep 1968). "Richard Denning Tells About His Island Life". Ocala Star-Banner.
- Hefferman, Harold (20 July 1970). "Denning High on Hawaii". The Pittsburgh Press.
- "Richard Denning". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 7 May 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
- "Evelyn Ankers Is Dead; 'Queen' of the B-Films". 31 August 1985 – via NYTimes.com.
- "Richard Denning". Variety. 21 October 1998. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
- Resting Places