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Richard Tompkins "Dick" Kollmar (December 31, 1910[1] – January 7, 1971) was an American stage, radio, film and television actor, television personality and Broadway producer. Kollmar was the husband of journalist Dorothy Kilgallen.

Richard Kollmar
Kollmar watching his fiancee Dorothy Kilgallen play piano in the Manhattan apartment she shared with her parents and sister in 1940.
Richard Tompkins Kollmar

(1910-12-31)December 31, 1910
DiedJanuary 7, 1971(1971-01-07) (aged 60)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Resting placeGate of Heaven Cemetery
Alma materTusculum College
Yale School of Drama
OccupationActor, television personality, stage producer and director
Dorothy Kilgallen
(m. 1940; died 1965)

Anne Fogarty (m. 1967–1971)


Early lifeEdit

Kollmar was born in Brooklyn, New York to John and Christine L. (née Smith) Kollmar. His great-great grandfather was Daniel D. Tompkins, the fourth Governor of New York and the sixth Vice President of the United States. The Kollmars moved to Ridgewood, New Jersey where John Kollmar worked as an architect.[1] Kollmar later attended Tusculum College where he became interested in acting.[2] While in college, he performed in the school's glee club and was the editor of the school newspaper. Upon graduation, he enrolled at the Yale School of Drama but dropped out after winning a role on a radio drama.[1]


After moving to New York City and getting steady work on radio commercials, Kollmar appeared in the Broadway musicals Knickerbocker Holiday (1938) and Too Many Girls (1939). The cast of Too Many Girls included 22-year-old singer-actor Desi Arnaz.[3] More than 35 years later, after Kollmar's death, Arnaz's memoir was published in which he said he and Kollmar had become close friends during the run of their musical show.[4]

In the early 1940s, Kollmar portrayed the role of Dennis Pierce on the radio series Pretty Kitty Kelly on CBS Radio.[5] From 1945 to 1950, Kollmar portrayed the role of Boston Blackie on the radio program of the same name on the Mutual Radio Network.[6] He also had lead roles in other radio shows including the soap opera Bright Horizon, Gang Busters and Grand Central Station.[7][8]

Kollmar tried his hand at producing a Broadway musical in 1943 when he helped launch Early to Bed. Its songs were composed by jazz pianist/popular song composer Fats Waller. Kollmar's role in introducing Waller's music to New York theatergoers was recalled in a 2016 essay about Waller by John McWhorter, an American academic and linguist who is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he teaches linguistics, American studies, philosophy, and music history. (He is the author of a number of books on language and on race relations.)

Even as late as 1943, the idea of a black composer writing the score for a standard-issue white show was unheard of. When Broadway performer and producer Richard Kollmar began planning Early to Bed, his original idea was for Waller to perform in it as a comic character, not to write the music. Waller was, after all, as much a comedian as a musician. Comedy rarely dates well, but almost 80 years later, his comments and timing during “Your Feet's Too Big” are as funny as anything on Comedy Central, and he nearly walks away with the movie Stormy Weather with just one musical scene and a bit of mugging later on, despite the competition of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Lena Horne, and the Nicholas Brothers. Kollmar's original choice for composer [of Early to Bed] was Ferde Grofé, best known as the orchestrator of George Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue,” whose signature compositions were portentous concert suites. But Grofé withdrew, and it is to Kollmar's credit that he realized that he had a top-rate pop-song composer available in Waller. Waller's double duty as composer and performer was short-lived. During a cash crisis and in an advanced state of intoxication, Waller threatened to leave the production unless Kollmar bought the rights to his Early to Bed music for $1,000. (This was typical of Waller, who often sold melodies for quick cash when in his cups. The evidence suggests, for example, that the standards “I Can't Give You Anything but Love” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street” were Waller tunes.) Waller came to his senses the next day, but Kollmar decided that his drinking habits made him too risky a proposition for eight performances a week. From then on, Waller was the show's composer only, with lyrics by George Marion, whose best-remembered work today is the script for the Astaire-Rogers film The Gay Divorcée.[9]

In April 1945, Kollmar and columnist wife Dorothy Kilgallen (whom he married in April 1940) began hosting a 45-minute breakfast radio show called Breakfast with Dorothy and Dick. The program aired Monday through Friday on WOR and was broadcast from the couple's 16-room apartment at 630 Park Avenue in Manhattan. Over breakfast, served by their butler Julius, the couple talked about New York City entertainment, celebrity gossip and the city's nightclub scene.[10] The couple sometimes chatted on the radio airwaves with sports figures; Friday morning, May 9, 1947 was one such occasion.[11] The couple's two children, Richard, Jr. ("Dickie") and Jill, often made appearances.[12]

Breakfast with Dorothy and Dick was broadcast locally throughout New York City and its suburbs, drawing an audience of 20 million listeners.[12] In 1952, the Kollmar family moved from their Park Avenue apartment to a townhouse on Manhattan's East 68th Street, and the show began originating from there. Breakfast with Dorothy and Dick ceased production on March 21, 1963.[12]

On April 11, 1945, Kollmar took up the lead role in the radio series, "Boston Blackie." The series ran from April 11, 1945 - October 25, 1950. It also starred Jan Miner as Blackie's girlfriend, Mary, and Maurice Tarplin as Inspector Farraday. [13]

In 1948, Kollmar made his first and only film appearance in the 1948 low-budget crime drama Close-Up, directed by Jack Donohue.[14] In June 1949, he began hosting the live television variety series Broadway Spotlight. The series, which aired on NBC, was canceled in September 1949.[15] Throughout the early to mid-1950s, Kollmar continued his career as an actor with guest roles on network television. In 1952, he became the master of ceremonies of Guess What (American game show) on the DuMont Television Network. It was telecast from July 8 to August 26, 1952, then was canceled,[16] and no kinescopes were preserved. From 1952 to 1965, Kollmar made five appearances on the game show What's My Line?, on which his wife was a regular panelist. Kollmar appeared once as an occupational guest, twice as part of a group of mystery guests and twice as a panelist.[17] The episode that aired live on July 6, 1952, first of his five appearances, was lost due to wiping, but the other four are available for viewing.

In addition to his work in radio and television, Kollmar produced and directed several Broadway stage plays. He produced his first Broadway show, By Jupiter, in June 1944.[18] In May 1944, he produced and directed the fantasy musical Dream With Music. The production starred ballerina Vera Zorina and was written by Kollmar's wife Dorothy, Sidney Sheldon and Ben Roberts.[19] The musical was praised for its ballet sequences, but received largely poor reviews. It closed after 28 performances.[20] Kollmar fared better with his next two productions, Are You With It? and Plain and Fancy, both of which were hits. In 1958, Kollmar produced The Body Beautiful, a musical about prize fighters starring Steve Forrest, singers Lonnie Sattin and Barbara McNair (in their Broadway debuts), Mindy Carson and Jack Warden.[21][22] He hired two newcomers, lyricist Sheldon Harnick and composer Jerry Bock, both of whom would go on to write the lyrics and music for the hit shows Fiddler on the Roof and Fiorello!.[23] Upon its debut on January 23, 1958,[24] reviews were generally mixed. However, more influential critics panned the show and the music (though two songs, "All of These and More" and "Summer Is", became standards) with one critic from The New Yorker calling the show "vulgar and feeble minded in equal degrees."[21] The Body Beautiful failed to attract an audience and closed in March 1958, after 60 performances.[22][23] It was the last show Kollmar would produce.

When not active in acting and producing, Kollmar operated a New York City supper club called The Left Bank (the club closed by 1965).[25] He was also involved in the arts community, working with the Art Students League of New York and opened an art gallery in midtown Manhattan.[26]

Personal lifeEdit

Kollmar was married twice and had three children. On April 6, 1940, he married columnist Dorothy Kilgallen at the St. Vincent Ferrer Church in Manhattan.[27][28] The couple had three children: Richard, Jr. (born 1941), Jill (born 1943), and Kerry (born 1954).[29] They remained married until Kilgallen's death in November 1965.[30]

In June 1967, Kollmar married fashion designer Anne Fogarty to whom he remained married until his death.[31][32]


On January 7, 1971, Kollmar died at his Manhattan home.[2][33] Newspaper reports stated that he "died in his sleep late Thursday in his New York home."[33] According to his friends, he had broken his shoulder after falling at his home on January 4, three days before his death.[2][34]

His funeral was held on January 9 at St. Vincent Ferrer Church in Manhattan.[34] Kollmar is buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.

Broadway creditsEdit

Date Production Role Notes
October 19, 1938 – March 11, 1939 Knickerbocker Holiday Brom Broeck
October 18, 1939 – May 18, 1940 Too Many Girls Clint Kelley
January 14 – January 18, 1941 Crazy With the Heat Performer
June 3 – June 12, 1943 By Jupiter
June 17, 1943 – May 13, 1944 Early to Bed El Magnifico Producer
May 18 – June 10, 1944 Dream With Music
Producer, director
November 10, 1945 – June 29, 1946 Are You with It?
January 27, 1955 – March 3, 1956 Plain and Fancy
January 23 – March 15, 1958 The Body Beautiful


Year Title Role Notes
1948 Close-Up Martin Beaumont
1949 Broadway Spotlight Host Unknown episodes
1950 The Web Episode: "The Witness"
1951 Penthouse Party Himself Episode #1.29
1952 Guess What? Host Unknown episodes
Credited as Dick Kollmar
1952-1965 What's My Line Himself/panelist 5 episodes
1954 Armstrong Circle Theatre Episode: "Evening Star"
1954 Who's the Boss? Himself/Panelist Unknown episodes
Credited as Dick Kollmar
1956 Person to Person Himself Episode #3.21
1956 NBC Matinee Theater
Episode: "Pygmalion Jones"


  • Arndt Anderson, Heather (2013). Breakfast: A History. AltaMira Press. ISBN 0-759-12165-6.
  • Block, Maxine; Herthe Rothe, Anna; Dent Candee, Marjorie (1953). Current Biography Yearbook. H. W. Wilson Co.
  • Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2009). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 0-307-48320-7.
  • Cox, Jim (2007). Radio Speakers: Narrators, News Junkies, Sports Jockeys, Tattletales, Tipsters, Toastmasters and Coffee Klatch Couples Who Verbalized the Jargon of the Aural Ether from the 1920s to the 1980s: A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland. ISBN 0-786-42780-9.
  • Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 0-195-07678-8.
  • Fates, Gil (1978). What's My Line?: The Inside History of Tv's Most Famous Panel Show. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-139-55146-8.
  • Green, Stanley (1980). The World of Musical Comedy: The Story of the American Musical Stage as Told Through the Careers of Its Foremost Composers and Lyricists. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80207-4.
  • Green, Stanley (2009). Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-786-74684-X.
  • Hischak, Thomas S. (2009). Broadway Plays and Musicals: Descriptions and Essential Facts of More Than 14,000 Shows through 2007. McFarland. ISBN 0-786-45309-5.
  • Israel, Lee (1979). Kilgallen. Delacorte Press. ISBN 0-440-04522-3.
  • Lambert, Phillip (2010). To Broadway, To Life! : The Musical Theater of Bock and Harnick: The Musical Theater of Bock and Harnick. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 0-199-78103-6.
  • The New York Times Biographical Service. 2. New York Times & Arno Press. 1971.
  • Reinehr, Robert C.; Swartz, Jon D. (2010). The A to Z of Old Time Radio. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-810-87616-7.
  • Signorielli, Nancy (1996). Signorielli, Nancy (ed.). Women in Communication: A Biographical Sourcebook. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-29164-0.
  • Terrace, Vincent (2008). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2 ed.). McFarland. ISBN 0-786-48641-4.


  1. ^ a b c Block, Herthe Rothe, Dent Candee 1953, p. 304
  2. ^ a b c New York Times 1971, p. 73
  3. ^ Arnaz, Desi (1976). A Book. William Morrow, Inc. pp. 86–91. ISBN 978-0-68-800342-5.
  4. ^ Arnaz, Desi (1976). A Book. William Morrow, Inc. pp. 86–91. ISBN 978-0-68-800342-5.
  5. ^ Senseney, Dan (October 1940). "What's New from Coast to Coast" (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. 14 (6): 6–8, 84. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  6. ^ Dunning 1998, p. 110
  7. ^ Reinehr, Swartzg 2010, p. 47
  8. ^ Dunning 1998, p. 118
  9. ^ McWhorter, John, The Fats Waller You've Never Heard The Fats Waller You've Never Heard: The Broadway musical Early to Bed represents a forgotten chapter in the career of the great pianist and composer.
  10. ^ Arndt Anderson 2013, p. 180
  11. ^ evidence of major league baseball team manager Leo Durocher as guest on May 9, 1947 broadcast of Breakfast with Dorothy and Dick
  12. ^ a b c Dunning 1998, pp. 118–119
  13. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3.
  14. ^ Cox 2007, p. 92
  15. ^ Brooks, Marsh 2007, p. 185
  16. ^ Terrace 2008, p. 421
  17. ^ Fates 1978, p. 109
  18. ^ Green 2009, p. 50
  19. ^ Hischak 2009, p. 121
  20. ^ "Dream with Music". Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  21. ^ a b Lambert 2010, pp. 59–60
  22. ^ a b "'Body Beautiful,' $310,000 In Red, Closes". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 13 (21): 65. March 27, 1958. ISSN 0021-5996.
  23. ^ a b Green 1980, p. 296
  24. ^ "The Body Beautiful". Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  25. ^ "Kilgallen Dies; Helped Push Pianist's Career". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 29 (7): 62. November 25, 1965. ISSN 0021-5996.
  26. ^ Simkin, John (September 1997). "Richard Kollmar".
  27. ^ Hughes, Carol (June 1950). "Dorothy Kilgallen: Star Reporter". Coronet. D. A. Smart. 28: 56. ISSN 0010-8936.
  28. ^ Scott, Walter (December 31, 1961). "Personality Parade". Reading Eagle. Reading, Pennsylvania. p. 6. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  29. ^ Signorielli 1996, p. 251
  30. ^ "Death of TV Panelist Dorothy Kilgallen Investigated". The Milwaukee Journal. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. November 9, 1965. p. 14. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  31. ^ Kollmar, Richard (June 21, 1967). "Serenade To a Bride". The Miami News. Miami, Florida. pp. 3–B. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  32. ^ "Anne Fogarty's Fashion 'Rebel'". The Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. February 20, 1975. p. 16. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  33. ^ a b "Richard Kollmar". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. January 8, 1971. p. 2. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  34. ^ a b "People on Parade". The Victoria Advocate. Victoria, Texas. January 9, 1971. p. 5B. Retrieved June 12, 2015.

External linksEdit