Richard Mulligan (November 13, 1932 – September 26, 2000) was an American character actor known for his roles in the sitcoms Soap (1977–1981) and Empty Nest (1988–1995),. Mulligan was the winner of two Emmy Awards (1980 and 1989) and one Golden Globe Award (1989). Mulligan was the younger brother of film director Robert Mulligan.
|Born||November 13, 1932|
|Died||September 26, 2000 (aged 67)|
(m. 1955; div. 1960)
(m. 1966; div. 1973)
(m. 1978; div. 1990)
(m. 1992; div. 1993)
|Relatives||Robert Mulligan (brother)|
Early life and careerEdit
Mulligan was born on November 13, 1932, in New York City. He served in the Navy in the early 1950s during the Korean War and later studied to become a playwright at Columbia University. After college, he began working in theatre, making his debut as a stage manager and performer on Broadway in All the Way Home in 1960. Additional theatre credits included A Thousand Clowns, Never Too Late, Hogan's Goat, and Thieves.
Mulligan made a brief, uncredited appearance in the 1963 film Love with the Proper Stranger, which was directed by his elder brother. He starred with Mariette Hartley in the 1966–67 season comedy series The Hero, in which he played TV star Sam Garrett. Garrett had starred in a fictional series as Jed Clayton, U.S. Marshal. The Hero lasted for 16 episodes. Another notable TV appearance was on the I Dream of Jeannie episode "Around the World in 80 Blinks", as a navy commander accompanying Major Nelson (Larry Hagman) on a mission. He also appeared in the season-13 episode "Wonder" of the Western TV show Gunsmoke.
1970s to end of careerEdit
Mulligan's most notable film role was as General George Armstrong Custer in Little Big Man, whom he portrayed as a borderline psychotic. He also appeared in the disaster movie spoof, The Big Bus (1976), where he was reunited with Larry Hagman from I Dream of Jeannie, and in the 1966 film The Group, in which he played Dick Brown, Harold's (Hagman) New York artist friend. In 1975, he starred in a radio adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Oblong Box" heard on the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.
Mulligan's best-known roles in television were as Burt Campbell in the sitcom Soap (1977–81), for which he won a Best Actor Emmy Award, and as Dr. Harry Weston in the NBC series Empty Nest, a spin-off of The Golden Girls in which his character had appeared in a couple of episodes. Empty Nest ran for seven seasons, and Mulligan won a Best Actor Emmy Award as well as a Golden Globe Award for his performance. He also played Secretary of State William Seward in Lincoln (1988), a TV movie based on Gore Vidal's novel.
Mulligan returned to perform on Broadway and in films, in which he usually played supporting roles. A notable exception was the black comedy S.O.B. (1981), in which he played a leading character, Felix Farmer, a Hollywood producer-director based upon the film's actual producer-director, Blake Edwards. The film starred Julie Andrews and William Holden, and also featured Larry Hagman. Mulligan was cast as Reggie Potter in the television series Reggie (1983). Lasting for only six episodes, it was a loose adaptation of the popular BBC series The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. In the 1984 film Teachers, he played an eccentric high-school history teacher (who in one scene teaches the Battle of the Little Bighorn, once more dressed as General Custer).
In 1985, he guest-appeared The Twilight Zone episode "Night of the Meek", where he took on the role of Henry Corwin, an alcoholic department-store Santa Claus who becomes the genuine article, in the remake of the 1959 Christmas episode "The Night of the Meek", the character Art Carney had played in the original version. The next year, he appeared in another episode of the series, "The Toys of Caliban".
Mulligan lent his voice to Disney's 1988 animated film, Oliver & Company, as the oafish Great Dane named Einstein. His final performance was a voice-over on Hey Arnold! in 2000 as the voice of Jimmy Kafka, the long mentioned, but never seen former friend of Arnold's grandpa.
Mulligan married four times. He was first married to Patricia Jones from 1955 to 1960, with whom he had a son, James. That was followed by marriages to Joan Hackett from January 3, 1966, to June 1973 and Lenore Stevens from 1978 to 1990. His last marriage was to adult film actress Rachel Ryan on April 27, 1992, which only lasted to early 1993.
On September 26, 2000, Mulligan died of colorectal cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 67 years old. At his own request, his remains were cremated and there was no funeral service. Mulligan was survived by his son James Mulligan from his first marriage, and two brothers, Robert and James.
In 1989, Mulligan won both the Emmy Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for portraying Dr. Harry Weston in Empty Nest (1988–1995). On September 30, 1993, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in the television industry, located at 6777 Hollywood Boulevard.
|1962||40 Pounds of Trouble||Bellhop||Uncredited|
|1963||Love with the Proper Stranger||Louie||Uncredited|
|1964||One Potato, Two Potato||Joe Cullen|
|1966||The Group||Dick Brown|
|1969||The Undefeated||Dan Morse|
|1970||Little Big Man||George Armstrong Custer|
|1971||A Change in the Wind|
|1972||Irish Whiskey Rebellion||Paul Lachaise- Alcoholic Actor|
|1972||Harvey||Dr. Lyman Sanderson||TV movie|
|1973||From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler||Mr. Kincaid|
|1974||Visit to a Chief's Son||Robert|
|1976||The Big Bus||Claude Crane|
|1978||Having Babies III||Jim Wexler||TV movie|
|1979||Scavenger Hunt||Marvin Dummitz|
|1982||Trail of the Pink Panther||Clouseau's father|
|1983||Malibu||Charlie Wigham||TV movie|
|1984||Jealousy||Merrill Forsyth||TV movie|
|1984||Meatballs Part II||Coach Giddy|
|1984||Micki + Maude||Leo Brody|
|1985||Doin' Time||Mongo Mitchell|
|1985||The Heavenly Kid||Rafferty|
|1986||A Fine Mess||Wayne 'Turnip' Parragella|
|1986||Babes in Toyland||Barnie / Barnaby Barnicle||TV movie|
|1988||Lincoln||William H. Seward||TV Mini-Series|
|1988||Oliver & Company||Einstein||Voice|
|1996||London Suite||Dennis Cummings||TV movie|
|1997||Dog's Best Friend||Fred||TV movie|
|1962||The Defenders||Lt. Summers||Episode: "The Empty Chute"|
|1963||Car 54, Where Are You?||Patrolman||Episode: "The Curse of the Snitkins"|
|1963||Route 66||County Prosecutor||Episode: "Shadows of an Afternoon"|
|1966–1967||The Hero||Sam Garret||16 episodes|
|1967||The Rat Patrol||Major Lansing||Episode: "Take Me to Your Leader Raid"|
|1967||Mannix||Dr. Bob Adams||Episode: "Beyond the Shadow of a Dream"|
|1967||Gunsmoke||Jud Pryor||Episode: "Wonder"|
|1969||I Dream of Jeannie||Wingate||Episode: "Around the World in 80 Blinks"|
|1970||The Most Deadly Game||Jordan||Episode: "Witches' Sabbath"|
|1971||Love, American Style||George||Episode: "Love and the Jury"|
|1971||Police Surgeon||Kramer||Episode: "A Taste of Sun"|
|1971||Bonanza||Dr. Mark Sloan||Episode: "Don't Cry, My Son"|
|1971||Bonanza||Farley||Episode: "Kingdom of Fear"|
|1971||The Partridge Family||Dr. Jim Lucas||Episode: "Why Did the Music Stop?"|
|1972||Circle of Fear||Tom||Episode: "House of Evil"|
|1973||Diana||Jeff Harmon||2 episodes|
|1973||The Partridge Family||Mr. Lipton||Episode: "The Diplomat"|
|1975||Medical Story||Dr. Ted Freeland||Episode: "The Right to Die"|
|1975||Matt Helm||Jack Harte||Episode: "Dead Men Talk"|
|1976||Little House on the Prairie||Granville Whipple||Episode: "Soldier's Return"|
|1976||Switch||Andy Rowen||Episode: "The Argonaut Special"|
|1976||Charlie's Angels||Kevin St. Clair||Episode: "Night of the Strangler"|
|1976||Spencer's Pilots||Babcock||Episode: "The Matchbook"|
|1976||The McLean Stevenson Show||Lloyd||Episode: "Oldie But Goodie"|
|1976||Gibbsville||Ben||Episode: "Saturday Night"|
|1977||Hunter||Dr. Harter||Episode: "Mirror Image"|
|1977||Kingston: Confidential||Harlan Scott||Episode: "Triple Exposure"|
|1977||Dog and Cat||Brother Saul||Episode: "Brother Death"|
|1977||The Love Boat||Ron Larsen||Episode: "Ex Plus Y"|
|1977–1981||Soap||Burt Campbell||82 episodes|
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
|1978||The Love Boat||Mark Littlejohn||Episode: "Where Is It Written?"|
|1979||$weepstake$||Dewey||Episode: "Dewey and Harold and Sarah and Maggie"|
|1983||Reggie||Reggie Potter||6 episodes|
|1985-1986||The Twilight Zone||Henry Corwin, Ernie Ross||2 Episodes: "Night of the Meek", "The Toys of Caliban"|
|1986||Highway to Heaven||Jeb Basinger||Episode: "Basinger's New York"|
|1988–1995||Empty Nest||Dr. Harry Weston||170 episodes|
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy (1990–91)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1990–91)
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series (1990–91)
|1988–1989||The Golden Girls||Dr. Harry Weston||3 episodes|
|1991–1993||Nurses||Dr. Harry Weston||4 episodes|
|1995||The John Larroquette Show||Richard Hemingway||Episode: "An Odd Cup of Tea"|
|1997||The Angry Beavers||Old Gramps||Episode: "Fish and Dips"|
|2001||Hey Arnold!||Jimmy Kafka||Episode: "Old Iron Man", (final appearance)|
- Van Gelder, Lawrence (September 29, 2000). "Richard Mulligan, 67, Actor On 'Soap' and 'Empty Nest'". The New York Times.
- "Richard Mulligan". Television Academy. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
- "Richard Mulligan". Golden Globes. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
- Lowry, Brian; King, Susan. "From the Archives: Richard Mulligan; Starred in Sitcoms 'Soap,' 'Empty Nest'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 26, 2016. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
- Bergan, Ronald (October 5, 2000). "Richard Mulligan; Brilliant comic actor behind crazy star of TV cult series, Soap". The Guardian. London. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
- Kaufman, Joanne; Bacon, Doris (May 29, 1989). "Choosing Career Over Marriage, Workaholic Richard Mulligan Tries to Feather His Empty Nest". People. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
- Lentz, Harris M. III (June 1, 2001). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2000: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. p. 165. ISBN 978-0786410248. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- Ferino, Brett (September 28, 2000). "Emmy-winning star of 'Soap' Richard Mulligan dead at 67". Sitcoms Online Message Boards: Forums Archive. Associated Press. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Richard Mulligan". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Richard Mulligan". Hollywood Star Walk: Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-10-04.