Richard Webb (actor)

John Richard Webb (September 9, 1915 – June 10, 1993) was an American film, television and radio actor, originally from Bloomington, Illinois, the son of John Renner Webb and Laura Gail Gunnett.

Richard Webb
Mari Aldon and Richard Webb.jpg
Richard Webb with actress Mari Aldon in Florida for the premiere of Distant Drums (1951)
John Richard Webb

(1915-09-09)September 9, 1915
Bloomington, Illinois, United States
DiedJune 10, 1993(1993-06-10) (aged 77)
Cause of deathSuicide by firearm
Years active1941–1979
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Sterns (1942–?) (divorced) 2 children
Florence Webb (?–1993) (his death) 2 children

He appeared in more than fifty films, including many westerns and films noir including Out of the Past (1947), Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951) and Carson City (1952). Today, he may be best remembered as the star of the 1950s television series, Captain Midnight (Jet Jackson, Flying Commando in syndication), based on a long-running radio program of the same name and Border Patrol.

Life and careerEdit

Leaving Brown University theological school in 1936 when he realized he was not meant to be a Methodist minister, Webb enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed with the 1st Coast Artillery Regiment in Panama for three years when he decided to go to Hollywood[1]· attending the Bliss Hayden School of Acting.


Webb began his film career when he was discovered by Paramount Pictures in 1940[2] where he was soon engaged as a contract player appearing in such films as I Wanted Wings, Sullivan's Travels and This Gun for Hire . During World War II he reenlisted at Fort Ord in 1942, then was commissioned in the US Army at Fort Benning ending the war as a Captain; he remained in the Army Reserve rising to the rank of Major. Four months after leaving the Army he was back at Paramount in O.S.S.. After leaving Paramount Webb was originally offered a leading role in Sands of Iwo Jima. After receiving his salary and costume he was told that "powers that be" wished John Agar in the role and asked him if he would like another part in the film, that Webb accepted.[3]


In 1951, Webb was contracted to Warner Bros where he played in I Was a Communist for the FBI then appeared along with Gary Cooper in the "Florida Western" Distant Drums.

In 1954, Webb played the notorious gunfighter John Wesley Hardin in an episode of Jim Davis's Stories of the Century western anthology series. The segment shows Hardin shooting two Indians in the back, gunning down a sheriff in a saloon, and finally being outgunned by an El Paso officer attempting to arrest Hardin, then a lawyer, on a new murder warrant, possibly his 41st or 45th killing.[4]

In 1958, Webb appeared in the episode "Wheel of Fortune" of the NBC western series, Jefferson Drum, starring Jeff Richards. That same year, he guest starred as agent James Foster in Bruce Gordon's short-lived NBC docudrama about the Cold War, Behind Closed Doors.[5]

Webb in 1958 played the role of Rocky Norton in the episode "Dead Reckoning" of the ABC/Warner Bros. western series, Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. Jason Robards, Sr., and Lee Van Cleef appear in this episode as Judge Hesby and Devery, respectively.[6]

In 1959, Webb was cast as the fictitious Don Jagger, the deputy chief of the United States Border Patrol in the syndicated series, Border Patrol.


In 1960, Webb shot an unsuccessful television pilot for a spy series with Mark Damon, called Calling CQ.[7]

In the same year he was cast as Clay in the episode "Calico" of another ABC/WB western series, The Alaskans then played imposter Henry Walker on CBS's Rawhide in the episode entitled "Incident of the Stargazer". He was also cast in an episode of the 1960 CBS sitcom, My Sister Eileen, with Elaine Stritch and Shirley Bonne.

In still another 1960 role, Webb was cast as Thomas Francis Meagher in the 1960 episode "The General Who Disappeared" on the syndicated television anthology series, Death Valley Days. In the story line, General Meagher, who distinguished himself in the American Civil War, is the governor of the Montana Territory, in which capacity he seeks to clean up corrupt politics.[8] In a 1963 appearance, Webb was cast as Caleb in the Death Valley Days episode, "The Peacemaker". In the story line, Jacob Hamblin (David Brian), a Mormon figure, works feverishly to hold the peace treaty with the Navajo after a white man kills some Indians who come onto his property. Bing Russell and Michael Pate also appear in this episode. At the end of the broadcast one of Hamblin's grandsons appeared with host Stanley Andrews, who noted an historical marker which honors Hamblin's work on behalf of peace on the frontier.[9]

In 1963, Webb also portrayed George C. Belter, the murdered owner of Spicy Bits, a gossip magazine, in the Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Velvet Claws," starring Raymond Burr. In 1965, Webb again played the murder victim on Perry Mason, this time as Addison Powell in "The Case of the Impetuous Imp."

Webb played Lieutenant Commander Ben Finney in an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series ("Court Martial", 1967). In the 1970s, Webb became a writer and published four books on psychic phenomena.


Hindered by a long-term respiratory illness, Webb died of a self-inflicted gunshot on June 10, 1993 in Van Nuys, California.[10]


Webb wrote four books, Great Ghosts of the West, Voices From Another World and These Came Back, about psychic phenomena and the occult, and The Laughs on Hollywood, a collection of anecdotes about the entertainment industry.[11]

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ Page 11 The Pantagraph January 19, 1942
  2. ^ p.33 Lenburg, Jeff Peekaboo: The Story of Veronica Lake iUniverse, 1 Aug,2001
  3. ^ Henderson, Jan Alan 1988 interview Richard Webb'...'My Adventures With Captain Midnight.' Part Three
  4. ^ "Stories of the Century". Classic TV Archive. Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  5. ^ "Behind Closed Doors'". Retrieved September 2, 2009.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Colt .45". Archived from the original on May 4, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
  7. ^ p. 43 Terrace, Vincent Encyclopedia of Television Pilots, 1937-2012 McFarland, 26 Feb 2013
  8. ^ "The General Who Disappeared on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "The Peacemaker on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  10. ^ "Richard Webb, Actor And 50's TV Hero, 77". The New York Times. June 13, 1993.
  11. ^

External linksEdit