|Born||July 29, 1921|
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Died||July 20, 1987 (aged 65)|
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Holy Cross Cemetery|
|Other names||Richard Eagan|
|Education||University of San Francisco |
Richard Egan (July 29, 1921 – July 20, 1987) was an American actor. After beginning his career in 1949, he subsequently won a Golden Globe Award for his performances in the films The Glory Brigade (1953) and The Kid from Left Field (1953). He went on to star in many films such as Underwater! (1955), Seven Cities of Gold (1955), The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956), Love Me Tender (1956), A Summer Place (1959), Esther and the King (1960) and The 300 Spartans (1962).
Early life and education
Born and raised in San Francisco, California, Egan graduated from St. Ignatius College Preparatory. He won a public-speaking competition in 1938 that helped fire his interest in performing. He was supported by his brother who was a priest.
Egan was interested in drama and studied it while doing a BA at the University of San Francisco. He left in 1943 and served in the United States Army as a judo and knife fighting instructor during World War II. He served a year in the Philippines and was discharged with the rank of captain.
"The war had given me time to think", he later said, "and to decide what I really wanted to do. I think I had always been an actor in my mind, but now I was going to be one in public, too. Right out in front of everybody."
When Egan returned, he went back to school to earn a master's degree in theater history from Stanford University, with the help of the G.I. Bill. From there, he went on to teach public speaking at Northwestern University. While at Northwestern, he appeared in thirty campus stage productions and was eventually spotted by a Warner Bros talent scout, Solly Bioano, who encouraged him to try Hollywood.
Egan had a series of unsuccessful screen tests. He eventually got a bit role in the 1949 Hollywood film The Story of Molly X, at Universal. He had a small roles in The Good Humor Man (1950), at Columbia; The Damned Don't Cry (1950) (as Joan Crawford's husband) and Return of the Frontiersman (1950), at Warners; and The Killer That Stalked New York (1950), at Columbia.
In June 1950 Egan signed a contract with Universal. There he had supporting roles in Wyoming Mail (1950), Undercover Girl (1950), Kansas Raiders (1950), Up Front (1951); Highway 301 (1950); Bright Victory (1951); and Up Front (1951). Egan later described these roles as saying things like "Charlie, go outside! The horses are ready."
Edward Small cast him in a support role in Cripple Creek (1952). Egan went to RKO for One Minute to Zero (1952) and MGM for The Devil Makes Three (1952), shot in Germany. He did "Let George Do It" on TV for Hollywood Opening Night (1952).
Egan supported Victor Mature in The Glory Brigade (1953), a war movie at 20th Century Fox, then had a small part in The Kid from Left Field (1953). He did "Malaya Incident" and "Double Bet" for Ford Television Theatre(1953).
Egan's career received a boost when a casting director, according to Egan, said "Take off your shirt!", and then cast him in a small role in Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954), as a gladiator who fights Victor Mature.
This led to Egan's first leading role, in Edward Small's Wicked Woman (1953). On TV he did "Go Away a Winner" for Schlitz Playhouse (1954), then had another lead in a low budget movie, Gog (1954), produced by Ivan Tors.
Small used him as a leading man again in Khyber Patrol (1954). He was used by RKO to costar with Jane Russell in Underwater! (1955), a notorious flop. However it led to Hedda Hopper declaring Egan to be one of the most promising actors of 1954.
20th Century Fox
Egan was third billed in Fox's Untamed (1955), supporting Tyrone Power and Susan Hayward, taking a role that Victor Mature turned down. He was billed second in Fox's Violent Saturday (1955), directed by Richard Fleischer, starring Mature. The film was a success.
Egan went to RKO for a Western, Tension at Table Rock (1956). He followed this with another Western at Fox, Love Me Tender (1956), where Egan was top billed. It was a success at the box office. However this was attributed to the third-billed actor who played Egan's character's brother, Elvis Presley, whose first film it was. The success of the film saw Egan voted as the 13th biggest star in the US according to an exhibitor poll.
Egan was Rod Serling's first choice to narrate The Twilight Zone, because of his distinctive voice. However, contractual issues got in the way, and Serling himself narrated instead, rather than select any actor other than his first choice.
Egan starred in the NBC western dramatic series, Empire, which aired from September 25, 1962 to December 31, 1963. In the shortened second season, the program was renamed Redigo after Egan's character, ranch manager Jim Redigo.
In 1966, when asked about his lack of film roles, he said, "They want anti-heroes now, and it's just not for me. I'm just not right for that. It's much easier to be cynical than to make a positive statement, to set up a man only to knock him down, than to show convincingly a man who successfully sticks by his beliefs. We desperately need something to give strength and fortitude to the lost. I want to be a part of that. Part of the solution. And if I can't . . . well . . . I'm sure not interested in becoming part of the problem instead."
He had a lead in Throw Out the Anchor! (1974).
In 1974, he returned to the stage and for the next 8 years toured extensively in stage productions starting with No Hard Feelings. (1974 until 1976). In 1976 he appeared in Time Out For Ginger, 1976 to 1979 in Hanky Panky, 1979 to 1981 in Broken Up  and 1982 in I Ought To Be In Pictures.
Egan had the lead in a TV movie, Mission to Glory: A True Story (1977), and supported Robert Mitchum in The Amsterdam Kill (1977) and starred in the low-budget Western The Sweet Creek County War (1979).
Egan met his wife, Patricia Hardy, in 1956. The couple married in June 1958 and remained together for almost 30 years until his death. They had five children: Patricia, Kathleen, Colleen, Maureen Egan (a writer and director), and son Rich Egan, the founder of Vagrant Records.
Egan was respected within the acting community for having helped a number of young actors get their first break in the film industry. One of those young actors was Ryan O'Neal. He worked out at the same gym as Egan, who got him credited work in four episodes of Empire.
- The Story of Molly X (1949) – Police Detective (uncredited)
- The Good Humor Man (1950) – Officer Daley
- The Damned Don't Cry! (1950) – Roy Whitehead
- Return of the Frontiersman (1950) – Cowhand (uncredited)
- The Killer That Stalked New York (1950) – Treasury Agent Owney (uncredited)
- Wyoming Mail (1950) – Beale
- Undercover Girl (1950) – Jess Faylen
- Kansas Raiders (1950) – First Lieutenant
- Highway 301 (1950) – Herbie Brooks
- Up Front (1951) – Capa
- Bright Victory (1951) – Sgt. John Masterson
- Hollywood Story (1951) – Police Lt. Bud Lennox
- The Golden Horde (1951) – Gill
- Flame of Araby (1951) – Captain Fezil
- The Battle at Apache Pass (1952) – Sgt. Reuben Bernard
- Cripple Creek (1952) – Strap Galland alias Gillis
- One Minute to Zero (1952) – Capt. Ralston
- The Devil Makes Three (1952) – Lt. Parker
- Blackbeard the Pirate (1952) – Briggs
- Split Second (1953) – Dr. Neal Garven
- The Glory Brigade (1953) – Sgt. Johnson
- The Kid from Left Field (1953) – Billy Lorant
- Wicked Woman (1953) – Matt Bannister
- Gog (1954) – Dr. David Sheppard
- Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954) – Dardanius
- Khyber Patrol (1954) – Capt. Kyle Cameron
- Underwater! (1955) – Johnny Gray
- Untamed (1955) – Kurt Hout
- Violent Saturday (1955) – Boyd Fairchild
- Seven Cities of Gold (1955) – Jose Mendoza
- The View from Pompey's Head (1955) – Anson 'Sonny' Page
- The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956) – Jim Blair
- Tension at Table Rock (1956) – Wes Tancred
- Love Me Tender (1956) – Vance Reno
- Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1957) – William "Bill" Keating
- Voice in the Mirror (1958) – Jim Burton
- The Hunters (1958) – Colonel Dutch Imil
- These Thousand Hills (1959) – Jehu
- A Summer Place (1959) – Ken Jorgenson
- Pollyanna (1960) – Dr. Edmond Chilton
- Esther and the King (1960) – King Ahasuerus
- The 300 Spartans (1962) – King Leonidas
- Chubasco (1967) – Sebastian
- The Destructors (1968) – Dan Street
- The Big Cube (1969) – Frederick Lansdale
- Downhill Racer (1969) – Extra in bar scene (uncredited)
- Moonfire (1970) – Sam Blue
- The House That Would Not Die (1970, TV movie) – Pat McDougal
- The Day of the Wolves (1971) – Pete Anderson
- Left Hand of Gemini (1972)
- Throw Out the Anchor! (1974) – Jonathon
- Mission to Glory: A True Story (1977) – Father Eusibio Francisco Kino
- The Amsterdam Kill (1977) – Ridgeway
- The Sweet Creek County War (1979) – Judd Firman
- Thackery Jr., Ted (July 22, 1987). "Richard Egan, 65, Dies; Portrayed Rugged Heroes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
- Hopper, Hedda (January 16, 1955). "Make Room for Dick Egan—HE'S ON HIS WAY!: Husky Californian Has Acting Ability and a Virile Charm Which Spell Success in Hollywood". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. k27.
- HOWARD THOMPSON (March 27, 1955). "END OF ECLIPSE FOR AN EAGER EGAN". New York Times. p. X5.
- Scott, John L. (August 2, 1953). "Actor Muscles Way Into Fatter Roles: Richard Egac Muscles Way Into Fatter Roles". Los Angeles Times. p. D1.
- "STUDIO BRIEFS". Los Angeles Times. June 7, 1950. p. B6.
- THOMAS F. BRADY (July 11, 1950). "COWAN TO PRODUCE A COMEDY FEATURE: 'The Customer Is Always Right' Will Be Filmed Here Using 3-Dimensional Process". New York Times. p. 25.
- Schallert, Edwin (June 21, 1951). "Drama: Gaynor Star Build-up Proceeds; 'County Line' Adds Paula Raymond". Los Angeles Times. p. A9.
- Strong, Edwin J. (June 8, 1952). "Drama-Arts: WAR ERUPTS IN COLORADO IN MOVIE BUT STILL GRIM". Los Angeles Times. p. E1.
- Hopper, Hedda (January 2, 1955). "FILM STARS OF 1955!: Future Stars Are Rich in Talent! Hedda Hopper Names Eighteen Likely Candidates for 1955 Honors". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. k14.
- "M-G-M TO MAKE 27 FILMS IN YEAR: 8 Movies Will Start Within 60 Days – Three Broadway Plays on Studio Schedule". New York Times. August 4, 1954. p. 17.
- THOMAS M. PRYOR (February 9, 1955). "'WOMAN OF WOODS' ON FOX' SCHEDULE: Sheree North, Richard Egan, Rita Moreno Will Have Top Roles in Northwest Film". New York Times. p. 32.
- "Drama: Richard Egan Wins Big Western Role". Los Angeles Times. February 23, 1956. p. A8.
- Richard L. Coe. (October 30, 1957). "Dick to Stick By the Flicks". The Washington Post and Times Herald. p. D6.
- Daniels, Mary (April 14, 1974). "Theater: Egan: The finish hasn't worn off". Chicago Tribune. p. e18.
- Wilkinson (January 25, 1980). "Classic Hero Supports Old-Fashioned Attitudes". Arizona Republic.
- Anna Dooling (May 21, 1982). "Name of the Game is Hustle For Visiting Veteran Actor". Albuquerque Journal.
- Barnes, Mike (August 30, 2011). "Actress Patricia Hardy Dies at 80 – Star of films, TV shows in the 1950s was married to veteran actor Richard Egan". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- "Richard Egan". Find a Grave. May 20, 2010. Retrieved December 19, 2019.