Not a bad start to your film career when you play Joan Crawford ‘s husband in your third screen outing. That’s what happened to Richard Egan. He’s only in THE DAMNED DONT CRY (1950) for a few scenes, but he comes over well as the hard working husband whom Joan Crawford leaves when their son is killed.
Contracts at Universal and Fox kept Richard busy in the 1950s. Occasionally he would get star billing – TENSION AT TABLE ROCK, SEVEN CITIES OF GOLD (his name above Anthony Quinn) and LOVE ME TENDER (initially billed above Elvis Presley!), GOG (a poor Ivor Tors film) and SLAUGHTER ON TENTH AVENUE .
He also starred in two films I’ve love to see – SECRET INTERLUDE and VOICE IN THE MIRROR.
The statuesque Beverly Michaels was the Wicked Woman. Richard – and Percy Helton – fall under her spell!
Richard, plus Herbert Marshall and Constance Dowling had little to do in GOG, a pseudo-scientific story involving robots which looked like early versions of Daleks! It’s on You Tube.
He costarred with Jane Russell in UNDERWATER! and THE REVOLT OF MAMIE STOVER. And he had a substantial role in VIOLENT SATURDAY.
Richard played an alcoholic in VOICE IN THE MIRROR, with Julie London as his supportive wife.. Has anyone seen it?
SECRET INTERLUDE ( also known as The View From Pompey’s Head) sounds intriguing too, with Richard as New York lawyer who returns to his southern roots to investigate a washed up writer (Sidney Blackmer). The strong cast included Cameron Mitchell, Dana Wynter and Marjorie Rambeau.
SLAUGHTER ON TENTH AVENUE gave Richard a strong role as a crusading district attorney out to reel in racketeer,Walter Matthau . Charles McGraw is in support as a detective and Jan Sterling and Julie Adams costar. The use of Richard Rodgers’ dramatic theme music gave the film great atmosphere.
It could be argued that Richard’s roles in SPLIT SECOND and VIOLENT SATURDAY , (although the former gave him a relatively small role and the latter a much larger one,) were similar.
In Split Second, he’s a doctor who puts himself in danger trying to help his estranged wife (Alexis Smith) who is being held against her will by gangster Stephen McNally.
Even in small roles, Egan always impresses me with his quiet, natural, assured performance – helped of course by that wonderful deep, resonant voice he had. He comes into the suspenseful thriller, Split Second, almost two thirds of the way through the film, and immediately becomes part of the ensemble, someone you pay attention to. He knows his wife has been unfaithful to him but he still will help her in any way he can, though he makes it clear he is over her.
Richard’s role in Violent Saturday is much bigger though he isnt really part of the main plot of a deadly bank robbery in a small town.
But he is drawn into the drama when his wife (Margaret Hayes) is killed during the bank holdup.
His character in Violent Saturday is wealthy but drinks too much while trying to save his marriage. When it looks as if he and his wife may patch up their marriage, her sudden death is a terrible shock.
In this scene with Virginia Leith , in the aftermath of hearing of his wife’s murder, Richard , almost talking to himself, speaks about the plans they had that morning and how everything was changed in an instant. It’s an emotional moment and Richard conveys the anguish very well. His subdued underplaying in this scene is memorable.
As gunslinger Wes Tancred In Tension at Table Rock, Richard had a good role as a gunfighter who wants to escape his past but finds himself in a town with lots of problems, all violent. He finds himself helping a struggling sheriff (Cameron Mitchell) whose wife is Dorothy Malone.
There are similarities in the plot to Shane. Tancred is an outsider who is forced to move on at the end of the film.
In 1970, Richard costarred with Barbara Stanwyck in a TV movie, “The House That Would Not Die.” I had a look at it on You Tube but wasn’t impressed. Barbara and her niece have moved into a haunted house and Richard is her neighbour who helps solve the mystery.
And Richard even did a Disney movie, Pollyanna, though he and Jane Wyman were very much in support of young Hayley Mills in the lead.
He did have top billing in A SUMMER PLACE, but again, Richard and Dorothy McGuire were in the shadow of the younger stars, Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue.
When film roles got fewer, Richard guested on several TV shows, then got his own modern day western series , EMPIRE which ran in 1962/63 . As ‘Redigo’, ranch foreman, Richard had Terry Moore , Charles Bronson and Ryan O’Neal in support.
According to IMDB, Richard went back to the stage from 1974 to 1982, and then took a part in the TV soap, CAPITOL. I haven’t been able to find out what stage work he did during that period in the 70s.
Richard was married to actress Patricia Hardy from 1958.
Described by some as bland, boring or wooden, I think Richard Egan was solid (not stolid!) in every film I have seen him in.