RICHARD EGAN 1921-1987

Richard Egan

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.

Richard Egan, Joan Crawford

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.

 

With Beverly Michaels in WICKED WOMAN.

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.

 

With Jane Russell. UNDERWATER!

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?

 

With Julie London. Voice in the Mirror.

 

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.

 

With Margaret Hayes

 

With Virginia Leith.

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.

 

 

With Dorothy Malone in TENSION AT TABLE ROCK.

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.

 

With Jane Wyman

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.

 

14 responses »

  1. Very good overview of Egan’s career, and I’m glad you went ahead and put this together. I agree with you and think he was a solid presence on screen and was capable of showing depth when called upon to do so.
    I keep meaning to have a look at that TVM he made with Stanwyck. I see you weren’t all that impressed by it but I am fond of those 70s efforts and both stars are favorites of mine.

  2. There are many of his films I have never seen but he never disappointed me in those I have seen. There is another one of his TV movies on You Tube in which he plays the pilot of a passenger plane which crashes – “Valley of Mystery” (1967), with Julie Adams, Fernando Lamas, Douglas Kennedy, Leonard Nimoy, Peter Graves.

  3. “Secret Interlude” is available here https://ok.ru/video/750725892642

    Wikipedia has a bit on later stage work.
    “In 1974 he returned to the stage and for the next 8 years toured extensively in stage productions starting with No Hard Feelings.[14] (1974 until 1976). In 1976 he appeared in Time Out For Ginger, 1976 to 1979 in Hanky Panky, 1979 to 1981 in Broken Up [15] and 1982 in I Ought To Be In Pictures.[16]”

    More stage info here.
    https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Egan-Inscribed-Photograph-co-signed/dp/B077J1ZPZP

    and here

  4. Thanks a lot, Bob. Will look forward to watching the film. And interesting to hear about some of his stage appearances,

  5. Liked him in Esther And The King. First saw him in Demetrius And The Gladiators taunting Victor Mature, if I am not mistaken.

  6. I’ve always liked Egan’s on screen likability. 300 Spartans was one I watched quite often as a kid so I’ve always known him from then on. Violent Saturday a good one with a cast to match. I always felt he looked way older than he was in the later years so am not surprised he died relatively young. Nice spotlight.

  7. I’ve wanted to see VOICE IN THE MIRROR for a long time. It was made in 1958 but wasn’t shown in the UK till 1961 supporting THE GREAT IMPOSTER. I think it was cut to fit the double bill. I missed it (I’m a Julie London fan but have always enjoyed Richard Egan’s appearances since UNDERWATER 1955)
    Don’t think it’s on DVD

    • Hello Vienna
      Bo I thought not. I guess it is another “lost” movie from the fifties…aa least for the time being
      JH

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