Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Remembering Richard Conte
Born Nicholas Peter Conte on March 24, 1910 in Jersey City, New Jersey the son of an Italian-American barber. He held several jobs, such as truck driver, singing waiter and Wall Street clerk before becoming discovered by Elia Kazan and John Garfield and given work in stage plays. He earned a scholarship to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. He made his Broadway debut in 1939 and later that year on film in “Heaven With a Barbed Wire Fence under the name Nicholas Conte. His career rose during World War II when many of the actors were in the military. In '42 he signed a long term contract with 20th Century Fox and changed his name to Richard Conte. He specialized in crime dramas such as “Cry of the City” and “Call Northside 777” both 1949. In the 1950s and his contract having expired he acted in independently for various studios. With the crime films decline in the 1960s so did Conte's career. He took supporting roles in “Tony Rome” (1967) with Frank Sinatra and “Lady in Cement” (1968). He then went to Europe and extended his career and acted in his only Eurowestern “Death Sentence” (1974) with Robin Clark and Tomas Milian. In 1972 he appeared in “The Godfather”. He continued to act in European films until his death on April 15, 1975 in Los Angeles, California. Today we celebrate what would have been Richard Conte's 100th Birthday.