Sunday, March 7, 2010

RIP Richard Wyler

Richard Stapley, the actor who appeared alongside Elizabeth Taylor in "Little Women" and with Gene Kelly in "The Three Musketeers," has died. He was 86.

His publicist Alan Eichler says Stapley died of kidney failure Friday at a Palm Springs, California hospital.

Born in England, Stapley moved to Hollywood and appeared in a string of films in the 1940s and 1950s, including "King of the Khyber Rifles" with Tyrone Power and "The Strange Door" with Boris Karloff. He took the name Richard Wyler when he moved back to Britain and starred in "Man From Interpol" and other television series. Stapley was also a writer. His novel "Naked Legacy" was published in 2004.

Using the name Richard Wyler he appeared in “The Ugly Ones” (1966) with Tomas Milian and it looked as if he might be a big star in the Euro-western genre but his career as a Spaghetti hero was short lived as his following appearances were in lesser known releases and “Rattler Kid” usually makes the worst of the genre lists.

I met Richard two years ago at a Hollywood Collectors Show and he told me he learned to shoot a gun and ride a horse from the Sheriff of Riverside County California. Therefore he could ride and shoot before making his western films.

WYLER, Richard (aka Dick Wyler) (Richard Stapley) [6/20/1923, Westcliff, Essex, England, U.K. - 3/5/2010, Palm Springs, California, U.S.A. (kidney failure)] – race car driver, writer, producer, stage, TV actor.

The Ugly Ones – 1966 (Luke Chilson)
Turn… I’ll Kill You – 1967 (Bob/Billy Walsh/Winchester Bill)
Rattler Kid – 1967 (Tony “Rattler Kid” Garrett/Django)
Two Pistols for a Coward – 1968 (Coleman)


  1. I interview him in 1994 for my RICCARDO FREDA SE of ETC magazine. He told that he thought THE BOUNTY KILLER was his best European film because of the "chemistry" between the bounty hunter character he played and the outlaw played by Milian. He said he didn't like Milian personally, finding him "obnoxious" but conceded he was a good actor. Wyler was a classically trained actor with a restrained approach and still seemed put out that the Method-trained Milian managed to steal the film with his over-the-top acting style. Thanks for the obit.

  2. I would tend to agree. Milian overacts in all his westerns except "4 of the Apocalypse". I think Milian is a great actor in mediocre films which by his presence makes them better and he knows it. I'd like to see him in a film with a great group of actors and see how he stands up. I'm sure he could hold his own.

  3. I took a photo of Richard Wyler in September 1960 at a motorcycle scramble. He had injured his leg in a race. When I saw him a few weeks later, he signed the photo for me and it emerged that his leg was broken that day. What a decent guy to stand there while I took the photo (with my 'Brownie 127') I was 15.
    R.I.P. Richard...a gent.