Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy 75th Birthday Richard Harrison

Richard Harrison was born on May 26, 1935 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He moved to Los Angeles and worked at Vic Tanny and Bert Goodrich gyms. Because of the many encounters with actors who trained and worked out at the gyms he became interested in becoming an actor. He married Loretta Nicholson, the daughter of co-chief of International Pictures James H. Nicholson. He broke into acting on the Santa Monica stage, TV and small parts in films. Richard worked at 20th Century Fox and appeared in "South Pacific" (1958). He signed a three picture deal with American International Pictures which led him to Italy where he remained for almost 30 years, making sword and sandal films, westerns, crime, spy and action films. Because of his formal film training he was a step above the other peplum actors he is usually grouped with. Harrison was offered the part of "The Man with No Name" but turned it down because he had already committed to another film. Harrison became one of the biggest stars in Spaghetti westerns with starring roles in 18 films such as "Gunfight at Red Sands" (1963), $100,000 for Ringo" (1954), "El Rojo" (1967), "Vengeance" (1968), "One After the Other" (1969), "A Man Called King", "Reverend Colt", and "Aquasanta Joe" all in 1971. During the 1970's Harrison reached the pinnacle of his acting career and appeared in dozens of films made all over the world. In the 1980s he was duped into making a series of films which were then cut up with his name being used on many films he never actually made just archive footage was added in order to use his name on the title. He never agreed to this or was ever paid for the films. He became discouraged with the industry and retired to Palm Springs, California. He ran for public office a few times and today runs an electronic business with his son actor Sebastian Harrison. Richard was a recent guest at the 1st Los Angeles Spaghetti Western Festival in March of 2011. Today we celebrate the 75th birthday of a gentleman and icon of the Spaghetti western genre Mr. Richard Harrison.

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