Richard Basehart - Rotten Tomatoes

Richard Basehart

Lowest Rated:   22% The Brothers Karamazov (1957)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
Richard Basehart was too much of an actor (and almost too good an actor) to ever be a movie star -- his range was sufficient to allow him to play murderers, psychopaths, sociopaths, and would-be suicides in 20 years' worth of theatrical films in totally convincing fashion, but also to portray a hero in the longest-running science fiction/adventure series on network television. Without ever achieving stardom, he became one of the most respected performers of his generation in theater, film, and television. Born John Richard Basehart in Zanesville, OH, in 1914, he spent a part of his childhood in an orphanage after the death of his mother, when his father, Harry Basehart, found himself unable to look after the four children left in his care. The younger Basehart considered a career in journalism like his father, but when he was 13, he began acting in small roles in a local theater company and came to enjoy performing. In the mid-'30s, he joined Jasper Deeter's famed Hedgerow Theater company in Rose Valley, PA. By the end of the 1930s, he'd set his sights on a Broadway career and moved to New York. During the 1939 season, while working in stock, Basehart met an actress named Stephanie Klein, and the two were married in early 1940. He continued trying to establish a foothold in New York and in 1942, joined Margaret Webster's theater company. Basehart's breakthrough role came during 1945 in the play The Hasty Heart, in which director Bretaigne Windust cast him in the central role of the proud, dying young Scottish soldier. Basehart won the 1945 New York Drama Critics Award for his performance and was named the most promising newcomer of the season. Not only did Broadway producers take notice of Basehart but so did Hollywood, and he was soon signed to a movie contract. Thus began a screen career that lasted nearly 40 years, starting with Repeat Performance (1947), a thriller starring Joan Leslie. He followed this with Cry Wolf (1947), an adventure yarn also starring Barbara Stanwyck, Errol Flynn, and Geraldine Brooks. Basehart was unusually careful as a new Hollywood performer to vary his roles and avoid getting typecast. His first of what proved a string of memorable portrayals was in He Walked By Night (1948), a fact-based thriller in which the actor played a brilliant but sociopathic electronics expert, responsible for a string of burglaries and for killing a police officer. Viewers who grew up knowing Basehart as the heroic figure on the series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea in the 1960s are often startled to see him 20 years earlier in He Walked By Night as an almost feral presence, quietly fierce, threatening and stealthy in his efforts to escape detection and capture. Over the next two years, Basehart essayed a multitude of roles, in contemporary dramatic subjects and period dramas, the most interesting of which was Anthony Mann's Reign of Terror (1949), in which he portrayed Maximilien Robespierre, one of the chief architects of the bloodbath that followed in the wake of the French Revolution. In 1950, Basehart played one of the most difficult film roles of his career when he was cast in the fact-based movie Fourteen Hours, playing a young man who spends 14 hours on the ledge of an office building, threatening to jump. It was during the shooting of this movie that Basehart's wife, Stephanie, was taken ill with what proved to be a brain tumor, and died very suddenly. He finished work on the film and then left the United States, going to Italy where he began putting his life back together. This began when he met the actress Valentina Cortese, whom he married in 1951. The two worked together in one movie, The House on Telegraph Hill, directed by Robert Wise at 20th Century Fox, in which Basehart played the villain trying to murder Cortese for her estate. Basehart returned to Hollywood only intermittently for the next nine years, and his next appearance in an American movie wasn't until 1953, when he worked in Titanic, starring

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet The House on Telegraph Hill
  • Alan Spender
2001
No Score Yet National Geographic
  • Actor
1983
No Score Yet Bix - Ain't None of Them Play Like Him Yet
  • Narrator
1981
No Score Yet Land of the Celtic Ghosts
  • Narrator
1980
96% Being There
  • Vladmir Skrapinov
1979
No Score Yet The Rebels
  • Actor
1979
No Score Yet Tower of Babel
  • Actor
1979
No Score Yet The Great Bank Hoax (Shenanigans)(The Great Georgia Bank Hoax)
  • Manny Benchly
1978
47% The Island of Dr. Moreau
  • Sayer Of The Law
1977
No Score Yet 21 Horas en Munich
  • Chancellor Willy Brandt
1976
No Score Yet Mansion of the Doomed
  • Dr. Leonard Chaney
1976
No Score Yet Flood!
  • John Cutler
1976
No Score Yet Judgement: The Court Martial of Lt. William Calley
  • Actor
1975
No Score Yet Columbo: Dagger of the Mind
  • Actor
1972
No Score Yet Rage
  • Dr. Roy Caldwell
1972
No Score Yet The Bounty Man
  • Angus Keough
1972
No Score Yet The Birdmen
  • Actor
1971
No Score Yet City Beneath the Sea
  • Actor
1971
No Score Yet Chato's Land
  • Nye Buell
1971
No Score Yet Hollywood Television Theatre
  • Lt.Col Henry Wirz
1970
No Score Yet Hans Brinker
  • Dr. Boekman
1969
60% The Satan Bug
  • Dr. Gregor Hoffman
1965
No Score Yet Four Days in November
  • Actor
1964
No Score Yet Kings of the Sun
  • Ah Min
1963
No Score Yet Hitler
  • Adolf Hitler
1962
No Score Yet Visa to Canton (Passport to China)
  • Don Benton
1961
No Score Yet Portrait in Black
  • Howard Mason
1960
No Score Yet L'ambitieuse (The Ambitious One)
  • Actor
1959
No Score Yet Time Limit
  • Maj. Harry Cargill
1957
22% The Brothers Karamazov
  • Ivan Karamozov
1957
No Score Yet Playhouse 90 So Soon to Die
  • Actor
1957
85% Moby Dick
  • Ishmael
1956
No Score Yet Finger of Guilt
  • Reginald 'Reggie' Wilson
1956
No Score Yet The Extra Day
  • Actor
1956
100% Il Bidone (The Swindle) (The Swindlers)
  • Picasso
1955
No Score Yet The Good Die Young
  • Joe
1954
97% The Road (La Strada)
  • The Fool
1954
89% Titanic
  • George Healey
1953
100% Decision Before Dawn
  • Lt. Rennick
1951
No Score Yet Fixed Bayonets!
  • Cpl. Denno
1951
100% 14 Hours
  • Robert Cosick
1951
No Score Yet Tension
  • Warren Quimby
1949
No Score Yet Reign of Terror
  • Robespierre
1949
No Score Yet Roseanna McCoy
  • Mounts Hatfield
1949
83% He Walked by Night
  • Davis Morgan
1948
No Score Yet Repeat Performance
  • William Williams
1947
No Score Yet Cry Wolf
  • James Caldwell Demarest
1947
No Score Yet Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee
  • Actor

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Little House on the Prairie
1974-1984
  • Hannibal Applewood
  • 1976
No Score Yet The Twilight Zone
1959-1964
  • Col. Adam Cook
  • 1963

Quotes from Richard Basehart's Characters