Richard Farnsworth - Rotten Tomatoes

Richard Farnsworth

Highest Rated:   100% The Grey Fox (1982)
Lowest Rated:   15% Rhinestone (1984)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Los Angeles, California, USA
No one can accuse Richard Farnsworth of taking the easy road to film stardom: by the time he finally got name-above-the-title billing, he was 61 years old, and had been in films for 34 of those years. A veteran Hollywood stunt man, he eventually became a respected actor in his own right, and earned widespread adulation for two outstanding lead performances, first as the veteran train robber released into a changed world in 1982's The Grey Fox and then as the dedicated Alvin Straight in 1999's The Straight Story.Born in Los Angeles on September 1, 1920, Farnsworth was a high-school dropout who became a rodeo rider at the age of 16. When the call went out from MGM for expert horsemen to appear in the Marx Brothers comedy A Day at the Races (1937), Farnsworth was hired as a combination stunt man/extra. The stint was the beginning of a decades-long Hollywood career, over the course of which he did stunt work for many a cowboy star and swashbuckler. For nearly a decade, he was exclusive stunt man/stand-in for Roy Rogers, accepting such occasional outside assignments as Guy Madison's riding double on the 1950s TV Western Wild Bill Hickok (three decades later, Farnsworth would himself impersonate Hickok in the theatrical feature The Legend of the Lone Ranger). Farnsworth's studio years were fairly lucrative; in addition to working with directors ranging from Cecil B. De Mille and Sam Peckinpah, it was not unusual for the stunt man to receive a bigger paycheck than the actors for whom he doubled. In the 1960s, the performer used his considerable clout in his field to co-create the Stuntman's Association, a group which would fight to safeguard the rights and working conditions of the men and women who risked life and limb for Hollywood.As he grew older, Farnsworth thought it wise to cut back on the athletics and to seek out speaking roles. By 1976, he was working as a full-time actor, his weather-beaten countenance and self-assuredness enlivening many an otherwise "flat" scene. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting appearance as Dodger in Comes a Horseman (1978); the star of that film was Jane Fonda, whose father, Henry, had been doubled by Farnsworth in The Tin Star (1957). In 1982, Farnsworth won Canada's Genie Award for his starring role as an elderly, elegant bank robber in The Grey Fox. On two occasions -- the 1984 baseball flick The Natural and the 1992 TV series Boys of Twilight -- the actor co-starred with another venerable stunt man-cum-character actor, Wilford Brimley. Farnsworth continued to craft a career not unlike Brimley's, making small but memorable supporting appearances in many A-list Hollywood productions, including Misery and Havana (both 1990).Farnsworth had been living in semi-retirement on his New Mexico ranch for most of the 1990s when he received a call from director David Lynch to star in The Straight Story, the real-life tale of an elderly widower who drives a tractor from his Iowa home to the Wisconsin bedside of his estranged, gravely ill brother (Harry Dean Stanton). The film received a warm reception, much of which was directed at the septuagenarian's understated, plainspoken performance. Honored with a Golden Globe nomination and an Independent Spirit Award for his work, Farnsworth would also receive a Best Actor nod at the 2000 Academy Awards -- becoming the oldest person to be nominated for the award. Though stricken with terminal bone cancer, Farnsworth continued to make public appearances -- at film festivals, award ceremonies, and even the National Cowboy Symposium -- until the debilitating disease caused him to take his own life at his New Mexico home in October 2000. The actor's namesake, Richard "Diamond" Farnsworth, continued his father's legacy by becoming a Hollywood stunt man.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
96% The Straight Story
  • Alvin Straight
1999
50% Rooster Cogburn
  • Rooster's deputy
1999
67% Pocket Money
  • Man
1999
88% Lassie
  • Len Collins
1994
33% The Getaway
  • Slim
1994
No Score Yet The Fire Next Time
  • Frank Morgan
1993
No Score Yet Highway to Hell
  • Sam
1991
89% Misery
  • Sheriff Buster
1990
68% The Two Jakes
  • Earl Rawley
1990
24% Havana
  • Professor
1990
No Score Yet Snake Treaty
  • Actor
1989
No Score Yet Witchery
  • Actor
1988
No Score Yet Buckaroo Bard
  • Actor
1988
No Score Yet Space Rage
  • The Colonel
1986
No Score Yet Sylvester
  • Foster
1985
39% Into the Night
  • Jack Caper
1985
No Score Yet Anne of Green Gables
  • Matthew Cuthbert
1985
No Score Yet Falling for the Stars
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet Chase
  • Judge Grant Pettit
1985
15% Rhinestone
  • Noah
1984
82% The Natural
  • Red Blow
1984
No Score Yet Wild Horses
  • Reese
1984
No Score Yet Independence Day
  • Evan
1983
100% The Grey Fox
  • Bill Miner
1982
No Score Yet Waltz Across Texas
  • Producer
  • Frank Walker
1982
No Score Yet The Legend of the Lone Ranger
  • Wild Bill Hickok
1981
No Score Yet Ruckus
  • Sheriff Jethro Pough
1980
No Score Yet Resurrection
  • Esco
1980
No Score Yet Tom Horn
  • John C. Coble
1980
86% Comes a Horseman
  • Dodger
1978
80% Another Man, Another Chance
  • Actor
1977
20% The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox
  • Stage Coach Driver
1976
No Score Yet Strange New World
  • Actor
1975
No Score Yet The Soul of Nigger Charley
  • Walker
1973
71% The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
  • Outlaw
1972
75% The Cowboys
  • Henry Williams
1972
86% Ulzana's Raid
  • Trooper
1972
100% Monte Walsh
  • Cowboy
1970
No Score Yet Texas Across the River
  • Medicine Man
1966
No Score Yet Duel at Diablo
  • 1st Wagon Driver
1966
No Score Yet The River Pirate
  • Percy
1928

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
1992-2014
  • Guest
  • 2000
No Score Yet Little House on the Prairie
1974-1984
  • Wall
  • 1977

Quotes from Richard Farnsworth's Characters