Richard Widmark - Rotten Tomatoes

Richard Widmark



The son of a traveling salesman, actor Richard Widmark had lived in six different Midwestern towns by the time he was a teenager. He entered Illinois' Lake Forest College with plans to earn a law degree, but gravitated instead to the college's theater department. He stayed on after graduation as a drama instructor, then headed to New York to find professional work. From 1938 through 1947, Widmark was one of the busiest and most successful actors in radio, appearing in a wide variety of roles from benign to menacing, and starring in the daytime soap opera "Front Page Farrell." He did so well in radio that he'd later quip, "I am the only actor who left a mansion and swimming pool to head to Hollywood."



Widmark's first stage appearance was in Long Island summer stock; in 1943, he starred in the Broadway production of Kiss and Tell, and was subsequently top billed in four other New York shows. When director Henry Hathaway was looking for Broadway-based actors to appear in his melodrama Kiss of Death (1947), Widmark won the role of giggling, psychopathic gangster Tommy Udo. And the moment his character pushed a wheelchair-bound old woman down a staircase, a movie star was born. (Widmark always found it amusing that he'd become an audience favorite by playing a homicidal creep, noting with only slightly less amusement that, after the release of the film, women would stop him on the street and smack his face, yelling, "Take that, you little squirt!") The actor signed a 20th Century Fox contract and moved to Hollywood on the proviso that he not be confined to villainous roles; the first of his many sympathetic, heroic movie parts was in 1949's Down to the Sea in Ships. After his Fox contract ended in 1954, Widmark freelanced in such films as The Cobweb (1955) and Saint Joan (1957), the latter representing one of the few times that the actor was uncomfortably miscast (as the childish Dauphin).



In 1957, Widmark formed his own company, Heath Productions; its first effort was Time Limit, directed by Widmark's old friend Karl Malden. Widmark spent most of the 1960s making films like The Alamo (1960) and Cheyenne Autumn (1964), so that he could afford to appear in movies that put forth a political or sociological message. These included Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) and The Bedford Incident (1965). A longtime television holdout, Widmark made his small-screen debut in Vanished (1970), the first two-part TV movie. He later starred in a 1972 series based upon his 1968 theatrical film Madigan. And, in 1989, he was successfully teamed with Faye Dunaway in the made-for-cable Cold Sassy Tree. Richard Widmark was married for 55 years to Jean Hazelwood, a former actress and occasional screenwriter who wrote the script for her husband's 1961 film The Secret Ways (1961). Their daughter Anne married '60s baseball star Sandy Koufax. Widmark died at age 93 in 2008, of health complications following a fractured vertebra.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Rule of the Gun
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Bear Island
  • Otto Gerran
2000
No Score Yet Wild Bill Hollywood Maverick
  • Actor
1995
No Score Yet Lincoln: The Pivotal Year, 1863
  • Ward Hill Lamon
1992
No Score Yet Lincoln: The Making of a President, 1860-1862
  • Ward Hill Lamon
1992
No Score Yet Lincoln: Now He Belongs to the Ages, 1865
  • Ward Hill Lamon
1992
No Score Yet Lincoln: I Want to Finish This Job, 1864
  • Ward Hill Lamon
1992
47% True Colors
  • Senator Stiles
1991
No Score Yet Gathering of Old Men
  • Actor
1991
No Score Yet Cold Sassy Tree
  • E. Rucker Blakeslee
1989
No Score Yet Once upon a Texas Train
  • Captain Owen Hayes
1988
No Score Yet Spencer Tracy Legacy
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet A Gathering of Old Men (Murder on the Bayou)
  • Sherif Mapes
1987
No Score Yet Texas Guns
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Blackout
  • Joe Steiner
1985
No Score Yet Hollywood Collection
  • Narrator
1985
67% Against All Odds
  • Ben Caxton
1984
No Score Yet Who Dares Wins (The Final Option)
  • Secretary of State
1982
38% Hanky Panky
  • Ransom
1982
0% National Lampoon's Movie Madness
  • Stan Nagurski
1982
No Score Yet A Whale for the Killing
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet All God's Children
  • Judge Parke Denison
1980
No Score Yet Mr. Horn
  • Al Sieber
1979
13% The Swarm
  • Gen. Slater
1978
79% Coma
  • Dr. Harris
1978
No Score Yet Mister Horn
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet The Domino Principle
  • Tagge
1977
57% Rollercoaster
  • Agent Hoyt
1977
88% Twilight's Last Gleaming
  • Gen. Martin MacKenzie
1977
No Score Yet Sell Out
  • Sam Lucas
1976
38% To The Devil A Daughter
  • John Verney
1976
No Score Yet The Last Day
  • Will Spence
1975
95% Murder on the Orient Express
  • Ratchett
1974
No Score Yet When the Legends Die
  • Red Dillon
1972
No Score Yet The Moonshine War
  • Dr. Taulbee
1970
No Score Yet Death of a Gunfighter
  • Frank Patch
1969
No Score Yet Gun Crazy
  • Actor
1969
100% Madigan
  • Det. Daniel Madigan
1968
No Score Yet The Way West
  • Lije Evans
1967
No Score Yet Alvarez Kelly
  • Col. Tom Rossiter
1966
86% The Bedford Incident
  • Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N.
1965
70% Cheyenne Autumn
  • Capt. Thomas Archer
1964
50% The Long Ships
  • Rolfe
1964
No Score Yet Flight from Ashiya
  • Col. Glenn Stevenson
1964
100% How the West Was Won
  • Mike King
1963
90% Judgment at Nuremberg
  • Col. Tad Lawson
1961
No Score Yet Two Rode Together
  • First Lt. Jim Gary
1961
50% The Alamo
  • Col. James Bowie
1960
No Score Yet Warlock
  • Johnny Gannon
1959
No Score Yet The Tunnel of Love
  • August Poole
1958
No Score Yet The Law and Jake Wade
  • Clint Hollister
1958
No Score Yet Time Limit
  • Producer
  • Col. William Edwards
1957
30% Saint Joan
  • Charles the Dauphin
1957
No Score Yet The Last Wagon
  • Comanche Tod
1956
No Score Yet Run for the Sun
  • Mike
1956
No Score Yet Backlash
  • Jim Slater
1956
No Score Yet A Prize of Gold
  • Sgt. Joe Lawrence
1955
80% The Cobweb
  • Dr. Stewart McIver
1955
80% Broken Lance
  • Ben Devereaux
1954
No Score Yet Garden of Evil
  • Fiske
1954
No Score Yet Hell and High Water
  • Capt. Adam Jones
1954
No Score Yet Take the High Ground
  • Sgt. Thorne Ryan
1953
90% Pickup on South Street
  • Skip McCoy
1953
No Score Yet Destination Gobi
  • CPO Samuel McHale
1953
No Score Yet O. Henry's Full House
  • Johnny Kernan
1952
100% Don't Bother to Knock
  • Jed Towers
1952
No Score Yet Red Skies of Montana
  • Cliff Mason
1952
No Score Yet The Frogmen
  • Lt. Cmdr. John Lawrence
1951
83% No Way Out
  • Ray Biddle
1950
95% Panic in the Streets
  • Lt. Cmd. Clinton 'Clint' Reed M.D.
1950
79% Night and the City
  • Harry Fabian
1950
83% Halls of Montezuma
  • Lt. Anderson
1950
No Score Yet Slattery's Hurricane
  • Lt. Willard Francis Slattery
1949
No Score Yet Down to the Sea in Ships
  • Dan Lunceford
1949
100% Road House
  • Jefty Robbins
1948
No Score Yet The Street with No Name
  • Alec Stiles
1948
No Score Yet Yellow Sky
  • Dude
1948
86% Kiss of Death
  • Tommy Udo
1947

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet NOVA
1974
  • Narrator

Quotes from Richard Widmark's Characters