Broadway luminary Richard Bennett made his first acting appearance in an 1891 Chicago production of The Limited Mail. Later that year, he made his New York bow appearing in the same play. With his classically chiseled features and athletic build, Bennett rapidly achieved "matinee idol" status, continuing to portray virile leading men into his fifties. He had a flair for foreign dialects, which he demonstrated to maximum effects in such plays as They Knew What They Wanted (1924) and such films as Arrowsmith (1931). While he regarded Hollywood as a "madhouse," Bennett occasionally functioned as technical advisor in silent-film adaptations of his stage plays, and was sporadically lured before the cameras in the talkie era, most memorably as the dying millionaire in If I Had a Million (1932) and the crusty Amberson paterfamilias in Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). Richard Bennett was the father of actresses Constance, Joan and Barbara Bennett, and the grandfather of talk show host Morton Downey Jr.