Richard Todd

Active - 1949 - 2015  |   Born - Jun 11, 1919   |   Died - Dec 3, 2009   |   Genres - Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Action, War

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Born in Ireland, Richard Todd spent a few of his childhood years in India, where his father served as an army physician. Later his family relocated to West Devon, England. Todd trained for a potential military career at Sandhurst before inaugurating his acting training at the Italia Conta school. He helped organize the Dundee Repertory Theatre, then spent six years' service in World War II, first as an officer in the Yorkshire Light Infantry, then as a paratrooper with the 6th Airbourne. Todd was among those who parachuted into France during the D-Day Invasion of 1944; eighteen years later, he played a cameo in Darryl F. Zanuck's D-Day recreation The Longest Day (1946). After the war, he rejoined the Dundee rep, then made his West End debut as The Scot, the ill-tempered, dying protagonist of John Patrick's play The Hasty Heart. In 1949, Todd began his film career when he was tapped to recreate his Hasty Heart characterization before the cameras; the performance would earn him an Academy Award nomination. Highlights of Todd's 1950s film output include his portrayal of Marlene Dietrich's castaway beau in Hitchcock's Stage Fright (1950), his swashbuckling heroics in Disney's The Story of Robin Hood (1952), The Sword and the Rose (1953) and Rob Roy, The Highland Rogue (1954), his sensitive performance as "Chaplain of the Presidents" Peter Marshall in A Man Called Peter, and his military derring-do in the 1956 British box-office smash The Dam Busters. Although he devoted more and more of his energies to the stage in the late 1950s-early 1960s, Todd served as executive producer on 1961's Why Bother to Knock and later portrayed a Timothy Leary clone in 1967's The Love-Ins. More recently the actor's achievements include stage actor and producer. Todd listed Equus as his favorite stage production, though it's likely that his eight-year run in the Mayfair Theatre presentation The Business of Murder was kinder to his bank account. In 1987, Richard Todd published Caught in the Act, the first volume of his memoirs. He died in 2009 at the age of 90.

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