Richard Widmark giggles his last

His widow is one of Henry Fonda’s ex-wives.

Loved him - very sexy in a malevolent way.


Nominated for an Oscar for his truly iconic role in Kiss of Death (one of cinema’s great psychopaths), he was at his best in the noirs from the 40s & 50s: Pickup on South Street, Night and the City, No Way Out, Road House, Panic in the Streets. But even when he was strictly second-tier billing in Big Star Extravaganzas (How the West Was Won, Judgment at Nuremberg, Murder on the Orient Express), he always acquitted himself subtlely when others around him would chew the scenery. A fine, often underrated, and extremely likable actor.


You fool! They want you to believe he’s dead, but he’s really in a coma so they can harvest his organs!

Love “Pickup on South St.” My favorite noir film bar none.

My favorite Widmark movie was *“The Long Ships.” It’s an interesting contrast between Widmark and his nemesis Sidney Poitier. Widmark obviously knows this movie is just a cartoon and seems to be having a load of fun playing the rakish Viking. Poitier, on the other hand, acts as though he were playing Hamlet.

*For people who saw this movie as a child, there are only two scenes that anyone ever remembers: a) They are in search of a giant golden bell named “The Mother of Voices,” and b) “riding the steel mare,” essentially a giant sword turned into a sliding board. Enemies of the caliph (or whatever Poitier is supposed to be) are given that as a choice of execution, as are regular citizens, to show their loyalty.

Dang. According to IMDB, Kiss of Death was his first film. That’s the work of a seasoned actor, IMHO.

I think my favorite is The Way West. His character contrasted nicely with Kirk Douglas – calm and thoughtful.

Did he ever play anyone as crazy as Udo again?

The obit mentions that he was a major radio actor before that- I’ve enjoyed him in a bunch of Suspense shows, but he did a lot of straight dramas, too.

Capt. Finlander, in The Bedford Incident (1965), is just as f’d up in a totally different way. Imagine Udo with an Annapolis education, crossed with John Birch Society paranoia and the gold-braided cerebral sadism of Col. Jessup from A Few Good Men. This was Widmark at his most compelling - you could almost feel yourself thinking and feeling as the character did, even as it turned your guts.

The fact that Finlander has kindness and forgiveness in him, but it’s reserved exclusively for Kloepfel, the sonarman played by Wally Cox - that makes him even colder and scarier, a man who can be this evil while being completely under control.

He’s one of the few seniors I ever thought was sexy. It was in his next to last onscreen role in Cold Sassy Tree; he played Rucker, a ca. 1905 small town Georgia merchant who stuns his family (including grandson Doogie Howser) by marrying Rose (Faye Dunaway), a “Yankee woman” half his age, three weeks after his wife’s death. It was a great role for an older actor and you totally understood Rose/Dunaway’s growing attraction to him (it begins as a marriage of convenience but becomes a love match).
I also liked him a lot as the sleazy yet oddly professional railroad builder in How the West Was Won, a small role but one that he did a great job with. And of course his giggly character, which I first “experienced” on of all things a Happy Days episode when I didn’t realize Ron Howard was doing a (bad) imitation of him, but then saw the original and was appropriately freaked out by it.

Anyway, great actor. Even though he’s been retired for many years it’s sad to see him go.

I was surprised by this line in his imdb bio:

“At 5’ 10” he was one of the shorter leading men of his era."

I thought there were several who were shorter than that.

Loved him. I especially admired his performance in Judgment at Nuremberg. It’s not everyone who can hold his own against Spencer Tracy, or for that matter against Maximillian Schell, but Widmark was amazing playing the prosecutor in the case who couldn’t hide his horror of what he saw after liberating a concentration camp. He was a seething cauldron of anger who managed to stay low-key.

Also, I hear the man grew one helluva fine grapefruit.

This is almost odd. He and Susan Blanchard (Fonda’s ex) married in 1999 when Widmark was a wealthy old star in his 80s and she was… in her 70s. I didn’t even know it was legal for wealthy old entertainers to marry women who weren’t at least 30 years their junior.

Sounds like a class act as a human being. Fine actor as well.

Wow. I was recently on something of a Widmark kick, and saw Night and the City on the big screen a few weeks ago. Revelatory. Truly one of the most important icons of Noir.

Another great scene in that was when his character came face-to-face with Marlene Dietrich’s character. For those who haven’t seen the film, Marlene Dietrich played the widow of a high ranking SS officer hanged for war crimes; Widmark had been his prosecutor. Their meeting is one of very respectful mutual contempt for one another (she views him as the man who killed her husband and reduced her to poverty, he views her as the gracious and sophisticated wife of a man who needed killing).

Bummer. I always liked his work. I have to admit, though, that I thought he was already dead.

One of the last of the old guard. RIP

I was about to say he will be missed, but the truth is he, along with all the other movie greats, will always be with us, up there on the silver screen, immortalized in celluloid.

One of the true giants. RIP Mr Widmark.

As a kid, I remember watching him as the FBI agent in Rollercoaster (1977).

Broken Lance was one of his favourite movies. A professional.

“Houston on fire. Will history blame me, or the bees?”

Yeah, I was going to mention the same screening. It was my first time seeing the movie (bad film geek! bad!) and it freakin’ blew me away.