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Richard Denning

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Richard Denning
Denning as Michael Shayne with Patricia Donahue as Lucy Hamilton
Louis Albert Heindrich Denninger Jr.

(1914-03-27)March 27, 1914
DiedOctober 11, 1998(1998-10-11) (aged 84)
Resting placeMakawao Veterans' Cemetery
EducationWoodbury Business College (MBA)
Years active1937–1980
(m. 1942; died 1985)
Patricia Leffingwell
(m. 1986; died 1998)

Richard Denning (March 27, 1914 – October 11, 1998)[1] was an American actor who starred in science fiction films of the 1950s, including Unknown Island (1948), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Target Earth (1954), Day the World Ended (1955), Creature with the Atom Brain (1955), and The Black Scorpion (1957). Denning also appeared in the film An Affair to Remember (1957) with Cary Grant and on radio with Lucille Ball in My Favorite Husband[2]: 244  (1948–1951), the forerunner of television's I Love Lucy.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • The 49th Man | Film 1953 - John Ireland, Richard Denning
  • Queit Please Murder (1942) Crime/Drama/Film-Noir - George Sanders, Gail Patrick & Richard Denning
  • Tallulah Bankhead, Richard Denning--Eyes of a Stranger, 1957 TV
  • Mr And Mrs North - Season 1 - Episode 1 - Weekend Murder | Richard Denning, Barbara Britton


Early years

Denning was born as Louis Albert Heindrich Denninger Jr., in Poughkeepsie, New York. When he was 18 months old, his family moved to Los Angeles. After attending Manual Arts High School, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Woodbury Business College in Los Angeles. Plans called for him to take over his father's garment manufacturing business, but he developed an interest in acting.[3] Denning enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II and served on submarines.[4]


With Pat Crowley in an episode of Michael Shayne (1961)

Denning was perhaps best known for his recurring starring roles in science fiction and horror films of the 1950s, and playing husband opposite Lucille Ball on the radio series that led to I Love Lucy in which he was replaced by Desi Arnaz as Lucy's husband.

Denning began acting in minor supporting and background roles through the 1930s and early 1940s until the start of World War II. According to Denning, his military service disrupted his acting career, and after his discharge it would be a year and a half before Paramount Pictures offered him more acting work. During that time, he and his family lived in a mobile home that he alternately parked at Malibu and Palm Springs.

Denning's unemployment ended when he was hired to star on the radio opposite Lucille Ball in My Favorite Husband. The CBS Radio sitcom ran for 124 episodes from July 23, 1948 through March 31, 1951 and would evolve into the groundbreaking television sitcom I Love Lucy. CBS wanted Denning to continue as the husband in the new sitcom but Lucille Ball insisted that her real life husband, Desi Arnaz, play the part.[5][6][7] The radio stint, however, led to a role on CBS television's series adaptation of Mr. and Mrs. North.[8]

On television, he starred as the title character in the 1950 syndicated adventure series Ding Howe and the Flying Tigers.[9] He was cast as Dr. Greg Graham in the 1959 series, The Flying Doctor.[9]: 353  He also starred as the title character in the detective series Michael Shayne (1960–1961)[9]: 685  and shared title billing with Barbara Britton in the detective series Mr. and Mrs. North (1952–1954).[9]: 698 

In 1964-1965, Denning played Steve Scott in the comedy series Karen.[9]: 555  In later life, he had a recurring role as the fictitious governor of Hawaii, Paul Jameson, in the CBS television crime drama series, Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980), starring Jack Lord.[9]: 440 

He appeared three times on the ABC religion anthology series Crossroads, as Dr. Ira Langston in "Chinese Checkers" (1955) and as the Reverend George Bolton in "The Bowery Bishop" and as the Reverend Lloyd E. Williams in "The Pure White Orchid" (both 1956).[10]

In other activity on radio, Denning played Uncle Jack in It's a Crime, Mr. Collins (1956-1957) on the Mutual Broadcasting System.[2] He also was the second actor to play Jerry North in the radio version of Mr. and Mrs. North.[2]: 232 

Denning later appeared in several 'B' crime drama films before starring in science fiction and horror films. In 1957, he began the first of a series of television appearances, usually as a supporting character, though he did star briefly in two television dramas, The Flying Doctor (1959), and Michael Shayne (1960–61).

In 1968, Denning completed his last film, a comedy titled I Sailed to Tahiti with an All Girl Crew. Semi-retired and living on the island of Maui with his wife, Denning was contacted by producer Leonard Freeman, who offered him the supporting role as the governor of Hawaii in the TV detective series, Hawaii Five-O. In order to persuade Denning to sign on in the recurring role, Freeman guaranteed Denning five-hour days and a four-day work week.[11]


Denning has a star at 6932 Hollywood Boulevard in the Television section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was dedicated on February 8, 1960.[12]

Personal life

Evelyn Ankers, Denning's wife, in 1945 Yank Army magazine pin-up

In 1942, Denning married 1940s horror film queen Evelyn Ankers[4] (co-star of The Wolf Man, Ghost of Frankenstein and Son of Dracula), who retired from films at the age of 32 after they were married. He and Ankers had a daughter, Diana Denning (later Dwyer).[13] After Ankers' death from cancer in 1985, he remarried to Patricia Leffingwell. Denning died of a heart attack at the age of 84 on October 11, 1998, while visiting relatives in Southern California.[14] Denning and Ankers are buried at Makawao Veterans' Cemetery in Makawao, Hawaii.[15]


Film and television
Year Title Role Notes
1937 Hold 'em Navy Midshipman Jepson
1937 Night Club Scandal Vera's Naval Fiancé (scenes deleted)
1937 Wells Fargo Minor Role Uncredited
1938 The Buccaneer Captain Reid
1938 The Big Broadcast of 1938 Officer, S.S. Gigantic Uncredited
1938 Her Jungle Love Pilot Uncredited
1938 College Swing Student Uncredited
1938 You and Me Salesman
1938 The Texans Cpl. Parker Uncredited
1938 Give Me a Sailor Sailor Uncredited
1938 Campus Confessions Buck Hogan
1938 King of Alcatraz Harry Vay
1938 Touchdown, Army Cadet Uncredited
1938 The Arkansas Traveler Bit Role Uncredited
1938 Illegal Traffic Silk Patterson
1938 Say It in French Elevator Passenger Uncredited
1939 Ambush Police Garage Mechanic
1939 Persons in Hiding Powder, Henchman
1939 King of Chinatown Protective Association Henchman
1939 I'm from Missouri Plane Pilot Uncredited
1939 Sudden Money Johnny Jordan
1939 Hotel Imperial Uncredited
1939 Union Pacific Reporter Uncredited
1939 Some Like It Hot Mr. Weems
1939 Undercover Doctor Frank Oliver
1939 The Gracie Allen Murder Case Fred
1939 Grand Jury Secrets Murph
1939 Million Dollar Legs Hunk Jordan
1939 The Star Maker Assistant Dance Director
1939 Television Spy Dick Randolph
1939 Disputed Passage Student Uncredited
1939 Our Neighbors – The Carters Pilot Uncredited
1939 Geronimo Lt. Larned Uncredited
1939 The Night of Nights Call Boy Uncredited
1940 Emergency Squad Dan Barton
1940 Parole Fixer Bruce Eaton
1940 The Farmer's Daughter Dennis Crane
1940 Seventeen Jack
1940 Those Were the Days! Briggs
1940 Queen of the Mob Charlie Webster
1940 Golden Gloves Bill Crane
1940 Northwest Mounted Police Const. Thornton
1940 Love Thy Neighbor Joe
1941 Adam Had Four Sons Jack Stoddard (older)
1941 West Point Widow Lt. Rhody Graves
1942 Beyond the Blue Horizon Jackra the Magnificent
1942 The Glass Key Taylor Henry
1942 Quiet Please, Murder Hal McByrne
1942 Ice-Capades Revue Jeff Stewart
1944 Golden Gloves
1946 Black Beauty Bill Dixon
1946 The Fabulous Suzanne Rex
1947 Seven Were Saved Captain Allen Danton
1948 Caged Fury Blaney Lewis
1948 Lady at Midnight Peter Wiggins
1948 Unknown Island John Fairbanks
1948 Disaster Bill Wyatt
1950 No Man of Her Own Hugh Harkness
1950 Harbor of Missing Men Jim 'Brooklyn' Gannon
1950 Double Deal Buzz Doyle
1951 The Bigelow Theatre TV series, episode: "The Hot Welcome"
1951 Flame of Stamboul Larry Wilson
1951 Insurance Investigator Tom Davison
1951 Secrets of Beauty Dr. John Waldron
1951 Week-End with Father Don Adams
1952 Okinawa Lt. Phillips
1952 Scarlet Angel Malcolm Bradley
1952 - 1953 Mr. and Mrs. North Jerry North TV series on CBS, 56 episodes total; later with NBC
1952 Cavalcade of America TV series episode: "The Man Who Took a Chance"
1952 Hangman's Knot Lee Kemper
1953 Target Hong Kong Mike Lassiter
1953 Ford Television Theatre Dr. James Baker TV series, episode: "The Doctor's Downfall"
1953 The 49th Man Chief Investigator Paul Reagan
1953 The Glass Web Dave Markson
1954 Jivaro Jerry Russell
1954 Ford Television Theatre George Beagle TV series, episode: "The Legal Beagles"
1954 Creature from the Black Lagoon Dr. Mark Williams
1954 Battle of Rogue River Stacey Wyatt
1954 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars TV series, episode: "Tapu"
1954 Mr. and Mrs. North Jerry North TV series on NBC, 56 episodes total (both networks)
1954 Target Earth Frank Brooks
1955 TV Reader's Digest Don Wilkerson TV series, episode: "I'll Pick More Daisies"
1955 Ford Television Theatre Tim Barker TV series, episode: "All That Glitters"
1955 Air Strike Cmdr. Stanley Blair
1955 The Magnificent Matador Mark Russell
1955 Creature with the Atom Brain Dr. Chet Walker
1955 The Gun That Won the West 'Dakota' Jack Gaines
1955 The Crooked Web Frank Daniel
1955 Day the World Ended Rick
1956 Cheyenne Capt. Quinlan TV series, episode: "Decision"
1956 Celebrity Playhouse William Broder TV series, episode: "Bachelor Husband"
1956 The Oklahoma Woman Steve Ward
1956 Girls in Prison Rev. Fulton
1956 Crossroads Dr. Ira Langston TV series, episode: "Chinese Checkers"
1956 Crossroads Rev. George Bolton TV series, episode: "The Bowery Bishop"
1956 Crossroads Reverend Lloyd E. Williams TV series, episode: "The Pure White Orchid"
1956 Assignment Redhead Major Gregory Keen
1956 Ford Television Theatre Barney Maddock TV series, episode: "Double Trouble
1956 Ford Television Theatre Davy Jones TV series, episode: "On the Beach"
1957 Naked Paradise Duke Bradley
1957 Ford Television Theatre Charlie Frye TV series, episode: "The Idea Man"
1957 The Buckskin Lady Dr. Bruce Merritt
1957 An Affair to Remember Kenneth Bradley
1957 The Black Scorpion Hank Scott
1957 General Electric Theater Dr. Mark Andrews TV series, episode: "Eyes of a Stranger"
1958 General Electric Theater Jim Kendall TV series, episode: "Letters from Cairo"
1958 The Lady Takes a Flyer Al Reynolds
1958 Studio One Jack Marshall TV series, episode: "The Laughing Willow"
1958 Desert Hell Sgt. Major Pierre Benet
1959 The Flying Doctor Dr. Greg Graham TV series, 39 episodes
1960 No Greater Love
1960–1961 Michael Shayne Michael Shayne TV series, 32 episodes
1963 Going My Way Larry TV series, episode: "Don't Forget to Say Goodbye"
1963 Twice-Told Tales Jonathan Maulle
1964–1965 Karen Steve Scott TV series, 27 episodes
1966 Alice Through the Looking Glass Alice's Father
1968 I Sailed to Tahiti With an All Girl Crew Commodore
1968 I Spy Delaney TV series, episode: "This Guy Smith"
1968–1980 Hawaii Five-O Governor Paul Jameson TV series, 69 episodes
1974 McCloud Edgar Hamilton TV series, episode: "A Cowboy in Paradise"
1980 The Asphalt Cowboy Charles Van Heuran (final film role)


  1. ^ Character Actors in Horror and Science Fiction Films
  2. ^ a b c Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 165–166. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4.
  3. ^ Aaker, Everett (2011). Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters: All Regular Cast Members in American Crime and Mystery Series, 1948-1959. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. pp. 181–184. ISBN 978-0-7864-6409-8.
  4. ^ a b Weaver, Tom (January 2018). "The Sci-Fi Stalwarts: Richard Denning". Classic Images (511): 26–28.
  5. ^ Andrews, Bart (1976). Lucy & Ricky & Fred & Ethel: The Story of "I Love Lucy". Dutton. p. 13. ISBN 0525149902. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  6. ^ Karol, Michael (2006). Sitcom Queens: Divas of the Small Screen. iUniverse, Inc. p. 16. ISBN 0-595-40251-8. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  7. ^ Thomas, Bob (September 4, 1968). "Richard Denning Tells About His Island Life". Ocala Star-Banner.
  8. ^ "Richard Denning". Variety. October 21, 1998. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 261. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  10. ^ "Richard Denning". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
  11. ^ Hefferman, Harold (July 20, 1970). "Denning High on Hawaii". The Pittsburgh Press.
  12. ^ "Richard Denning". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on May 7, 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  13. ^ "Evelyn Ankers Is Dead; 'Queen' of the B-Films". August 31, 1985 – via
  14. ^ "Richard Denning". Variety. October 21, 1998. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  15. ^ Resting Places

External links

This page was last edited on 13 November 2023, at 05:28
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