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Richard Harrison Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (11)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (2)

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Birth NameRichard Harrison Jr

Mini Bio (1)

Muscular, hairy-chested actor Richard Harrison was one of a slew of handsome young American pectoral hunks of the late 50s whose career in Hollywood amounted to little more than brawny bits until being lured to Italy and churning out the sword-and-sandal pictures that became an early 60s craze. Harrison would end up making over 100 films due to this lucky trek abroad.

Born on May 26, 1936 in Salt Lake City, he relocated to sunny Southern California in his late teens where his blond, tanned, chiseled good looks (he was sometimes mistaken for handsome actor Guy Madison) landed him modeling work both on runways and in beefcake magazines. It didn't take long for him to be noticed by Hollywood casting agents. At first cast in small he-man roles, usually as a virile guy in uniform, he can be obscurely seen in Jeanne Eagels (1957), his film debut starring Kim Novak, Kronos (1957) with Jeff Morrow, Too Much, Too Soon (1958) starring Dorothy Malone, South Pacific (1958), in which he can be glimpsed as a co-pilot, and Battle Flame (1959) with Scott Brady and a young Robert Blake. While filming another minor role in Master of the World (1961) he met producer James H. Nicholson's daughter, Loretta, and married her within six months. The couple produced three sons.

Frustrated at not being able to secure meatier roles in Hollywood, Richard jumped at the chance when offered the lead role in The Invincible Gladiator (1961) [The Invincible Gladiator] which was filming in Europe. He wound up settling in Italy for the next two decades. His first role, of course, immediately typed him as another Steve Reeves type and, to avoid being penned in too much as a mythological muscle man, he sought roles in routine spaghetti westerns and spy intrigue. Once Italy closed down film production after the Herculean craze had died down, he, like others, found himself unemployed. He did manage to scrape up work in Hong Kong, but a large portion of them were bottom-of-the-barrel Ninja movies.

Remarried in 1978, Harrison had already begun acting less and less while delving into producing and directing. He has retired fully now except perhaps for an occasional script writing assignment.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Maria Francesca Pomentale (1978 - present) ( 1 child)
Loretta Nicholson (24 March 1961 - ?) ( divorced) ( 3 children)

Trivia (11)

Son and namesake of veteran B-movie actor Richard Harrison.
Harrison was another in a long line of American hunks with super physiques who 'muscled' in on Steve Reeves' territory by traveling to Italy in the early 60s when he couldn't kickstart an American film career. Appearing in scores of sword-and-sandal spectaclaes and 'spaghetti' westerns, Harrison, unlike the others, was able to keep the momentum going later on in Hong Kong-produced kung fu movies.
Harrison was the one who suggested Clint Eastwood to Sergio Leone when the famed director was looking for a lead in "A Fistful of Dollars" in 1964. According to an interview with Charles Marquis Warren in 1981, Leone came to the set of Rawhide intending to recruit Eric Fleming for the lead in the upcoming "A Fistful of Dollars." Due to Fleming's off putting personality, Leone looked elsewhere. Warren suggested Eastwood as an alternative.
In his salad days he joined the Athletic Model Guild and became a popular poser for such physique magazines as "Body Beautiful," "Tomorrow's Man," "Physique Pictorial" and "Man Alive."
Had three sons with first wife, Loretta. One son, Sebastian Harrison, appeared in several films but quit acting and got into the computer business; another lives in San Luis Obispo; a third son is deceased. He also has a daughter by his second marriage.
In the mid-eighties, he worked in Hong Kong with director Godfrey Ho and producer Joseph Lai, making several "ninja" b-actioners. However, without his knowledge, the film-makers edited Harrison's scenes into several more movies, which were released with him as the star. Harrison found himself the unwitting and unwilling star of more than a dozen of z-grade actioners, which strongly tarnished his reputation.
Father of Richard Harrison,
Father of Robert Harrison
Father of Sebastian Harrison
Husband of Maria Francesca
Retired from the movie business. Lives in California.

Personal Quotes (1)

In my opinion, it is a death wish for an actor to be in too many B or should I say C movies. Maybe my greatest contribution to cinema was not doing Fistful of Dollars, and recommending Clint for the part.

See also

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