Richard Erdman Bio

Richard “Dick” Erdman (June 1, 1925 – March 16, 2019) was an American actor and occasional director. He appeared in more than 160 films, television and theater productions between 1944 and 2017, mostly in supporting roles.

Richard Erdman Early life

Erdman was born John Richard Erdmann in Enid in northern Oklahoma. His mother was Allie J. Erdman. His parents divorced during his childhood. Erdman, his sibling and his mother moved to Colorado Springs when he was a teenager. He graduated from Palmer High School, where he would perform on stage. During his youth, he worked as a paperboy for the Colorado Springs Evening Telegraph. A stage director named Newton Winburne encouraged him to try his luck in Hollywood.

Richard Erdman Carrer

Erdman started his career at Warner Bros. where he signed a studio contract. Two of his first roles were in the films Mr. Skeffington, starring Bette Davis and Claude Rains and Janie, starring Joyce Reynolds. After a few smaller roles he achieved success as a character actor in supporting roles. In a career that has spanned seven decades, his best-known roles are that of the barracks chief Hoffy in Stalag 17, and the garrulous, tedious barfly McNulty in the Twilight Zone episode “A Kind of a Stopwatch” (“…you think about that now!”). He also appeared in The Men (1950) with Marlon Brando and the film noir Cry Danger (1951) with Dick Powell and Rhonda Fleming. In Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) he played Colonel Edward F. French, the officer who responded to the failure to transmit the warning to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Richard Erdman as Director

He directed the 1971 TV film Mooch Goes to Hollywood. From 2009 to 2015, Erdman had a recurring role as the old student Leonard Rodriguez on Community.

Richard Erdman Personal life

Erdman married actress Leza Holland in 1948, but they divorced two years later. He was married to his second wife, Sharon Randall, from 1953 until her death in 2016. They had one daughter, Erica, who was born in 1954 and died on February 18, 2010, of an accidental overdose of prescription medicine. Erica was a poet and illustrator (The Ellyn Maybe Coloring Book) and the author of one full-length collection of poems (The Apocalyptic Kid).

Erdman died on March 16, 2019, aged 93, in Los Angeles, California.

Richard Erdman Selected filmography

Richard Erdman Film appearances

  • Mr. Skeffington (1944) as Western Union Boy (uncredited)
  • Janie (1944) as Scooper Nolan
  • Musical Movieland (1944) as Sailor with Tour (uncredited)
  • The Very Thought of You (1944) as Soda Jerk
  • Hollywood Canteen (1944)
  • Objective, Burma (1945) as Pvt. Nebraska Hooper
  • The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945) as Joe Smith (scenes deleted)
  • Star in the Night (1945) as Cowboy
  • Danger Signal (1945) as Bunkie Taylor
  • Too Young to Know (1945) as Tommy
  • Janie Gets Married (1946) as Lt. ‘Scooper’ Nolan
  • Night and Day (1946) as Music Store Customer (uncredited)
  • Shadow of a Woman (1946) as Joe
  • So You Want to Play the Horses (1946) as Eddie (uncredited)
  • Deception (1946) as Jerry Spencer (uncredited)
  • Nobody Lives Forever (1946) as Bellboy, The Marwood Arms
  • That Way with Women (1947) as Eddie
  • Wild Harvest (1947) as Mark Lewis
  • The Time of Your Life (1948) as Willie (the pinball machine maniac)
  • Easy Living (1949) as Buddy Morgan
  • Swiss Tour (1950) as Eddy
  • The Men (1950) as Leo
  • The Admiral Was a Lady (1950) as Oliver ‘Ollie’ Bonelli
  • Cry Danger (1951) as Delong
  • You’re in the Navy Now (1951) as Ens. Chuck Dorrance
  • The Stooge (1951) as Ben Bailey
  • The Wild Blue Yonder (1951) as Cpl. Frenchy
  • Aladdin and His Lamp (1952) as Mirza
  • The San Francisco Story (1952) as Shorty
  • Jumping Jacks (1952) as Pvt. Dogface Dolan
  • The Happy Time (1952) as Alfred Grattin
  • The Blue Gardenia (1953) as Al
  • Stalag 17 (1953) as Sgt. ‘Hoffy’ Hoffman
  • Mission Over Korea (1953) as Pvt. Swenson
  • The Steel Lady (1953) as Jim Evans
  • Francis in the Navy (1955) as Murph
  • Bengazi (1955) as Selby
  • Anything Goes (1956) as Ed Brent
  • The Power and the Prize (1956) as Lester Everett
  • The Rawhide Trail (1958) as Rupe Pardee
  • Saddle the Wind (1958) as Dallas Hanson
  • Face of Fire (1959) as Al Williams
  • Marines, Let’s Go (1961) as MP (uncredited)
  • The Brass Bottle (1964) as Seymour Jenks
  • Namu, the Killer Whale (1966) as Deke
  • Rascal (1969) as Walt Dabbett
  • Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) as Colonel Edward F. French
  • The Brothers O’Toole (1973) as Judge Quincey P. Trumbell
  • Mr. Majestyk (1974) as Dick Richard (uncredited)
  • Heidi’s Song (1982) as Herr Sessman (voice)
  • Trancers (1984) as Drunken Wise Man
  • Tomboy (1985) as Chester
  • Stewardess School (1986) as Attorney
  • Beverly Hills Car Park (1987) as Waiter
  • The Pagemaster (1994) as Pirate (voice)
  • The Learning Curve (1999) as Ralph
  • Empire State Building Murders (2008) as Eddie Walker
  • The Bag (2010) as John Harper

Television appearances Richard Erdman

  • 1953: The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (3 episodes) as Duffy Edwards / Pete / Recruiting Sgt.
  • 1953–1955: Where’s Raymond? (32 episodes) as Pete Morrisey
  • 1958–1966: Perry Mason (6 episodes) as Jud Bennett / Ben Lucas / Harry Niles / Charles (Monty) Montrose / Jim West / Arthur Binney
  • 1958: Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1 episode) as Charlie Brown
  • 1959: Disneyland (2 episodes) as Sergeant Jasper
  • 1960–1961: The Tab Hunter Show (32 episodes) as Richard Fairfield III
  • 1962–1963: Saints and Sinners (18 episodes) as Klugie
  • 1963: The Twilight Zone (1 episode: A Kind of a Stopwatch) as McNulty
  • 1967: Gomer Pyle USMC as Sergeant Gilroy
  • 1968: Hogan’s Heroes (1 episode) as Walter Hobson
  • 1969: I Dream of Jeannie (1 episode) as Store Manager
  • 1975–1976: The Six Million Dollar Man (2 episodes) as Vernon / Slayton
  • 1977: The Bionic Woman (1 episode) as Terrence Quinn
  • 1978–1982: Lou Grant (4 episodes) as Hal Hennecker / Gary Banks / Mal Cavanaugh
  • 1979: The Amazing Spider-Man (2 episodes) as Mr. Zeider
  • 1982: Quincy, M.E. (1 episode) as Miles’ Attorney
  • 1983: The Dukes (20 episodes) (voice)
  • 1984–1989: Murder, She Wrote (2 episodes) as Jonathan / Eggman
  • 1986: Cheers (1 episode) as Duncan Fitzgerald
  • 1987: DuckTales (2 episodes) as Mayor Rufus B. Pinfeathers / King Arty (voice)
  • 1991–1993: The Pirates of Dark Water (9 episodes) (voice)
  • 1997: Beverly Hills, 90210 (1 episode) as Mayor Rufus B. Pinfeathers / King Arty
  • 2009–2015: Community (53 episodes) as Leonard
  • 2015: Weird Loners (1 episode) as Carl’s Grandfather
  • 2017: Dr. Ken (1 episode) as Richard Erdman (final appearance)

Richard Erdman as a director

  • The Dick Van Dyke Show (1966, 2 episodes)
  • Teenage Tease (1971, feature film)
  • Mooch Goes to Hollywood (1971, television film)
  • The Brothers O’Toole (1973, feature film)
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