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Richard Basehart 1914-1984
 


Country : Zanesville, OH
Profession : Actor
Date of birth : 1914-08-31
Date of death : 1984-09-17
Cause of Death : Stroke

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John Richard Basehart (August 31, 1914 - September 17, 1984) was an American actor. He starred in the 1960s television science fiction drama Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, in the role of Admiral Harriman Nelson.

One of his most notable film roles was the acrobat known as "the Fool" in the acclaimed Italian film La strada directed by Federico Fellini. He also appeared as the killer in the film noir classic He Walked by Night (1948), as Ishmael in Moby Dick (1956), and in the drama Decision Before Dawn (1951). He was once married to Italian Academy Award-nominated actress Valentina Cortese, with whom he had one son before their divorce in 1960. Cortese and Basehart also costarred in Robert Wise's The House on Telegraph Hill (1951).

Basehart was also noted for his deep, distinctive voice and was prolific as a narrator of many television and movie projects ranging from features to documentaries. In 1980, Basehart narrated the mini-series written by Peter Arnett called Vietnam: The Ten Thousand Day War that covered Vietnam and its battles from the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945 to the final American embassy evacuation on April 30, 1975. He appeared in the pilot episode of the television series Knight Rider as billionaire Wilton Knight. He is the narrator at the beginning of the show's credits. He also appeared in an episode of The Twilight Zone, Hawaii Five-0, and as Hannibal Applewood, an abusive school teacher in Little House on the Prairie in 1976. He also appeared in the 1972 episode Columbo: Dagger of the Mind in which he and Honor Blackman played a husband-and-wife theatrical team who were loose parodies of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. In the feature realm, he played a supporting role as a doctor in "Rage", a 1972 theatrical feature starring and directed by George C. Scott.

Basehart had also done a few movies made for TV including Sole Survivor (1970 film) and "The Birdmen" 1971. Both were based on true stories during World War II.

He died at age 70 following a series of strokes. One month before his death, Basehart was an announcer for the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Legacy in popular culture

Basehart had a notable fan in the character of Gypsy from the cult cable television program Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Basehart is mentioned in the song, "The Radio is Broken". This appears on the 1983 Frank Zappa album, The Man from Utopia.

TELEVISION
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Admiral Harriman Nelson (1964-68)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Masada (5-Apr-1981) Narrator
Being There (19-Dec-1979)
The Island of Dr. Moreau (13-Jul-1977)
Flood! (24-Nov-1976)
21 Hours at Munich (7-Nov-1976)
Rage (22-Nov-1972)
Chato's Land (7-Jun-1972)
The Birdmen (18-Sep-1971)
City Beneath the Sea (25-Jan-1971)
The Andersonville Trial (17-May-1970)
Sole Survivor (9-Jan-1970)
The Satan Bug (26-Mar-1965)
Kings of the Sun (18-Dec-1963)
Portrait in Black (27-Jul-1960)
5 Branded Women (15-Mar-1960)
The Brothers Karamazov (20-Feb-1958)
Moby Dick (27-Jun-1956)
The Swindle (9-Sep-1955)
Canyon Crossroads (1955)
La Strada (6-Sep-1954)
Titanic (16-Apr-1953)
Decision Before Dawn (21-Dec-1951)
Fixed Bayonets! (20-Nov-1951)
The House on Telegraph Hill (13-May-1951)
Fourteen Hours (6-Mar-1951)
Tension (11-Jan-1950)
The Black Book (15-Oct-1949)
Roseanna McCoy (12-Oct-1949)
He Walked By Night (24-Nov-1948)
Cry Wolf (19-Aug-1947)

 

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