Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One of My Favorites Has Passed On

The great Richard Widmark has passed away at age 93.

I've particularly come to appreciate Mr. Widmark as I've seen a number of his movies over the past year and a half or so. My favorites have included PANIC IN THE STREETS, YELLOW SKY, THE LAST WAGON, and PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET. In these films Widmark was equally at home playing a sardonic anti-hero (PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET), an elegant Western bad guy (YELLOW SKY), or a hero who works to save others (PANIC IN THE STREETS, THE LAST WAGON).

I recently saw a BIOGRAPHY show on Widmark which is available on the HELL AND HIGH WATER DVD. He was well educated and seemed to have a healthy attitude toward show business as a job; like James Cagney, he was as happy (or happier) riding a tractor on his farm as he was acting.

He had an enduring marriage of nearly 55 years to his college sweetheart, and for the last years of his life was married to Susan Blanchard, stepdaughter of Oscar Hammerstein II.

An interesting note is that for a number of years Widmark was the father-in-law of Dodgers pitching great Sandy Koufax.

I still have the pleasure of looking forward to enjoying many of Widmark's films for the first time. I'm very sad he's left us, but I'm grateful for the wonderful body of work he left behind.

A long life, well lived.

Update: The Washington Post.

Late Update: Welcome to readers of The Shelf, and thanks to J.C. for the link.

Another nice Widmark tribute can be found at Libertas.

The Daily Telegraph, which has a particularly good obituary page, has now posted a story.

Thursday Update: Mike Clark of USA Today remembers Widmark, including 5 of his best movies.

Susan King of the L.A. Times shares her thoughts on Widmark's best films. (Thus far I've not found this article in the print edition of today's paper, only online.)

Leonard Maltin currently has a Widmark tribute on the main page of his site. (Unfortunately his posts don't have individual permanent links...)

Thursday Evening Update: A nice tribute at Noir of the Week.


Blogger Irene said...

When I heard of his passing today I was remembering something not related to his movies. It was his appearance on I Love Lucy when they went to Hollywood. Lucy ends up in his house when she tries to steal a grapefruit from his yard. Funny stuff.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

That's an episode I'd like to see! :) Sounds fun.

Best wishes,

7:24 PM  
Blogger CarolMR said...

Great post. I find it interesting that the first blogs to mention the passing of the wonderful (and very liberal) Richard Widmark are conservative: yours and Libertas.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Royster said...

I remember the same Lucy episode, but that was 50 years ago! When he finally passed away, I was actually surprised he was only 93!

What a way to live, though. Live hard, and leave the people wanting more.


11:26 AM  

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