Episode 25: Richard Widmark

Unlike most actors I’ve featured on HOTR, Richard Widmark did not turn to radio as a means of promoting his film career. He started on radio, working as supporting player, then lead in daytime serials and mystery programs, from the late 1930s to the mid-40s. His first radio appearance was in 1938’s Aunt Jenny’s Real Life Stories, but he went on to appear regularly on The Shadow, Columbia Radio Workshop, and several mystery series. Even in early radio, he was often a villain, or unstable character, though he could play comedy, too. Widmark had the lead in the soap, Front Page Farrell, until it switched networks.

In 1946, Widmark made his Broadway debut, and that success propelled him to Hollywood where he made his first film, Kiss of Death. It’s still among his most memorable, and chilling performances, and got Widmark an Oscar nomination. He continued working in film, as a leading man in noir and Westerns, making occasional return visits to radio in recreations of his films, and as a guest on variety shows. Widmark died in 2008.

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