ichard Hart (14 Apr 1915 - 2 Jan 1951)
Born in Providence, Rhode Island
as Richard Comstock Hart on April 14. 1915. Hart
was the son and grandson of Henry Clay Hart and Richard Borden Comstock,
leading Rhode Island lawyers. An
all-American soccer player which graduated from
Brown and worked briefly for
the Gorham Silver
company. He married his teenage sweetheart in
1938, and had one son Christopher. He
took an extension course in journalism
but got bitten by acting and with success. That led to studying acting in
New York City, some off-Broadway roles and divorce from his wife, who
remained in Providence with their son. Hart's big break came when, as
resident juvenile in a summer theater at the Brattle Playhouse in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, he played John the witch boy, the lead role in a new play
trying out there, "Dark of the Moon" "a Legend with Music" by Howard
Richardson and William Berney. The Brothers Shubert took it to Broadway
(1945), keeping little of the original company except Hart, who won a
Theatre World Award for his debut. A Broadway run of 318 performances then
led to a national tour and a contract with Metro Goldwyn Mayer. In 1945 he
married an actress Louise Valery he had met in Dark of the Moon
(she played the Fair Witch), had two
He showed great promise in his second movie Green Dolphin Street (1947) which involves two sisters in love with one man. When she is mistaken for her sister Marguerite (Donna Reed), Marianne Patourel (Lana Turner) is shipped off to the Antipodes, there to marry Marguerite's fugitive fiancee, British navy deserter William Ozanne played by Hart.
Next he played in B.F.'s Daughter
(1948 aka Polly Fulton).
Barbara Stanwyck plays Polly Fulton, rebellious daughter of a wealthy
industrialist (Charles Coburn). Polly marries a conservative economist
professor Robert S. 'Bob' Tasmin III (Richard
Hart), but she chafes at his values and leaves him for socialist professor
Van Heflin. In England, where the letters "B. F." comprise a euphemism for
"bloody fool", the film was retitled .
He then voluntarily left MGM to go back to the stage. Back on Broadway he appeared in a flop, Leaf and Bough (1949) then took over for Sam Wanamaker in Goodbye, My Fancy (1949) and had a hit as the original Uncle Desmonde in The Happy Time (1950-51) opposite Claude Dauphin and the young Eva Gabor.
Between 1949 and 1950 he made several appearences on television's "The Ford Theatre Hour" , "Studio One", "The Philco Television Playhouse","NBC Presents"; "The Silver Theater" and "Masterpiece Playhouse" (playing such roles as Eilert Lovborg in Hedda Gabler and Marc Antony in Julius Caesar).
Richard Hart, big and strapping and sporting an incongruous Errol Flynn moustache, was the star of "The Adventures of Ellery Queen" also known as 'a Kaiser-Frazer Adventure in Mystery'. It was the first tv-series to try and bring to live Ellery Queen and it was aired live and was well done for a Dumont net program. Florenz Ames played his father, Inspector Richard Queen. The show appeared on the Dumont Network beginning in 1950 and each episode took 25 minutes. After only four months, less than a third of the way through the season, January 2nd 1951, Hart died of a heart attack during a rehearsal.
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