Dr. Richard Kimble
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Biography for
Dr. Richard Kimble (Character)
from The Fugitive (1993)

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RICHARD DAVID KIMBLE, M.D. (David Janssen, Harrison Ford, Tim Daly) is the name of three famous fugitives. Each man lost his wife when a one-armed man invaded their home. The three cases, however, differed markedly in their implications.
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The Fugitive (1963-7, TV)

Richard David Kimble was a pediatrician from Stafford, Indiana. Born in 1928, Richard Kimble was a Reservist and Corpsman in the U.S. Army. His Reserve unit was called up for action in Korea. He was knocked out by a blast from an enemy grenade yet was saved by Joe Hallop, a member of his platton, who was disfigured and physically injured to his leg by the grenade blast. Many years later, Joe Hallop made an attempt on Kimble's life for revenge to the injuries he suffered.

In 1951 Kimble interned at a Hospital in Fairgreen, Indiana, where he met Helen Waverly, a Nurse working at the Hospital. They fell in love and were married in 1951, just before Richard Kimble was shipped out for Korea.

In March, 1960, Helen gave birth to a son however their son was stillborn and in an operation to save her life, Helen was rendered unable to have any further children. This caused great grief and depression for Helen.

Richard wished to adopt a child. Helen refused the idea of adoption, believing that she could not love an adopted child. This resulted in one (of many) arguements that Richard and Helen had. On the evening of September 19, 1961, Richard and Helen were having cocktails (martini's), he was about to take Helen out to a restaurant but let slip that it was a restaurant recommended by Mr. Ross Carter (who worked for Planned Parenthood). This infuriated Helen, in which they argued again about adoption. After having 6 (or more martini's) Helen was getting another drink when Richard knocked Helen's glass from her hand in whch she replied "We have plenty of glasses, Richard." Richard Kimble then stormed out of the house and drove off, driving until he drove to a lake....where he noticed a boy fishing in a lake..

Helen telephoned their friend Lloyd Chandler. He immediately went to Helen and Richard's home in an attempt to resolve the issue. He was proceeding to calm Helen down (Helen was crying, stating she didn't wand adoption, she did not want a divorce) when a sound came from the living room. This brought Helen into the living room where she met with a stocky man whose right arm was amputated. The burglar - who was eventually identified as Fred Johnson (or Gus Evans) - tried to escape but in the ensuing fight he knocked Helen to the floor then killed her with a massive blow to the head with a lamp. Chandler, on the stairwell and in fear, could not bring himself to intervene. Johnson / Evans noticed Chandler on the stairway and proceed to approach him however, he heard a car approaching. Johnson / Evans escaped throgh the front door while Chandler departed through the back door..

Johnson / Evans ran out and immediately ran into the street where Richard Kimble was approaching in his car. Richard almost ran down Johnson / Evans. Richard got enough of a look at Johnson / Evan's face to have the image seared in his memory. When Johnson fled, Richard drove into the driveway, ran into the house and found Helen's body. Later, Richard was interrogated by the Stafford Police Department (Lt. Philip Gerard's Detective Division). Gerard completed a total of of 83 interrogations of (men matching the description provided by Richard Kimble), yet none of these men were in the area at the time of the murder.Richard Kimble was convicted of Murder and sentenced to die. He was sent to prison to await his sentence while appeals were submitted. After all appeals were exhausted, Richard Kimble escorted by Lt. Gerard to State Prison for execution when in March, 1963 the train enroute to State Prison was derailed.

The crash freed Ricahrd Kimble from LT. Gerard and he now became a fugitive, wandering the country and working odd jobs in his search for Fred Johnson (Gus Evans). Over the many years he received help from individuals, whether they knew of his identity or not. These individuals included Chicago news columnist Michael Decker (who went to jail for aiding and abetting as a result), Journalist Barbara Webb (who assisted Dr. Kimble rescue Fred Johnson (Gus Evans) who was injured in an automobile accident.

Periodically, Dr. Kimble would contact his sister (Donna Taft). On a visit to Stafford, Dr. Kimble was forced to confront his younger brother (Ray Kimble), who was angry because of being rejected by his ex-fiancee, employers and the citizens of Stafford. Dr. Kimble managed to convince his brother of his innocence, restoring the faith in each other. The faith between Richard and his father (Dr. John Kimble), never faltered, from the day of the Helen's murder until the death of his father in 1966. Death was attributed to a heart attack.

For Helen's family a similar crisis occurred. In1965, Helen's Mother (Ruth Waverly) developed heart trouble due to grief-induced stress. The ensuing medical costs threatened the family with bankruptcy. Sensing a need to help, Dr. Kimble arrived in Fairgreen, where Helen's hidden bank account book was discovered. In so doing Richard had to overcome the fury of Ruth as she clung tenaciously to her daughter's memory but was finally convinced of her son-in-law's innocence....and the forgotten needs of her youngest daughter.

In his travels Kimble periodically crossed paths with Lt. Gerard, but circumstances sometimes forced Kimble to rescue Gerard from dangerous situations, such as in a 1965 incident when a group of hillbilly-types accused Gerard of molestation, and such acts of compassion helped forge a respect between puruser and pursued that aggravated the doubts about Kimble's guilt that gnawed at Gerard. The respect between the two men was also illustrated in 1966 in Pennsylvania when former Syndicate member Arthur Brame was rescued by Kimble, and upon learning of Gerard's pursuit lured Gerard to a warehouse where he attempted to shoot him with a sniper rifle; Kimble, however, learned of Brame's contract from his wife Sharon and rescued Gerard; the two briefly cooperated to evade Brame but in the confusion Kimble escaped and Gerard was forced to kill Arthur Brame.

In 1967 Fred Johnson was arrested in Los Angeles, and when Kimble learned of the arrest he got a ride to the city but was intercepted by Jean Carlisle, the daughter of his friend Ben Carlisle. A court stenographer, Jean and her family had been persecuted in Stafford because her father had been arrested for embezzlement, and only Richard and Helen Kimble showed any sympathy, helping Jean and her mother cope. When Fred Johnson was bailed out of jail, he returned to Stafford - the reason why was discovered by Richard and Jean in a bail bond receipt signed for by Leonard Taft, Kimble's brother-in-law.

"Taft," however, was in reality Lloyd Chandler using Taft's name as an alias, and Richard, with help from Lt. Gerard as he finally learned the truth about Helen Kimble's murder, confronted Johnson in a shuttered amusement park. In the ensuing showdown Johnson was killed, but Lloyd Chandler, doing what he knew should have been done years before, testified to witnessing Johnson murder Helen Kimble.

Exonorated, Kimble disappeared into the obscurity of a free man. He and Jean eventually married and had a family of their own as Richard returned to pediatrics. Kimble died in 1980 of a heart attack.

The Fugitive (1993)

In this version, Richard David Kimble, MD (University of Chicago School of Medicine, Class of 1972; interne in general surgery in the University of Chicago Affiliated Hospital System, 1972-3; resident in general surgery, 1973-7; fellow in cardiovascular surgery, 1977-9), practiced vascular surgery at Chicago Memorial Hospital. In the course of his practice, he saw, as either the primary surgeon or an emergency consultant, several patients who came to surgery bleeding heavily from seemingly minor wounds. Remarkably, the coagulation markers, especially the prothrombin and partial thromboplastin times, were prolonged beyond any rational estimate. Other markers of liver function (like serum bilirubin and alanine and aspartate transferases) came in just as drastically higher than normal.

After perhaps the third such case, Dr. Kimble made sure to biopsy the liver in each case. He also understood that each of those patients had a common element in his or her chart: the name of Dr. Alexander "Alec" Lentz of the Pathology service. Lentz at the time supervised the protocol of a new candidate drug, Devlin MacGregor Lot RDU-90, said to help revascularize a heart and so obviate coronary artery bypass surgery in cases of severe atherosclerosis.

Kimble began to notice two things. First, all those patients were taking part in the RDU-90 clinical trial. Second, the surgical pathology section was being slower than molasses in a Chicago winter about getting out reports on those biopsies. Kimble left message after message for Lentz, who never returned a simple phone call.

Then one night, Kimble, his wife Helen, and the other doctors attended a black-tie fund-raiser at the Four Seasons Hotel--actually a swimwear fashion show that played like a command performance. Before the affair began, Kimble's old classmate and the Chief of Pathology, Dr. Charles Nichols, asked to borrow his car. Richard and Helen took a taxi to the Four Seasons. There Chuck met Richard and handed him back his keys. Then Chuck introduced Richard to Alec. At last Richard could put a face to the name. But Alec was in no mood to talk shop, about liver biopsies or any other kind of case.

At that same fund-raiser, several of Richard's colleagues encouraged him to join them in a big junket Devlin MacGregor was planning: a deep-sea fishing trip to Cancn, Mexico. Richard, openly skeptical, asked what Devlin MacGregor wanted in return. They insisted the company would ask nothing.

Eventually, Richard started to drive Helen home. He wanted nothing more than to get out of that monkey suit and climb into bed with Helen. Besides having come from a wealthy family, Helen was the most strikingly attractive woman he'd ever met. But as they were making those plans, Richard got an urgent call on his car phone: yet another "bleeder." So he dropped Helen off at their palatial North Side home and drove into the hospital.

There he found what he had found so often before: a man bleeding profusely after developing such a simple problem: acute cholecystitis (inflammation of the gall bladder, the pouch that holds bile and squeezes it out into the gut to help you digest a fatty meal). He could at least stop this patient from bleeding to death, but heard yet again about the RDU-90 protocol. Yes, this patient was on it.

Then Richard drove home. And walked into a horror show.

He found a man in his house, with one good arm (his left) and one totally mechanical arm with a distinctive artificial elbow joint. But this man was superbly conditioned. Oddly enough, the man tried to kill him--but when he was about to lose the prosthetic arm, he bolted. And then Richard walked into his bedroom and found the site that destroyed everything for him: his wife, desperately trying to summon aid, after the intruder had cracked her skull with an ornamental metal ball. He desperately tried to resuscitate her and was still trying when EMS and police arrived.

Chicago Detectives Kelly and Rosetti suspected him in his wife's death. She came from a wealthy family, and the intruder, whom only he had seen, did not gain entry to the house by force. Police always "play the percentages," and by "the percentages," the police always suspect a surviving spouse whenever a married person died by an act of murder. The ensuing pre-trial discovery period availed nothing to change those suspicions. A jury convicted Richard. An unforgiving judge sentenced him to die by lethal injection.

That day the corrections staff put Richard and four other Death Row designees, named Carlson, Partida and Copeland, aboard a bus to the Illinois State Prison in Menard, Ill. That bus never made it. Carlson and Partida staged a mutiny and stabbed a guard with a ballpoint pen. The other guard shot Carlson to death and then struggled with Partida. But Partida got off a lucky shot that killed the bus driver. So that the bus ran off the road and rolled down a ravine--onto the track of the Illinois Central Railroad. Partida died when he rolled around and around inside the bus and bashed his head against a wall. The still-standing guard reluctantly threw the leg-iron keys to Richard so he could help his fallen partner. In the process, Richard managed to get his arms free but not his legs. He dropped the keys, and Copeland picked them up and unlocked himself.

Just then they heard the sound none of them wanted to hear: a train whistle. (Of course, modern railroad whistles are more horn than whistle, but the name, going back to the days of steam, has stuck.) The guard fled, as did Coleman. Richard boosted the fallen but still-living guard out of the bus, then barely got off the bus himself before a fully loaded freight train, with four locomotives to pull it, struck the bus and started to push it down the tracks. The two rear locomotives decoupled from the two in front and jumped the tracks. They came straight at Richard, who barely managed to duck under a trestle before the locos fetched up in the gully, and every car in the train piled up on top of them.

Somehow Richard climbed out of the gully, though not without injury: he suffered a penetrating wound that opened his right lower quadrant and at least one layer of muscle beneath. Copeland helped him out the rest of the way and unlocked his chains. The two then ran their separate ways.

Richard first ran into a nearby car-service station. There he took off his bright yellow prison jumpsuit and put on some clothes he found. Then he half limped to Harris Community Hospital. While there he locked himself into a treatment room and actually closed the layers of muscle and skin in his own right flank and even injected himself with tetanus antitoxin. He stole some food from a tray table in a patient's room and started to leave. Just then, the EMS people brought in the stricken guard. Richard barely got away before the guard could shout to all and sundry that the man dressed as a hospital doctor was an escaped prisoner. The last thing Richard said to the EMS men was, "Tell the attending he has a puncture in the epigastric region." Which was true--but he did not wait around even to give the EMS boys time to wonder how he would know that without a physical examination. He then got into the nearest ambulance, turned the keys, and sped off.

He got no further than a hydroelectric dam before the federal marshals caught up with him and bottled him up in a mountain tunnel. So he got out and slipped into a storm drain. The marshals chased him through the very active storm sewer. The lead marshal, Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard, first caught up with him there. But Gerard slipped and dropped his gun. Richard found it and pointed it at Gerard. He had time to say just one thing: "I didn't kill my wife!" In answer, Gerard said, "I don't care!" Richard lowered his weapon and walked on, following the flow of water. That flow ended at the top of the dam. Behind him, Gerard, who still had a backup gun, caught up with him and ordered him to put the gun down and kneel. Richard did give up the gun--but then took a swandive off the dam and into the turbulent water. If he ever explained to Gerard, weeks later after the two would meet again, how he managed to survive that jump, Gerard did not write that down.

Richard spent the next few days making his way back to Chicago. There, while Sam Gerard was tracking him, he set out to identify and track down the one-armed murderer of his wife. On one occasion he "bummed" two dollars from Chuck Nichols after the latter had finished getting his car washed. But mostly he took advantage of the one major weakness of hospital security: that if you dress the part of someone anyone would expect there, and act as if you know what you're doing, you can go anywhere, and find out anything, and no one will challenge you. (At least, that's how lax hospital security was in 1993. It probably still is, except for the major charity/teaching hospitals like Cook County Hospital in Chicago, or New York's Bellevue.) Richard did "penetrate" Cook County Hospital to search the records of its prosthetic laboratory for patients who had the kind of prosthetic he had seen the intruder wear. From those records he identified five prospects.

Two turned out to be dead already. The third, one Driscoll Clive, was in prison for armed robbery. Richard visited Clive at the Cook County Jail. No, Clive wasn't the one--and Richard barely got away, after running pell-mell downstairs after Gerard spotted him, and then blending into the St. Patrick's Day parade.

Having changed lodgings, Richard then went to the townhouse of the fourth candidate: Frederic Sykes. And there he scored the jackpot. Sykes had pictures of himself--which Richard recognized at once--and a spare prosthetic arm, of the type Richard had seen that night. But the pictures revealed something else: his associations. Sykes had gone on that Cancn junket with Alec Lentz and a few other colleagues. And Sykes' tax returns revealed the stunning truth: Devlin MacGregor Pharmaceuticals employed Sykes! As their Director of Executive Security.

Richard made sure to leave plenty of his fingerprints on the key pictures. Then he called Gerard at the Chicago federal building. "Remember what you told me in the tunnel?" he asked by way of self-identification. "Remember what you told me? You said you don't care." Gerard repeated: he didn't care, because he wasn't trying to solve a puzzle. "Well, I am," said Richard. "And I just found a big piece." With that he slapped the telephone handset on Sykes' desk (but did not hang it up) and left the townhouse.

Richard next called Chuck Nichols at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, after learning that Chuck would deliver the keynote speech to the convention of the International Association of Cardiologists that evening. Chuck told him Lentz had died in a traffic accident over the summer. Richard then asked for a favor: to call the diener at Chicago Memorial, so that he, Richard, could get the "blocks" (blocks of paraffin in which one embeds biopsy and other samples) and have them examined again.

Richard went to his old hospital, got the samples from "Bones," then sought out his best friend in Pathology, Dr. Kathy Wahlund. The sight of him overjoyed her. He showed her what he had, and she then prepared the fastest glass slides on record. (Note: this is a goof. No one could prepare slides that fast from paraffin blocks. See "Goofs" for more information.) Kat found out easily: the liver samples were all cold-normal. Furthermore, various internal markers convinced her they all came from the same liver. They then examined the reports--and Kat saw at once that someone had signed out half those reports on the day Lentz died! "Someone else must have been manipulating these reports," she said. "Someone with access."

And then everything fell into place. Only Chuck Nichols would have that access. And what was Chuck to speak about at the Hilton? Provasic--the new wonder drug from Devlin-MacGregor. Provasic--once known as Devlin MacGregor Lot RDU-90! And Chuck Nichols had also borrowed his car on the night of the murder--and probably had the keys duplicated and given the duplicate keys to Sykes! Of course--that's why the CPD never found any signs of forced entry.

Thoroughly angry, yet still cool, Richard made his way to the Chicago Hilton and Towers. On the way, Sykes caught up with him on the El. But when a transit cop tried to apprehend Richard, Sykes turned his back on Richard long enough to shot the cop dead. Richard ran for the emergency cord and pulled it. Thus he stopped the train. Then he fought a vicious hand-to-hand battle with Sykes, knocked him cold, took his gun and the one belonging to the dead cop, then handcuffed Sykes to a standee pole on the railcar.

He climbed out of the train and walked the rest of the way off the platform. He stopped only long enough to drop the two guns into a mailbox. Then he got to the hotel and made his way to the Grand Ballroom. And in the middle of Chuck's speech, Richard crashed the party. There, in front of the assembled black-tie diners, Richard accused Charles Nichols of falsifying his research, and killing Lentz to cover it up. Then he retired to the nearby Presidential Suite--where Chuck crashed a chair on top of him. The two men then fought the most vicious battle either man had ever fought. The fight took them along the rooftop of the Hilton and then down a service elevator to the laundry. There Richard managed to get the drop on Chuck before Chuck could kill Deputy Marshal Gerard--this after Gerard had come to the laundry to ask Richard to come quietly, and to tell him he, Gerard, knew Richard Kimble had murdered no one.

The Superior Court of the State of Illinois, in and for the County of Cook, vacated the murder conviction, this after the Cook County District Attorney's Office brought murder charges against Sykes. Richard also testified at a disciplinary hearing involving the cowardly guard who had abandoned his partner in the stricken Corrections bus on the night of the train wreck. But he derived his sweetest vindication by testifying in federal court against Charles Nichols, and against Devlin-MacGregor Pharmaceuticals. Provasic never made it to market. Furthermore, several Devlin-MacGregor executives went to federal prison for their involvement, not only in the murder of Helen Kimble but also in the murder-in-the-third-degree of the patients who had died in the RDU-90 clinical trial.

Richard returned to Chicago Memorial Hospital and easily won reinstatement of his admitting privileges as a vascular surgeon. Presumably he and Kathy Wahlund saw one another often, professionally at first (after she likely succeeded Charles Nichols as Chief of Pathology) and then, perhaps, other than professionally.

The Fugitive (2000-1, TV)

In this third and final version, again Richard D. Kimble is on the run for the murder of his wife, and a dogged police inspector is hot on his trail. But at least Detective Inspector Philip Gerard wants to bring him in alive to face trial. His in-laws, out for vengeance, want him dead, and have hired bounty hunters to make sure of that. This adventure ends with one of those bounty hunters, and Lt. Gerard, both dead, and Richard Kimble as the "last man standing."

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