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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 3 November 1910Darlington, Durham, England, UK
Date of Death 13 April 1984Camden, London, England, UK  (heart attack)
Birth NameRichard Gibbon Hurndall

Mini Bio (1)

A gaunt, intense character actor of striking presence, Richard Gibbon Hurndall was educated at Scarborough College and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He acted professionally from 1930, initially in repertory theatre and later with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, his roles including Orlando in "As You Like It", Bassanio in "The Merchant of Venice" and Laertes in "Hamlet". Richard's powerful voice and precise diction were also perfectly suited to working in radio. Between 1949 and 1952, he was a member of the BBC radio drama repertory company. In October 1958, he took over as host of Radio Luxemburg's half-hour British version of Edward R. Murrow's "This I Believe". A year later, he was well cast as Sherlock Holmes in a BBC radio adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Sign of Four", transmitted over five weekly episodes.

From 1946, Richard made sporadic television appearances, but did not fully take to the medium until the mid 1960's. His incisive personality, combined with a natural ability to adopt diverse accents and dialects, led to him being cast as doctors, magistrates, aristocrats, and other authority figures of various ethnic backgrounds. By contrast, he was equally effective as a debonair underworld figure, Henry Mackleson, in Spindoe (1967). On the humorous side, he essayed a campy, effete antiques dealer in an episode of Steptoe and Son (1962) ("Any Old Iron?"); and alternated being sinister and droll, as Carne, a German general masterminding a rather unusual invasion of a Cornish fishing village at the onset of World War I, in the hilariously funny Ripping Yarns (1976) adventure, "Whinfrey's Last Case" .

His best known role was also destined to be one of his last. On the strength of his appearance in an episode of Blakes 7 (1978), Richard was cast as the First Doctor (formerly played by the late William Hartnell) in the 1983 feature length Doctor Who (1963) reunion special "The Five Doctors". Series producer John Nathan-Turner had spotted a resemblance between the two white-maned actors, an opinion with which Hartnell's widow apparently concurred. By his own admission, Richard entered the project with a measure of ambiguity, having had limited exposure to science fiction, or 'Doctor Who', for that matter. Ultimately, he conformed perfectly to Hartnell's precise idiosyncratic mannerisms and intonation - a performance which proved more than adequate to the original. Sadly, Richard Hurndall died within a few months of "The Five Doctors" going to air.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Spouse (2)

Margaret Ward (1964 - 1984) (his death)
Ivy Carlton (1947 - 17 August 1963) (her death)

Trivia (2)

Began acting on stage in 1930
He was working as an elevator operator at around the time that Jon Pertwee was performing his first stage role. Fifty years later, they met again when Richard was called in to replace William Hartnell as the First Doctor in the special anniversary programme, Doctor Who: The Five Doctors (1983).

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