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Richard Crenna Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (18)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Born in Los Angeles, California, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (pancreatic cancer)
Birth NameRichard Donald Crenna
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Richard Donald Crenna was born in Los Angeles, California, into a modest-income family, the only child of Edith J. (Pollette) and Domenick Anthony Crenna, a pharmacist. His parents were both of Italian descent. His mother managed a small hotel in downtown Los Angeles, where Richard and his family resided.

He began his career when he was eleven years old, playing the dimmer half of two youngsters called Herman and Sam in the Los Angeles radio show "Boy Scout Jamboree". He stayed with the series on and off for seventeen years, doing hundreds of other radio shows in between, including voicing Ougy Pringle in "A Date with Judy" (1946). During this time, he graduated from high school with letters in track and basketball, and later enrolled at the University of Southern California, where he majored in Theater Arts.

He was cast as Walter Denton in the radio show "Our Miss Brooks" and stayed in the part when the show moved from radio to television (Our Miss Brooks (1952)). The role called for a gangly, awkward, cracked-voice adolescent. Crenna was a tall, graceful man with a rich voice, yet his acting skills were such that he was easily able to fulfill the character's requirements, leading many viewers to believe that he actually was of high school age, when in fact he was 26 years old at the time. Crenna went on to star in another early television series, The Real McCoys (1957), but it was his role as the dedicated state legislator in the short-lived Slattery's People (1964) that finally established him both as a dramatic actor and a leading man. From that moment on, he was rarely absent from either television or motion pictures. In 1985, Crenna was awarded an Emmy for Best Performance by an Actor for The Rape of Richard Beck (1985). During the 1980s, he also became known for playing Colonel Trautman in the Rambo films (First Blood (1982), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), and Rambo III (1988)). His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is in a prime position, opposite Mann's Chinese Theatre, two stars down from his Rambo co-star Sylvester Stallone.

Crenna married shortly after his graduation from USC, but the marriage was short-lived. He met and married his last wife in the late 1950s. Richard Crenna died at age 76 of heart failure on January 17, 2003 in Los Angeles, with more than 70 major motion pictures to his credit.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Don Britton <DONBRITTON@aol.com>

Family (2)

Spouse Hannah (Penni) Smith (19 October 1957 - 17 January 2003)  (his death)  (2 children)
Joan Grisham (16 September 1950 - 9 November 1955)  (divorced)
Parents Dominick Anthony Crenna
Edith Crenna

Trade Mark (1)

Rich smoke-burnished voice

Trivia (18)

Was successfully treated for thyroid cancer, which almost claimed his voice.
Had three children - Seana Crenna, a social worker (born 1955); Richard Anthony Crenna, an actor (born 1959); and Maria Crenna, a CBS Vice-president (born 1966). Also had two grandchildren - Emma Crenna (born 1994) and Isabella Crenna (born 1997).
Liked playing golf.
Crenna's character, Colonel Denton Walters, in Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993), is a tip of the hat to his old character Walter Denton in the radio and television series Our Miss Brooks (1952).
Attended and graduated from Belmont High School in Los Angeles, California (1944).
Received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from the University of Southern California (USC).
Member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity at the University of Southern California.
Attended Virgil Junior High School on Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles, California. Currently known as Virgil Middle School.
Crenna had a recurring role on Judging Amy (1999) as Jared Duff, the fiancé of Maxine Gray, Tyne Daly's character. His unexpected death prompted the writers of the series to have his character die unexpectedly as well, just before Jared and Maxine were to be married. The 2003 episode, entitled "Requiem", was dedicated to Crenna's memory.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 111-112. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale (2007).
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6714 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on May 23, 1988.
His parents were both of Italian descent.
The June 11, 1969, and also August 20, editions of Variety, in its Hollywood Production Pulse column, shows Richard Crenna starring with Robert Conrad and Tippi Hedren in the movie Seven Against Kansas, directed by David Friedkin, which began filming on June 10, 1969, in Almeria, Spain. No evidence once the movie was ever completed.
He was one of the first (if not, the first) adult actors (over 21 years-old) playing a high school teenager on television. He was 25 years-old when he started playing high school student Walter Denton on Our Miss Brooks (1952).
He was the only cast member to appear in all 224 episodes of The Real McCoys (1957).
Passed away just four months after his The Real McCoys (1957) co-star Tony Martinez.
Had appeared in one film nominated for Best Picture Academy Award: The Sand Pebbles (1966).
He spoofed his role from the Rambo movie series in Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993).

Personal Quotes (2)

[on Charles Bronson] I don't think reviews get to Charlie much, though, unless they're especially personal. In the twenty-five years or so I've known him, he's not changed much. He's his own man. Stays pretty much to himself. If he cares what other people think of him, he doesn't show it.
[on working with Matt Dillon on The Flamingo Kid (1984)] I wasn't sure if I was going to encounter a teen idol or a professional, but I'm happy to report that Matt is a professional. He's very dedicated, very conscientious. He is very concerned about being a good actor and I think he's going to be around for a long time.

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