Peter Mark Richman has the dubious honor of being the actor with the most on-screen deaths than anyone else. After leaving a pharmacist job in PA (making $125/week), Mr. Richman’s name has appeared on stage, film, in the form of the written word, and especially on television. With his autobiography in print (he has two previous novels), I Saw a Molten White Light, Mr. Richman proves that he isn’t done yet!
Eric Andrews-Katz: Who were your earliest influences in becoming a performer?
Peter Richman: I began as a performer in school plays in Jr. High School in my hometown of Philadelphia. I was fortunate that Philly became a major tryout town for Broadway shows. I attended many of these performances. The remarkable talent of these professional stage actors had a huge influence on my desire to become a performer. Perhaps that is why I started as a performer as a star fullback and captain on my high school football team, which then won the Philadelphia high school championship in 1944.
Andrews-Katz: After being a member of the prestigious New York Actor’s Studio, you decided to move to California. What prompted this move?
Richman: I starred in my own TV series, Cain’s Hundred, as Nick Cain, and I knew I had to be permanently located on the West Coast in 1961.
Andrews-Katz: Your debut film was Friendly Persuasion (1956). How did you land this role?
Richman: William Wyler, the famed director, had me do a screen test after seeing me in a TV show and cast me as Gard Jordan in this classic movie.
Andrews-Katz: You’ve had the dubious honor of being the ‘most killed man (on screen) in Hollywood’. What is your favorite memory of how your character was killed off?
Richman: I fought a vigorous duel as Prince Gio in The Wild Wild West TV show, but my opponent won out and I ended up in a very prominent pit.
Andrews-Katz: What is your least favorite memory of how your character was killed off?
Richman: I was dumped into a barrel full of rats in Friday the 13th Part 8.
Andrews-Katz: You’ve died so many times on film; does the thought of inevitable death give you apprehension?
Richman: No. I really did see a molten white light when I was 5 or 6 years old. Ever since then my faith in God leaves me with no apprehension about how I will end up.
Andrews-Katz: Before your autobiography, I Saw a Molten White Light, you authored two other books – both fiction. What inspired you to begin writing novels?
Richman: Before I wrote my novel, Hollander’s Deal, I had written screenplays, short stories, and stage plays. In fact, my play, A Medal For Murray, was translated into Hebrew and ran for two years in Israel! I enjoyed writing fiction, and the form of a novel just flowed with the story I wanted to tell.
[/caption]Andrews-Katz: In your vast experiences of making films were there any co-stars you’d rather not work with again? Why would that be?
Richman: No, I have great respect for the talent of all my co-stars and have always been considerate of their feelings.
Andrews-Katz: You are a true Renaissance man having been an actor, writer and now a painter. What style of painting do you emulate and what is the attraction to painting that you discovered later in your life?
Richman: I have been painting all my life. When I was twelve years old I was an art student at the Graphic Sketch Club in Philadelphia. I am a figurative expressionist.
Andrews-Katz: What will be the most surprising thing readers will discover about your autobiography?
Richman: I think my readers will be surprised to learn, that within all the chaos of a life in show business, it was my fifty plus years in the spiritual group of Subud that kept me sane.
Andrews-Katz: You’ve performed on stage, on screen, and on television. Do you have a favorite venue and why that one?
Richman: I’m a stage actor. I studied with Lee Strasberg in New York and did several shows on Broadway and off-Broadway.
As much as I like acting for the screen, nothing can take the place of the exhilarating feeling of acting before a live audience.
Andrews-Katz: If you could play any role – regardless of any limitations such as race, gender…- what would it be and why that role?
Richman: I would like to play Manny, the elegant, lovable, elderly gentleman in the play I wrote called A Medal for Murray. I would like to portray him in the very first American production of the play.
Peter Mark Richman’s career has lasted throughout the Great Age of Entertainment. He’s appeared twice on Broadway before heading off to Hollywood. He’s appeared in films (Friday the 13th Part VIII) and has over 100 television credits including: Mission Impossible, The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke and Knight Rider. Most viewers would recognize him as his returning character on Three’s Company as “Chrissy (Suzanne Summers) Snow’s father, the “Rev. Snow”.
Richman has worked alongside some of the greatest ladies of film such as: Tippi Hedren, Janet Leigh, Joan Collins, Carol Channing, Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn. He shared screen time with: Gary Cooper, John Forsythe, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks and John Ritter, to name only a few. He enjoys one of the longest Hollywood marriages celebrating more than 60 years with his wife, Helen.