Richard Deacon (actor)
Richard Deacon (May 14, 1921 – August 8, 1984) was an American television and motion picture actor, best known for playing supporting roles in television shows such as The Dick Van Dyke Show, Leave It To Beaver, and The Jack Benny Program along with minor roles in films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.
Deacon as Mel Cooley on The Dick Van Dyke Show
|Died||August 8, 1984 63) (aged|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||Bennington College|
|Occupation||Film and television actor|
|Height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
Deacon often portrayed pompous, prissy, and/or imperious figures in film and television. He made appearances on The Jack Benny Program as a salesman and a barber, and on NBC's Happy as a hotel manager. He made a brief appearance in Alfred Hitchcock's film The Birds (1963). He played a larger role in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) as a physician in the "book-end" sequences added to the beginning and end of the film after its original previews.
His best-known roles are milksop Mel Cooley (producer of The Alan Brady Show) on CBS's The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966) and Fred Rutherford on Leave It to Beaver (1957–1963), although Deacon played Mr. Baxter in the 1957 Beaver pilot episode "It's a Small World". He co-starred as Tallulah Bankhead's butler in an episode of The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour called "The Celebrity Next Door". Deacon played Roger Buell on the second season of TV's The Mothers-in-Law (1967–1969), replacing Roger C. Carmel in the role. He played Principal "Jazzbo" Conroy in The Danny Thomas Show (1958). He also appeared in the 1960 Perry Mason episode The Case of the Red Riding Boots as Wilmer Beaslee.
In Carousel (1956), the film adaptation of the Rodgers & Hammerstein stage musical, Deacon had a bit role as the policeman who admonishes Julie and Mr. Bascombe about Billy Bigelow in the "bench scene". It was one of the few films in which he did not wear glasses, as were his roles in Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955), and the 1954 costumer Désirée, where he played Jean Simmons' elder brother, an 18th-century Marseilles silk merchant. Philadelphia native Deacon played the role of Morton Stearnes' butler, George Archibald, whose courtroom testimony is a turning point in The Young Philadelphians (1959), starring Paul Newman. He played an imbibing justice of the peace, Reverend Zaron, in the classic 1957 Budd Boetticher western Decision at Sundown.
Deacon appeared in many sitcoms, including It's a Great Life, The People's Choice, How to Marry a Millionaire, Guestward, Ho!, Pete and Gladys, The Donna Reed Show, The Real McCoys (in the episode "The Tax Man Cometh", he clashes with series star Walter Brennan over property tax assessments in the San Fernando Valley), Get Smart, Bonanza (a deceitful character who cheats the Cartwrights during their visit to San Francisco), and The Rifleman (episode "The Hangman", in an uncredited role). In episode 5 of the first season of The Munsters, "Pike's Pique", he plays water district commissioner Mr. Pike, buying the underground rights to lay pipe. In The Addams Family, he administers Cousin Itt a battery of psychological tests in the episode "Cousin Itt and the Vocational Counselor". In 1966, he appeared on Phyllis Diller's short-lived television sitcom, The Pruitts of Southampton. He also guest starred in the NBC family drama National Velvet, and in the ABC/Warner Bros. crime drama Bourbon Street Beat, and played Mr. Whipple on The Twilight Zone in the 1964 episode "The Brain Center at Whipple's". In 1967, Deacon played Ralph Yarby, director of security for lumber baron D.J. Mulrooney, in Disney's The Gnome-Mobile. In 1968, he played Dean Wheaton in the Walt Disney film Blackbeard's Ghost. He was also an occasional panelist in the 1970s/early 1980s versions of Match Game. In 1970, he appeared in four episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies as a psychiatrist treating Granny.
Deacon appeared on the Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour in 1983 as a game show participant / celebrity guest star.
In 1983, Deacon reprised his role of Fred Rutherford in the television movie Still the Beaver, a sequel to the original TV series. When the television movie spawned a series of the same name on The Disney Channel, he was to reprise the role but died weeks before the series began production.
In 1984, Deacon had a cameo role in the teen comedy film Bad Manners.
Although he was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he and his family later moved to Binghamton, New York, living on the west side of that city. He attended West Junior High and Binghamton Central High School, where he met fellow Binghamton resident Rod Serling.
During World War II, Deacon served in the United States Army medical corps. In 1946, upon completion of his service, he returned to Binghamton where he resumed living with his parents. He worked in occupations such as laboratory technician and intern at Binghamton General Hospital. He later attended Ithaca College, first as a medical student, but later developed an interest in acting, engaging in some nighttime radio announcing.
According to academic writers David L. Smith and Sean Griffin, Deacon was gay, and was among "a number of actors and actresses who were closeted homosexuals" working in Hollywood and often employed in Disney films.
While not widely known during Deacon's lifetime, he was a charitable man. At his memorial service, a number of people previously unknown to Deacon's friends and colleagues spoke of how Deacon had provided for needy people and charitable organizations during his life.
Deacon never married. His New York Times obituary, published on August 11, 1984, states, "Mr. Deacon is survived by his father, Joseph Deacon of San Clemente, Calif., and a nephew and niece."
- Invaders from Mars (1953) as MP (uncredited)
- Them! (1954) as Bald Reporter at L.A. News Conference (uncredited)
- Shield for Murder (1954) as The Professor (uncredited)
- Private Hell 36 (1954) as Mr. Mace (uncredited)
- Rogue Cop (1954) as Stacey (uncredited)
- Désirée (1954) as Etienne Clary (uncredited)
- Cry Vengeance (1954) as 'Shiny' Sam - Bartender (uncredited)
- Prince of Players (1955) as Theatre Manager (uncredited)
- Blackboard Jungle (1955) as Mr. Stanley (uncredited)
- This Island Earth (1955) as Pilot (uncredited)
- Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955) as Semu
- Lay That Rifle Down (1955) as Glover Speckleton
- My Sister Eileen (1955) as Baker's Receptionist (uncredited)
- The Kettles in the Ozarks (1955) as Big Trout (uncredited)
- Good Morning, Miss Dove (1955) as Mr. Spivvy (uncredited)
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) as Dr. Harvey Bassett (uncredited)
- Carousel (1956) as First Policeman (uncredited)
- Hot Blood (1956) as Mr. Swift (uncredited)
- When Gangland Strikes (1956) as Dixon Brackett, Prosecuting Attorney (uncredited)
- The Scarlet Hour (1956) as Mr. Elman, Jeweller (uncredited)
- The Proud Ones (1956) as Barber (uncredited)
- Francis in the Haunted House (1956) as Jason
- The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956) as Williams, McKeever's assistant (uncredited)
- The Power and the Prize (1956) as Howard Carruthers
- Affair in Reno (1956) as H.L. Denham, Attorney
- Spring Reunion (1957) as Sidney (uncredited)
- The Spirit of St. Louis (1957) as Charles Levine, President Columbia Aircraft Co. (uncredited)
- Designing Woman (1957) as Larry Musso (uncredited)
- My Man Godfrey (1957) as Farnsworth
- Decision at Sundown (1957) as Reverend Zaron
- Kiss Them for Me (1957) as Bill Hotchkiss (uncredited)
- The High Cost of Loving (1958) as Obstetrician (uncredited)
- The Last Hurrah (1958) as Graves (uncredited)
- A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed (1958) as Milburn Schroeder
- The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker (1958) as Sheriff
- The Young Philadelphians (1959) as George Archibald
- It Started with a Kiss (1959) as Capt. Porter (uncredited)
- The Man Who Understood Women (1959) as Rossi (uncredited)
- A Summer Place (1959) as Pawnbroker (uncredited)
- -30- (1959) as Chapman
- North to Alaska (1960) as Angus - Hotel Desk Clerk (uncredited)
- All in a Night's Work (1961) as Fur Salesman (uncredited)
- Everything's Ducky (1961) as Dr. Deckham
- Lover Come Back (1961) as Dr. Melnick (uncredited)
- That Touch of Mink (1962) as Mr. Miller (uncredited)
- The Birds (1963) as Mitch's City Neighbor
- Critic's Choice (1963) as Harvey Rittenhouse
- Who's Minding the Store? (1963) as Tie Salesman
- The Raiders (1963) as Commissioner Mailer
- The Patsy (1964) as Sy Devore
- Dear Heart (1964) as Mr. Cruikshank
- The Munsters (1964) as Mr. Pike
- The Disorderly Orderly (1964) as Secondary Supporting Role (uncredited)
- John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! (1965) as Secretary of Defense Charles Maginot
- Billie (1965) as Principal Arnold Wilson
- That Darn Cat! (1965) as Drive-in Manager
- Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title (1966) as Mr. Travis / Police Chief
- Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. (1966) as Survival Manual Narrator (uncredited)
- Enter Laughing (1967) as Pike
- The Gnome-Mobile (1967) as Ralph Yarby
- The King's Pirate (1967) as Swaine
- Blackbeard's Ghost (1968) as Dean Wheaton
- The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968) as Charlie Wrenn
- Lady in Cement (1968) as Arnie Sherwin
- Persecución hasta Valencia (1968) as Records clerk
- The Man from Clover Grove (1975) as Charlie Strange
- Rabbit Test (1978) as First Newscaster
- Getting Married (1978) as Wedding Director
- Piranha (1978) as Earl Lyon
- The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (1980) as Joseph Rottman
- Murder Can Hurt You (1980) as Mr. Burnice
- Still the Beaver (1983) as Fred Rutherford
- Growing Pains (1984) as Ticket Salesman
- "Richard Deacon Dead at 62;A Comic Film and TV Actor". www.nytimes.com. August 11, 1984. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
- Major, Jack. "Name dropping - RICHARD DEACON". Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- Kulzick, Kate (June 19, 2013). "Greatest TV Pilots: The Dick Van Dyke Show's "The Sick Boy and the Sitter" remains an effective, entertaining opener". PopOptiq. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- Kimball, Trevor (July 6, 2010). "Leave It to Beaver: The Cast Reunites to Remember the Classic TV Show". TV Series Finale. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- Martin Gitlin. The Greatest Sitcoms of All Time. Scarecrow Press; 7 November 2013. ISBN 978-0-8108-8725-1. p. 125–.
- "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers Cast List: Full Cast of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers Actors/Actresses". Ranker. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- Powers, James (March 28, 2017). "'The Birds': THR's 1963 Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- The Spirit of St. Louis (book), 1993 Minnesota Historical Society Press, pp 71–76
- "Leave It to Beaver (TV Series 1957–1963)" – via www.imdb.com.
- "Cousin Itt and the Vocational Counselor" – via www.imdb.com.
- Diller, Phyllis; Buskin, Richard (2005). Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy. New York: The Penguin Group. p. 211. ISBN 1-58542-396-3.
- Shay, Jack Edward (Jun 12, 2012). "Bygone Binghamton: Remembering People and Places of the Past Volume Two". AuthorHouse. Retrieved Jul 12, 2019 – via Google Books.
- Webb, Clifton and David L. Smith (2011). Sitting Pretty: The Life and Times of Clifton Webb. Jackson: Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 219. ISBN 978-1604739961. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
- Griffin, Sean (2000). Tinker Belles and Evil Queens: The Walt Disney Company from the Inside Out. New York: NYU Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0814731239. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
- DVD Commentary with Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner on The Dick Van Dyke Show Season 1 episode "The Sleeping Brother", DVD.
- "The manager and friends of Richard Deacon, the character..." UPI. Retrieved Jul 12, 2019.