A life member of The Actors Studio, Derr landed the majority of his leading roles on stage. In 1955, he sang in the lead role in the Broadway musical Plain and Fancy. His other Broadway credits include Invitation to a March (1960), Maybe Tuesday (1957), A Phoenix Too Frequent (1949), and The Closing Door (1949).
On the screen, Derr was primarily a character actor. He had a starring role in a 1951 science-fiction film, When Worlds Collide. Derr starred in Invisible Avenger (1958). The film about The Shadow was the basis for two television pilot episodes, neither of which was developed into a series.
Beginning in the 1950s, most of Derr's work was done on television. In 1959, he was the host of Fanfare, a summer dramatic anthology series on NBC-TV.
In 1965, he played the role of Dr. Dwyer in the three-part serial, "The Adventures of Gallegher," on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, and later made appearances in Barnaby Jones, in two episodes of Star Trek, and in the 1976 miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man Book II.
Derr served in the Army Transport Service for three years during World War II.
On May 8, 1992, Derr died of pancreatic cancer in Santa Monica, California.
- Charlie Chan in Rio (1941) - Ken Reynolds
- Man at Large (1941) - Max, posing as Colonel Von Rohn
- A Gentleman at Heart (1942) - Stewart Haines
- Sex Hygiene (1942 short) - Soldier
- Castle in the Desert (1942) - Carl Detheridge
- The Man Who Wouldn't Die (1942) - Roger Blake
- Ten Gentlemen from West Point (1942) - Chester
- Just Off Broadway (1942) - John Logan
- Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942) - Gunnar Korstad
- Tonight We Raid Calais (1943) - German Captain (uncredited)
- Cry "Havoc" (1943) - Marine with Thermometer (uncredited)
- An American Romance (1944) - Undetermined Role (uncredited)
- The Secret Heart (1946) - Larry Addams
- The Bride Goes Wild (1948) - Bruce Kope Johnson
- Luxury Liner (1948) - Charles G.K. Worton
- Joan of Arc (1948) - Jean de Metz (a knight)
- Guilty of Treason (1950) - Soviet Col. Aleksandr Melnikov
- When Worlds Collide (1951) - David Randall
- Something to Live For (1952) - Tony Collins
- The Invisible Avenger (1958) - Lamont Cranston
- Terror Is a Man (1959) - William Fitzgerald
- An American Dream (1966) - Jack Hale (uncredited)
- Rosie! (1967) - Lawyer
- Three in the Attic (1968) - Mr. Clinton
- Topaz (1969) - U.S. Embassy Official - Copenhagen (uncredited)
- Adam at 6 A.M. (1970) - Mr. Gaines
- The Morning After (1974) - Dr. Tillman
- The Drowning Pool (1975) - James Devereaux
- SST: Death Flight (1977) - Governor Stensky
- American Gigolo (1980) - Mr. Williams
- Firefox (1982) - Admiral Curtin
- "Richard Derr, 74, A Longtime Actor On Stage and Film". The New York Times. May 15, 1992.
- "Richard Derr Papers 1929-1983". Arizona Archives Online. Arizona State University. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
- "("Richard Derr" search results)". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- Shimeld, Thomas J. (2005). Walter B. Gibson and The Shadow. McFarland. p. 86. ISBN 9780786490059. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2009). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. Random House Publishing Group. p. 457. ISBN 9780307483201. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- "Hollywood Actor Visiting Brother". The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, the Evening News. Pennsylvania, Wilkes-Barre. December 21, 1946. p. 4. Retrieved May 25, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Willis, John (2000). Screen World 1993: Comprehensive Pictoral and Statistical Record of the 1992 Movie Season. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 264. ISBN 9781557831750. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
Richard Derr biography at Ellery Queen a website on deduction