Richard Gaines

Richard Houston Gaines (July 23, 1904 – July 20, 1975) was an American actor. He appeared in over 75 film and television productions between 1940 and 1962.

Richard Gaines
Born(1904-07-23)July 23, 1904
DiedJuly 20, 1975(1975-07-20) (aged 70)
Years active1929–1962 (secured)
Brenda Marshall
(m. 1936; div. 1940)

Early years

Gaines was born in Indian Territory, was nursed by a Cherokee, and grew up on a farm. He enrolled at Texas Christian University when he was 16 and studied drama there. He worked at a variety of jobs in the United States and in France before winning a scholarship to study at the American Laboratory Theatre.[1]


Richard Houston Gaines appeared in five Broadway productions between 1929 and 1942. He served as Raymond Massey's replacement as Abraham Lincoln in the original production of Robert E. Sherwood's Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1938-1939).[2]

In Hollywood, Gaines frequently played professional or officious types in supporting roles.[3] He was often seen in authoritarian roles as a lawyer, doctor, supervisor or father. Gaines made his film debut in the historical drama The Howards of Virginia with Cary Grant. One of his best-known roles was as Jean Arthur's stuffy suitor Charles J. Pendergast in The More the Merrier (1943), directed by George Stevens. He also appeared in Billy Wilder's film classic Double Indemnity (1944), playing the insurance boss of Fred MacMurray and Edward G. Robinson. In Cecil B. DeMille's Unconquered (1947), Gaines portrayed the historical role of George Washington. He worked frequently on television during the 1950s. Between 1958 and 1961, he had a recurring role as a judge in 14 episodes of Perry Mason.

On September 30, 1936, Gaines married actress Brenda Marshall; the couple divorced in 1940. They had one daughter, Virginia[4] (born 1937), who later grew up with Marshall and her second husband William Holden after Holden subsequently adopted Virginia Gaines when the couple married in 1941. Virginia married an Iranian-born University of Texas, California Lutheran University, & UCLA economics professor Ali Ashgar Vahabzadeh, who had anglicized his name to Ali O. Baylor, and the couple had a daughter Ardis Baylor, who is the mother of Santino William Legan, the perpetrator of Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting.[5] Gaines retired from Hollywood business in 1962 after a guest appearance on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and he died in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, on July 20, 1975, at the age of 70, three days before his 71st birthday.

Selected filmography


  1. "New 'Abe' Has Traveled". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. July 23, 1939. p. 30. Retrieved July 11, 2018 via
  2. Richard Gaines at IBDB
  3. Richard Gaines at Rotten Tomatoes
  4. "Waives Alimony, Wants Baby". Daily News. New York, New York City. United Press. May 24, 1940. p. 132. Retrieved July 11, 2018 via
  5. "Santino William Legan: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Retrieved July 31, 2019.
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