Richard Long (actor)

Richard Long (December 17, 1927 December 21, 1974) was an American actor best known for his leading roles in three ABC television series, including The Big Valley, Nanny and the Professor, and Bourbon Street Beat.[1][2] He was also a series regular on ABC's 77 Sunset Strip during the 1961-1962 season.[3][4][5]

Richard Long
Long in 1970
Born(1927-12-17)December 17, 1927
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedDecember 21, 1974(1974-12-21) (aged 47)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active19461974
Suzan Ball
(m. 1954; died 1955)

Mara Corday
(m. 1957; his death 1974)
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch U.S. Army
Years of service1950–1952
Rank  Private first class
Battles/warsKorean War


Long was the fifth of six children born in Chicago, Illinois, to Sherman D. Long, a commercial artist who operated his own studio, and Dale McCord Long. The family settled in Evanston, where Long attended grammar school. He attended Waller High School in Chicago and Evanston Township High School.

The family relocated again in 1944, to Hollywood, California, and Long attended Hollywood High School for his senior year. Long said that as a teenager he had "no intention of becoming an actor. I took senior drama class because it was a snap course, and I needed the credit for my English requirement."[6]

At Hollywood High School, Long caught the eye of a talent scout from Universal-International by accident. Casting director Jack Murton gave a ride to a couple of students and asked them if a school play was scheduled. The boys told Murton about the excellent male lead actor, Richard Long.[6]


Early Films: International Pictures

In 1946, Long was cast in his first film, Tomorrow Is Forever as Drew, the son of the characters played by Claudette Colbert and Orson Welles. The role had been unfilled for months, and producers selected Long who most closely matched the credentials required.[7] It was made by International Pictures who put him under contract.[8]

Long impressed Welles who cast the actor in The Stranger (1946), as the younger brother of Loretta Young, made for International. [9]

International was going to lend Long to 20th Century Fox to make Margie (1946) but then they changed their mind and put him in The Dark Mirror (1946), directed by Robert Siodmak.[10]

Tom Kettle and Universal Pictures

International Pictures merged with Universal Pictures, who took over Long's contract. His fourth film was The Egg and I (1947), playing Tom Kettle, the eldest son of Ma and Pa Kettle, the characters played by Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride. The movie was a huge hit so much so that Universal decided to spin off the Kettles into their own series.

Long signed a contract with Universal, for which he appeared in Tap Roots (1948) and Criss Cross (1949), playing Burt Lancaster's brother in the latter for Siodmak. He supported William Bendix in The Life of Riley (1949) based on the NBC radio show.

Long reprised his role as Tom Kettle in Ma and Pa Kettle (1949), which was a solid success at the box office. So too was Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town (1950).[11] He was Frank James in the Western Kansas Raiders (1950).

In December 1950 Long was drafted into the army for service in the Korean War.[12] Before he left he made Jet Men of the Air (1951) then served for two years[13] at Fort Ord, California/

Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm (1952) was Long's fourth and final Kettle movie. He was the juvenile lead in Back at the Front (1952) and had supporting parts in All I Desire (1953), All American (1953) (as the villain to Tony Curtis's hero), Saskatchewan (1954), and Playgirl (1954).

Long began guest starring on TV shows such as Lux Video Theater ("I'll Never Love Again") and was finally given a lead role by Universal in Cult of the Cobra (1955) - though still billed under Faith Domergue.


Long focused on television over the next few years, guest starring on episodes of shows like Climax!, Screen Directors Playhouse, TV Reader's Digest, The United States Steel Hour, Hey, Jeannie!, Schlitz Playhouse, Suspicion, Alcoa Theatre, Wagon Train, Have Gun - Will Travel, The Millionaire, Matinee Theatre, and The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen.

At Columbia he had a supporting role in the Western Fury at Gunsight Pass (1956) and in a Blake Edwards comedy, He Laughed Last (1956).

Long went to Japan to star in Tokyo After Dark (1959) and had a key role in William Castle's House on Haunted Hill (1959).[14]

Bourbon Street Beat

Long signed a contract with Warner Bros and guest starred in many of their TV series like Lawman.

He played the recurring role of gambler/con artist "Gentleman Jack Darby" in four episodes of the ABC/WB western series, Maverick beginning in 1958, including the most remembered "Shady Deal at Sunny Acres" installment.[6] His character appeared only with Jack Kelly, never with other cast members James Garner and Roger Moore. Gentleman Jack Darby was created by Maverick producer Roy Huggins as a replacement for "Dandy Jim Buckley," played by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., after Zimbalist had moved on from Maverick to his own series, 77 Sunset Strip.

Five months before he was cast in Bourbon Street Beat, Long appeared as U.S. Army Captain Clayton Raymond in the episode "The Vultures" (April 26, 1959) in another ABC/WB series, Sugarfoot, with Will Hutchins in the title role. Raymond faces court martial for desertion at a western fort prior to a deadly Indian attack. Fledgling lawyer Sugarfoot defends Raymond, who refuses to explain the incident in question, which also involves Isabel Starkey (Faith Domergue), the wife of the fort commander, Colonel Starkey (Alan Marshal). Philip Ober is cast as General Humphrey, who is determined to find the truth of the matter.[15]

Warners starred Long in a show, Bourbon Street Beat (1959-60) as Rex Randolph, Private Eye which only ran for 39 episodes.[16] with Andrew Duggan,[6] Van Williams, and Arlene Howell. [17][18]

77 Sunset Strip

Long reprised his character on episodes of Hawaiian Eye and joined the cast of 77 Sunset Strip from 1960 to 1962.[19]

Long continued to guest star on shows like Thriller, Tales of Wells Fargo, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Outlaws and The Twilight Zone ("Person or Persons Unknown").

He returned to films with a role in the MGM romantic musical Follow the Boys, along with co-stars Connie Francis, Paula Prentiss, and Roger Perry.[7] He did The Tenderfoot (1964) for Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.

In 1963, Long guest starred in the episode "Hear No Evil" of ABC's Going My Way, a drama series starring Gene Kelly about a Catholic priest in New York City loosely based on the 1944 Bing Crosby movie. That same year, he was cast as Eddie Breech in the episode "Blood Bargain" of CBS's The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

Long went to Finland to make a film Make Like a Thief (1965), which he also helped direct. "I've had the longest awkward period in the history of Hollywood," he said around this time. "I sign more autographs than anyone in the industry. They either think I'm Robert Goulet, Gig Young, Robert Sterling or myself. We don't look a thing alike if we're together but there is a flash similarity."[20]

Long added that he hoped to play more character parts. "I'm rotting from the inside out and it's just gotten to my face," he said. "A man doesn't get interesting on screen until his 40s."[20]

The Big Valley

In 1965, at the age of thirty-eight, Long began his role as attorney Jarrod Barkley, the oldest son to rancher Victoria Barkley (Barbara Stanwyck), in 112 episodes of The Big Valley, the last of the major Four Star Television series, a Western which ran on ABC from 19651969. The series was set in the 1870s. Long also directed several episodes of The Big Valley.[21][22] (In 1953, Long had costarred with Stanwyck in the film All I Desire.[6])

Nanny and the Professor

In 1970–71, Long and Juliet Mills starred in the ABC sitcom Nanny and the Professor.[23]

Long and Mills later provided their voices for two animated film versions of the show: Nanny and the Professor (1972) and Nanny and the Professor and the Phantom of the Circus (1973).

Thicker Than Water

In 1973 he starred alongside Julie Harris in the short-lived series, Thicker than Water.

His last jobs were the TV movies The Girl Who Came Gift-Wrapped (1974) and Death Cruise (1974).[24]

Personal life

Long served in the U.S. Army for two years during the Korean War,[25] where he was posted to Fort Ord, California, alongside actors Martin Milner, David Janssen, and Clint Eastwood.[26] He was also stationed in Tokyo, Japan.[25]

Long was twice married: his first wife, singer and actress Suzan Ball, whom he had married fourteen months earlier,[27][28] died of cancer in 1955, at age 21.[29][30] They had met in 1953, after her cancer diagnosis; her right leg was amputated in early 1954 and they wed in April.[31]

In 1957, he married actress/model Mara Corday in Las Vegas.[32]. The couple had three children together during their troubled[33] marriage: Carey (1957–2008), Valerie (b. 1958), and Gregory (b. 1960).[34][35] In 1961, Long was arrested by police after Corday falsely accused him of trying to kill her while drunk.[36] Richard's brother in law actor Marshall Thompson paid Long's bail, and Corday declined to pursue the charges.[37] After initially indicating she would file for divorce, Corday later reconciled with Long.[38]


As a youth, Long contracted pneumonia, which apparently weakened his heart. He later experienced cardiac problems as an adult and suffered his first heart attack in the late 1950s.[39] Heavy use of cigarettes and alcohol aggravated his condition during the 1960s and likely contributed to several more heart seizures. Finally, after a month-long stay in Tarzana Medical Center in Los Angeles to treat additional attacks, he died on December 21, 1974, just four days after his 47th birthday.[1][2] He was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea.


Year Title Role Notes
1946The StrangerNoah Longstreet
1946Tomorrow Is ForeverDrew Hamilton
1946The Dark MirrorRusty
1947The Egg and ITom Kettle
1948Tap RootsBruce Dabney
1949The Life of RileyJeff Taylor
1949Criss CrossSlade Thompson
1949Ma and Pa KettleTom Kettle
1950Kansas RaidersFrank James
1950Ma and Pa Kettle Go to TownTom Kettle
1951Air CadetRuss CoulterAlternate title: Jet Men on the Air
1951Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the FarmTom Kettle
1952Back at the FrontSgt. RoseAlternate title: Willie and Joe in Tokyo
1953All I DesireRuss Underwood
1953All AmericanHoward CarterAlternate title: The Winning Way
1954SaskatchewanAbbottAlternate title: O'Rourke of the Royal Mounted
1954PlaygirlBarron Courtney III
1955Cult of the CobraPaul Able
1956He Laughed LastJimmy Murphy
1956Fury at Gunsight PassRoy Hanford
1959House on Haunted HillLance Schroeder
1959Tokyo After DarkSgt. Robert Douglas
1963Follow the BoysLt. Peter Langley
1964Make Like a ThiefV. Bartley "Bart" Lanigan
1972Nanny and the ProfessorProfessor Harold Everett (voice)Animated film
1973Nanny and the Professor and the Phantom of the CircusProfessor Harold Everett (voice)Animated film
1974The Girl Who Came Gift-WrappedMichael GreenTelevision film
1974Death CruiseJerry CarterTelevision film (final film role)
Television series
Year Title Role Notes
1958–6377 Sunset StripRex Randolph31 episodes
1959–60Bourbon Street BeatRex Randolph38 episodes
1962/'63Alfred Hitchcock PresentsPaul Devore/Eddie Breech2 episodes
1965–69The Big ValleyJarrod Barkley112 episodes
1970–71Nanny and the ProfessorProfessor Harold Everett54 episodes
1972–73Thicker than WaterErnie Paine9 episodes


  1. "Richard Long, TV actor, dies". Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal. Florida. Associated Press. December 22, 1974. p. 10B.
  2. "Actor Richard Long, TV private eye, dies". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. UPI. December 23, 1974. p. 10A.
  3. Finningan, Joseph (June 8, 1961). "Richard Long quits role as sleuth in 'Sunset Strip'". Schenectady Gazette. New York. UPI. p. 35.
  4. Video on YouTube
  6. Richard Long official tribute page Archived September 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. Brian's Drive-In Theater; accessed March 10, 2014.
  8. RICHARD LONG DEEMED FIND. (1946, Apr 13). Los Angeles Times (1923Current File) Retrieved from
  9. Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. (1946, May 18). PARAMOUNT SIGNS ROBERT CUMMINGS. New York Times (1923Current File) Retrieved from
  10. Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. (1946, Feb 06). CROSBY TO CO-STAR IN PARAMOUNT FILM. New York Times (1923Current File) Retrieved from
  11. Zylstra, F. (1950, Apr 10). Ex-chicagoan steps from class play to films. Chicago Daily Tribune (19231963) Retrieved from
  12. RICHARD LONG GIVES UP FILM UNIFORM FOR REAL. (1950, Dec 07). Los Angeles Times (1923Current File) Retrieved from
  13. Jones, G. L. (1974, Dec 22). Richard long, star of movies, TV, dies at 47. Los Angeles Times (1923Current File) Retrieved from
  14. Schallert, E. (1957, Dec 21). Film to delve into infinity. Los Angeles Times (1923Current File) Retrieved from
  15. ""The Vultures", April 26, 1959". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  16. Thomas, Bob (July 25, 1959). "Richard Long gets starring role in television series". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. Associated Press. p. 8.
  17. By, J. G. (1959, Oct 06). James Michener series on the pacific. New York Times (1923Current File) Retrieved from
  18. Bourbon street rocks to private eye beat. (1959, Nov 08). Los Angeles Times (1923Current File) Retrieved from
  19. Smith, C. (1960, Jun 03). THE TV SCENE---. Los Angeles Times (1923Current File) Retrieved from
  20. Alpert, D. (1964, Oct 11). Finland: Long and short of it. Los Angeles Times (1923Current File) Retrieved from
  21. Biodata, fifties.web; accessed March 10, 2014.
  22. Nanny and the Professor website; accessed March 10, 2014.
  23. Richard Long profile at
  24. Thomas, Bob (January 2, 1953). "Actor Richard Long back from two-year Army hitch". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. Associated Press. p. 12.
  26. "Suzan Ball throws away crutches for marriage". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. April 12, 1954. p. 2.
  27. "Suzan Ball wed without her crutches". Florence Times. Alabama. Associated Press. April 12, 1954. p. 12.
  28. "Suzan Ball dies of lung cancer". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Florida. Associated Press. August 6, 1955. p. 1.
  29. "Death takes Carmen Miranda, Suzan Ball". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. Associated Press. August 6, 1955. p. 9.
  30. "Actress Suzan Ball waging new war against cancer". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. July 14, 1955. p. 3, part 1.
  31. "Mara Corday becomes bride of Dick Long". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. Associated Press. January 28, 1957. p. 19.
  33. "Actor Richard Long is sued for divorce". Tuscaloosa News. Alabama. Associated Press. June 9, 1960. p. 7.
  34. "Dick Long easy going on and off television". Schenectady Gazette. New York. UPI. August 21, 1971. p. 16, TV section.
  35. Actor's wife accuses him of attacking her. (1961, Apr 22). The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) Retrieved from
  36. Aaker, Everett (2017-05-16). Television Western Players, 1960–1975: A Biographical Dictionary. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. p. 256. ISBN 978-1-4766-6250-3.
  37. Television Western Players, 1960–1975, p. 256.
  38. "TV star Richard Long fights heart ailment". Toledo Blade. Ohio. Associated Press. April 26, 1961. p. 17.
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