Richard O'Sullivan (born 7 May 1944) is an English comedy actor, who is known for his role as Robin Tripp in the 1970s sitcoms Man About the House (1973–76) and Robin's Nest (1977–1981) and as the title character in the period family adventure series Dick Turpin. O'Sullivan also starred in Doctor at Large, Doctor in Charge, Trouble in Mind, Alcock and Gander and Me and My Girl.
|Years active||1953–1996, 1999, 2006|
|Height||5ft 6.5" (169cm)|
|Spouse(s)||Diana Terry (1971–1971) (divorced) |
Christine Smart (1987–1994) (divorced)
|Partner(s)||Tessa Wyatt (1978–1985)|
Richard O'Sullivan's early education was at St John the Evangelist's RC Primary School in Brentford, Middlesex. After a family holiday in Ireland as a boy, O'Sullivan returned with a strong Irish accent and was sent to the Corona Theatre School to soften it. He appeared in his first film at the age of eight.
Career as child actor
O'Sullivan's first film was as the main character in The Stranger's Hand, starring Alida Valli and Trevor Howard, in 1953. Possibly his earliest television work was the part he played in the Sherlock Holmes episode, "The Unlucky Gambler", broadcast on 18 July 1955. He appeared in the Children's Film Foundation's first serial, Raiders of the River, also produced in 1955. In the film It's Great to Be Young (1956), he appeared alongside John Mills. The following year, he appeared with Keith Michell and Belinda Lee in the opulent swashbuckler, Dangerous Exile, playing Louis XVII, the ten-year-old son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Also during this period he featured in two episodes of Sapphire Films' The Adventures of Robin Hood (1957) alongside Richard Greene, one role being that of Will Dale in the episode "The Challenge of the Black Knight". In the Sword of Freedom series (1957), also made by Sapphire, he played Alberto in the episode "Chart of Gold". In an early Carry On film, Carry On Teacher (1959), he had the small role of student Robin Stevens. Around the same time, he was cast in the role of Pierre van der Mal in an early scene of The Nun's Story (also 1959), playing the younger brother of Gabrielle (Audrey Hepburn). Also around this time he had a leading role in an episode of the Sapphire/ITC series The Four Just Men ("The Man With The Golden Touch", 1959), as Neapolitan street urchin Pietro who foils a robbery.
Adult acting career
In the early 1960s, O'Sullivan appeared in two Cliff Richard films: The Young Ones (1961), and Wonderful Life (1964). In the 1963 blockbuster Cleopatra, he appeared as Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII, the younger brother of the title character played by Elizabeth Taylor.
For the remainder of the 1960s, O'Sullivan was a jobbing actor appearing in such TV series as Dr Syn: the Scarecrow, Emergency Ward 10, Redcap, Danger Man, No Hiding Place, Dixon of Dock Green and Strange Report among others, until he was offered the role of Lawrence Bingham in the LWT sitcom Doctor at Large (1971), a role which continued in the later Doctor in Charge (1972–73). Meanwhile, he also had a main role in the Thames Television comedy Alcock and Gander (1972) with Beryl Reid.
When the television series ended in 1976, he continued playing Robin Tripp in the spin-off sitcom Robin's Nest, in which Robin sets up a bistro with funding from his girlfriend Vicky's father James Nicholls (Tony Britton). During his run as Robin, he had relationships with two of his co-stars, Sally Thomsett from Man About the House, and Tessa Wyatt, who played Vicky in Robin's Nest. From the latter relationship, he had a son, Jamie.
Robin's Nest was a big success and the first UK sitcom to feature an unmarried couple cohabiting. To tie in with the series, O'Sullivan wrote a recipe book called Man About the Kitchen, which was published in 1980. He also wrote the Robin's Nest theme tune, which was arranged by Brian Bennett. During this period, O'Sullivan also appeared in adverts for British Gas.
In 1979 he starred in the title role of LWT's drama series Dick Turpin, which ran until 1982. He then played the widower Simon Harrup in the sitcom Me and My Girl broadcast from 1984 to 1988, co-starring Tim Brooke-Taylor and Joan Sanderson and also produced by LWT. He also appeared in a one-off comedy-drama The Giftie, shown on Channel Four in 1988, in which he and a friend discovered a photocopier at work that could duplicate living copies of themselves, and unwisely set about doing so, predictably leading to mistaken identities and chaos. In the 1990s, his profile decreased although he was never short of work. His final acting role was in a 1996 one-off satire titled Holed with Tony Robinson about a suburban golf club.
O'Sullivan largely retired from public life in 1996. His last appearance on television was as a guest on a 1999 edition of This Is Your Life held in honour of his Doctor... co-star George Layton. O'Sullivan had himself been the subject of the show in 1974.
In 2006, O'Sullivan recorded a commentary for the DVD release of Carry On Teacher.
He has lived in Brinsworth House, a retirement home for entertainers, since suffering a stroke in 2003.
|1955||Sherlock Holmes – "The Case of the Unlucky Gambler"||Andy Fenwick|
|1956||Colonel March of Scotland Yard||Roger|
|1957||Sword of Freedom||Alberto|
|1966||Danger Man||Aldo Shargis|
|Doctor at Large|
Doctor in Charge
|1971–1973||Now Look Here||Keith|
|1972||Alcock and Gander||Richard Gander|
|Man About the House|
|1979–1982||Dick Turpin||Dick Turpin|
|1984–1988||Me and My Girl||Simon Harrap|
|1991||Trouble in Mind||Adam Charlesworth|
- The Yellow Balloon (1953) – Boy Singing at Sunday School (uncredited)
- The Stranger's Hand (1954) – Roger Court
- Dance, Little Lady (1954) – Peter
- The Green Scarf (1954) – Child Jacques
- Make Me an Offer (1954) – Charlie as a Boy
- Loves of Three Queens (1954) – Benoni (segment "I Cavalieri dell'illusione")
- I cavalieri dell'illusione (1954)
- The Dark Avenger (1955) – Thomas Holland
- The Secret (1955) – John Martin
- Raiders of the River (1956) – Joey
- Jacqueline (1956) – Michael
- It's Great to Be Young (1956) – Lawson
- No Time for Tears (1957) – William Reynolds
- Dangerous Exile (1957) – Louis XVII / Richard de Beauvais
- The Nun's Story (1959) – Pierre (brother of Gabrielle) (uncredited)
- Carry On Teacher (1959) – Robin Stevens – Saboteur
- Witness in the Dark (1959) – Don Theobald
- And Women Shall Weep (1960) – Godfrey Lumsden
- A Story of David (1961) – Abiathar
- Spare the Rod (1961) – Fred Harkness
- The Young Ones (1961) – Ernest
- The Prince and The Pauper (1962, Disney) – Hugo
- The Webster Boy (1962) – Jimmy Webster
- Cleopatra (1963) – Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII
- Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow (1963) – George Ransley
- Wonderful Life (US title: Swingers' Paradise 1964) – Edward
- Every Day's a Holiday (1965) – Jimmy Dainty
- A Dandy in Aspic (1968) – Nevil
- The Haunted House of Horror (1969) – Peter
- Futtocks End (1970) – The Boots
- Au Pair Girls (1972) – Stephen
- Father, Dear Father (1973) – Richard
- Man About the House (1974) – Robin Tripp
- Can You Keep It Up for a Week? (1974) – Mr. Rose
- "O'Sullivan, Richard (1944–)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- Lorraine Fisher (10 January 2009). "As he grows worryingly frail, Richard O'Sullivan's former co-star and lover says... I still love my Man About The House". Mail Online. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- Paul Revoir (6 January 2009). "Old Man About The House: Frail 70s heart-throb Richard O'Sullivan looks unrecognisable". Mail Online. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- Overview for Swingers' Paradise (1965)", Turner Classic Movies page