Richard Stapley

Richard Stapley (20 June 1923 – 5 March 2010), also known by the stage name Richard Wyler, was a British actor and writer.[1][2]

Richard Stapley
Stapley appearing in a 1965 episode of The Saint
Born(1923-06-20)20 June 1923
Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England, UK
Died5 March 2010(2010-03-05) (aged 86)
Palm Springs, California, US
Other namesRichard Wyler
OccupationActor, author
Years active1948–1978

Early life

Stapley was born in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England in 1923.[1] A writer, Stapley published his first novel when he was just 17 years old.[1] He served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.[1]


Following the end of the Second World War, Stapley began appearing in theatre roles in London.[1] He soon signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), making his film debut in a supporting role in the 1948 film, The Three Musketeers.[1] He next appeared in the 1949 remake, Little Women, in which he played John Brooke, the love interest of Janet Leigh's character, Meg.

He continued to appear in a string of Hollywood films at different studios during the 1940s and 1950s, including the 1951 period drama The Strange Door, which co-starred Boris Karlof and Charles Laughton; 1953's King of the Khyber Rifles, which starred Tyrone Power; Charge of the Lancers with Paulette Goddard; and The Iron Glove with Robert Stack in 1954.[1] In 1955 Stapley starred in Target Zero as a British tank commander serving in the Korean War.

Stapley returned to Britain and Europe in 1960, where he adopted the stage name, Richard Wyler.[1][2] His British television credits from that era included the crime series, Man from Interpol.[2] and the film Identity Unknown (1960). He travelled to the Continent where he starred in a series of European-made adventure and western films using the name, Richard Wyler, including The Barbarians, The Exterminators, The Bounty Killer, Dick Smart 2.007, and The Girl From Rio, which co-starred Shirley Eaton and George Sanders.

During the early part of the decade, he wrote a weekly column for Motor Cycling magazine, Richard Wyler's Coffee Bar Column,[3] and owned a shop in Central Road, Worcester Park, London, specialising in performance motorcycle parts and accessories.[4] The shop was later sold to Cyril Jones.[5]

During the 1970s, Stapley returned to film roles under his birthname, Richard Stapley.[1] He co-starred in the 1970 film, Connecting Rooms, in a supporting role to stars Michael Redgrave and Bette Davis.[1] He was also cast in Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy.[1]

When his acting roles became fewer he became a radio announcer in Britain, raced motorbikes,[6] and in the 1970s worked part-time as a motor cycle courier.[7]

Stapley became a naturalised US citizen during his later life.[1] He focused on writing following his acting career. He published a novel entitled, Naked Legacy, in 2004.[2] Stapley also completed a second novel and corresponding adapted screenplay, both called Tomorrow Will Be Cancelled.[1] He was working on an autobiography at the time of his death in 2010.[1]

Richard Stapley died of kidney failure at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California, on 5 March 2010, at the age of 86. His death was announced by his publicist, Alan Eichler.[2]


Year Title Role Notes
1948 The Challenge Cliff Sonnenberg
The Three Musketeers Albert
1949 Little Women John Brooke
1951 The Strange Door Denis de Beaulieu
1953 King of the Khyber Rifles Lt. Ben Baird
1954 Charge of the Lancers Maj. Bruce Lindsey
The Iron Glove Prince James Stuart
Jungle Man-Eaters Inspector Jeffrey Bernard
1955 Target Zero Sgt. David Kensemmit
1956 D-Day the Sixth of June David Archer
1959 High Jump Bill Ryan
1960 Identity Unknown John
Revak the Rebel Captain Lycursus, Greek Mercenary
1961 Breakfast at Tiffany's Party Guest Uncredited
1965 Coplan FX 18 casse tout Coplan
1966 The Bounty Killer Luke Chilson
1967 Dick Smart 2.007 Dick Smart
Un hombre vino a matar Anthony Garnett / Rattler Kid
If One Is Born a Swine Billy Walsh
1968 Gunman Sent by God Coleman (as Richard Wyler)
1969 The Girl from Rio Jeff Sutton
1970 Connecting Rooms Dick Grayson
1972 Frenzy Truck Driver Uncredited
1973 Scorpio Agent killed by Zharkov in car Uncredited


  1. "Richard Stapley, 86, was actor, writer". Variety. 7 March 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  2. "Actor Richard Stapley dies at 86". Globe Gazette. Mason City, IA. Associated Press. 7 March 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  3. "Dick Wyler's Coffee-Bar Column". Motor Cycling. London: Temple Press Limited. 104-105.
  4. Motorcycle Mechanics, July 1964, p.48 Technical Topics by Bruce Cox. Retrieved 5 March 2016
  5. Motorcycle Mechanics, September 1965, p.11 Full Chat by Ian Speller. Retrieved 20 June 2016
  7. Wilkins, Julian (2 June 2010). "Richard Stapley: Film and television actor who starred alongside Elizabeth Taylor in 'Little Women'". The Independent. London.
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