Richard X. Slattery

Richard Xavier Slattery (June 26, 1925 – January 27, 1997) was an American character actor in film, theater and television.[1] Slattery appeared in such films as A Distant Trumpet, The Boston Strangler, Walking Tall, The No Mercy Man and Herbie Rides Again.

Richard X. Slattery
Richard Xavier Slattery

(1925-06-26)June 26, 1925
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 27, 1997(1997-01-27) (aged 71)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1960–1990

Early years

Born in New York, Slattery was a graduate of All Hallows High School who briefly studied at Fordham University, where he had scholarships in track and football. He left Fordham and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a lieutenant in the Pacific for two and a half years.[2]


Slattery was distinguished by a square-jawed look and a rough, gravelly voice that made him ideal as a "tough guy" character, usually as a cop or a drill sergeant type. He had been an NYPD police officer for 12 years (1948–1960) and started his acting career in police academy training films, and in community theater in the Bronx.

Slattery was a familiar face on series television, appearing in numerous guest roles including Route 66, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, 77 Sunset Strip, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched, The Invaders, F Troop, The Green Hornet, The Virginian, Bonanza, The Partridge Family, The Odd Couple, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, The Mod Squad, Emergency!, Run, Joe, Run, The Waltons, Ironside, Kojak, The San Pedro Beach Bums, and Knight Rider.

Slattery starred in a revival of the play The Time of Your Life, starting March 17, 1972, at the Huntington Hartford Theater in Los Angeles.[3][4]

For 14 years, Slattery was featured in a series of popular TV commercials for 76 gasoline during the 1970s and early 1980s, playing the grandfatherly owner of "Murph's 76 Station"[5] (filmed at the longtime 76 station adjacent to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles). He played Lieutenant Modeen in Switch[6]:1046 and had featured roles in three series: The Gallant Men (as 1st Sgt. John McKenna),[6]:376 Mister Roberts (as Captain John Morton),[6]:703 and C.P.O. Sharkey (as Captain "Buck" Buckner).[6] He appeared on the Cannon episode, "The Cure That Kills," as a carnival owner, an episode that first aired on February 20, 1974.

Personal life

Slattery was married to Pegeen Rose, an actress, from 1958 to 1968. They had five children.[7] He married Mary Shelquist in 1970 and they divorced in 1979. He married Helene Irene Vergauwen in 1988 and they remained married until his death.[8][1] His son, Kevin, is a television producer (Just Shoot Me).[9]


Slattery died on January 27, 1997.[5][1]


Year Title Role Notes
1946Till the End of TimeCaptainUncredited
1960Butterfield 8State TrooperUncredited
1961The Last Time I Saw ArchieSergeant in Mess HallUncredited
1964A Distant TrumpetSgt. Fry
1967A Time for KillingCpl. Paddy Darling
1968The Secret War of Harry FriggMP Sergeant
1968The Boston StranglerDet. Capt. Ed Willis
1973The No Mercy ManMark Hand
1973Walking TallArno Purdy
1974Herbie Rides AgainTraffic Commissioner
1974BustingDesk Sergeant
1974Black EyeLt. Bill Bowen
1976Zebra Force
1979The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides AgainSgt. Slaughter - Head Soldier


  1. Oliver, Myrna (January 29, 1997). "Richard Slattery; 'Murph' in Union Oil Commercials". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  2. Misurell, Ed (October 14, 1965). "They Won't Let Him Out of Uniform". The Tipton Daily Tribune. p. 7. Retrieved September 20, 2018 via
  3. "The Time of Your Life". WorldCat. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  4. Lane, Bill (April 8, 1972). "Hollywood Beat: Fans Still Talking About Grammy Deal". The Afro American. p. 10. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  5. "Richard X. Slattery, character actor on TV". Arizona Republic. Phoenix. February 2, 1997. p. 44. Retrieved September 20, 2018 via
  6. Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  7. "Richard X. Slattery Changes Uniforms". Biddeford-Saco Journal. November 20, 1965. p. 10. Retrieved September 21, 2018 via
  8. "Richard X. Slattery, Biography". IMDb. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  9. Scott, Tony (March 3, 1997). "Reviews: Just Shoot Me". Variety. Retrieved 2012-01-15.

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