Richard Thomas O'Brien
December 27, 1878
|Died||August 21, 1962 (aged 83)|
Richard Garrick (December 27, 1878 - August 21, 1962) was an Irish-born American actor and director.
Garrick was born Richard Thomas O'Brien in the townland of Portlaw, County Waterford, Ireland. His father, James E. O'Brien, was a master tailor in that town, counting among his clients Lord Waterford as well as other nobility and landed gentry. In 1882, James left Portlaw for the United States. He landed in North Adams, Massachusetts, where there were cotton mills and the need for a clothesmaker. Two years later, his wife Johanna and children followed.
In 1898, Garrick enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served as a corporal in Company M, U.S. 26th Infantry Regiment stationed in Miagao, Iloilo, in the Philippines in 1900 during the Philippine-American War. When he returned to North Adams, he worked for a time in his father's tailor shop, then struck out on his own.
He ventured to New York City where he landed roles in stage productions, among them The Boys of Company B (1907), The Flag Lieutenant (1909), The Fourth Estate, (1909), and The Monkey's Paw. By 1912 Garrick was in Los Angeles and became a charter member of The Reel Club. Through the early 1910s, Garrick acted in, as well as directed, silent films, including Colonel Custard's Last Stand (1914). In 1915, he joined the Gaumont Company and was placed in charge of the second Rialto Star Feature Company. By 1916, Garrick was the director general of Gaumont's Jacksonville, Florida, studios. He left Gaumont to open Garrick Studios Company, offering a five-acre (20,000 m²) facility in Jacksonville that would house enough equipment and space for 20 companies to work simultaneously. As the 1916-1917 season approached, however, the mood towards making films in Jacksonville shifted, and many residents opposed the industry's presence.
Garrick went overseas in 1919 and directed films in London and Paris. In 1922, he was named production manager of a new film corporation in Italy. Overall, he directed 30 silent films during his career. When he returned to the United States, it was to pursue his first love -- stage acting. During World War II, he was among the cast of Ten Little Indians, a production of the U.S. Army Special Service/USO Camp Shows in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations.
In 1947, Garrick was once again on stage in New York City, performing as the mental-health doctor or "stranger" in the original production of A Streetcar Named Desire, which co-starred Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy. He reprised that role in the 1951 film version of the play. His appearances in both the play and film adaptation marked the start of a second film career for Garrick. During the 1950s, he played small supporting roles in numerous Hollywood movies.
His television acting credits include the role of Benjamin Franklin in Night Strike on Calvacade of America (April 29, 1953 and October 19, 1954); and the role of Thaddeus Grimshaw in the episode Royal Carriage on My Friend Flicka (March 16, 1956).
Throughout his career, Garrick performed along with some of the brightest actors and actresses in stage and film history, including James Arness, Ed Begley, Marlon Brando, Lee J. Cobb, James Dean, Julie Harris, Brian Keith, Charles Laughton, Vivien Leigh, Karl Malden, Victor Mature, Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe, Patricia Neal, Donald O'Connor, Maureen O'Sullivan, Anthony Quinn, Ronald Reagan, Ginger Rogers, Jean Simmons, Richard Todd, Spencer Tracy, Robert Wagner, John Wayne, Dennis Weaver and Richard Widmark.
Garrick taught at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and in 1930 he opened the Richard Garrick studio in Santa Ana, California, to teach drama, English, public speaking, and other subjects to aspiring actors.