Richard Widmark dies at 93

Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:04pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

BOSTON (Reuters) - Actor Richard Widmark, who earned an Oscar nomination playing a psychopath in 1947's film noir "Kiss of Death," has died aged 93, a medical official in his home state of Connecticut said on Wednesday.

Widmark was blond and slightly built during his prime and brought an edgy nervousness to the outcasts and heavies he played in Hollywood's film noir heyday -- a list of roles that The New York Times once described as a "gallery of reprobates."

Widmark, whose long career was marked by playing villains, tough guys and cowboys, died on Monday at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, the Times reported.

An official with the Connecticut's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington confirmed that Widmark had died but declined to provide further details.

Widmark's most memorable role may have been his first. As Tommy Udo, he gleefully pushed a wheelchair-bound woman down a flight of stairs in "Kiss of Death" with a maniacal laugh that made a lasting impression on moviegoers.

Widmark would go on to prove he could play a wide range of characters in more than 60 movies, but the Udo role earned him his only Oscar nomination.

"One will remember that nasty little creep with the wild eyes and high-pitched laugh, neurotic to the core, which Richard Widmark has turned into one of his finest roles," Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton wrote in "A Panorama of American Film Noir 1941-1953."


Widmark told an interviewer that the laugh was born of nervousness.   Continued...