Ted Richmond, Producer of ‘Papillon,’ Dies at 103

Producer Ted Richmond, who produced more than 60 movies from the 1940s through the 1970s including 1973 thriller “Papillon” (pictured), died in Paris on Dec. 23. He was 103.

The 1973 hit “Papillon,” starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, was one of Richmond’s most successful films.

For 40 years, working for Columbia Pictures and then Universal Intl., he produced movies in a variety of genres. There were Westerns such as “The Cimarron Kid,” starring Audie Murphy, and “Return of the Seven,” as well as comedies such as “Francis Joins the WACS,” starring Donald O’Connor. Richmond was also an uncredited producer on the Elvis Presley pic “It Happened at the World’s Fair.”

In the 1950s he partnered with his close friend Tyrone Power to form Copa Prods. The company’s first movie, “Count Three and Pray,” introduced Joanne Woodward to films. In 1959, during the filming of “Solomon and Sheba,” Richmond was devastated when Power, who was playing Solomon, suffered a fatal heart attack. Yul Brynner ultimately played the part opposite Gina Lollobrigida.

Richmond also worked with such stars as Buster Crabbe, Gale Storm, Joan Davis, Nina Foch, Mel Torme, Penny Singleton, Desi Arnaz, Piper Laurie, Jeff Chandler, Beau Bridges, Cornel Wilde, Charles Laughton, Boris Karloff, Tony Curtis, Alan Ladd, Janet Leigh, Anne Bancroft, Rock Hudson, Raymond Burr, Aldo Ray, Lana Turner, Charles Bronson and Bob Hope.

The producer’s last film was 1979’s “The Fifth Musketeer.”

Born in New Bedford, Mass., Richmond first worked in the movie business as an usher at a local theater. In 1939 he wrote the screen story for “Six Gun Rhythm and Trigger Pals.” In 1941, he produced his first movie, “South of Panama.” (In his early films he was credited as T.H. Richmond.)

He spent the past 30 years in Paris with his wife, Asuko. Richmond is also survived by four nieces and one nephew in the U.S.

 

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