Thursday, November 18, 2010
RICHARD BOONE, from 'Medea' to 'Medic' to Paladin
Pictured: RICHARD BOONE as DR. KONRAD STYNER in MEDIC. [From Steve Crum's showbiz memorabilia collection.]
By Steve Crum
Although he will be forever known as Paladin in the long running (1957-63) TV western, Have Gun-Will Travel, RICHARD BOONE (June 18, 1917-Jan. 10, 1981) had a life and career worthy of his own reality series, had such existed in those days. Boone appeared in over 50 movies and TV shows, as well as acting on Broadway.
After serving in the Navy during WWII, Boone used his GI Bill opportunity to take acting lessons. His talent and drive were immediately obvious, sparking a short run of plays on Broadway in 1947, beginning with Medea and Macbeth. Contracted by Twentieth Century Fox, Boone’s first film was The Halls of Montezuma (1950), starring Richard Widmark. Segue to television, and Richard Boone portrayed Dr. Konrad Styner in the early, influential medical series, Medic (1954-56). Boone introduced each episode as Styner, and acted in many of them. Incidentally, the series’ theme music, Blue Star, composed by Victor Young, is considered one of the most memorable TV themes of all time. Boone received his first Emmy nomination for his portrayal.
Boone received two Emmy nominations for playing the highly educated and moralistic hired gun with a conscience in Have Gun-Will Travel. Following his departure from the series, he developed and starred in The Richard Boone Show, a dramatic anthology series that regrettably ran only one season, from 1963-64. After his family moved to Hawaii, Boone was offered the title role of Steve McGarrett in the upcoming series, Hawaii Five-0, but turned it down. (Jack Lord then got the part.) It is interesting to note that Boone is responsible for convincing the show’s producer to film the series in Hawaii, a decision that benefitted not only the show’s ratings, but Hawaii’s Tourism Dept.
Other TV roles followed, most notably Boone’s Hec Ramsey western-detective series, which ran from 1972-74. Movie appearances, over the years, include three with John Wayne (The Alamo, Big Jake, The Shootist), The Night of the Following Day (with Marlon Brando), and The Big Sleep (with Robert Mitchum).
Shortly before Richard Boone died of throat cancer in 1981, he wrote a newspaper column for a Florida newspaper, and taught acting.
Some Richard Boone Family Trivia: He was a descendant of Squire Boone, Daniel Boone’s brother.
A Personal Note: In the late 1950’s, during Have Gun’s run, my Aunt Ada Holley bumped into Richard Boone. Literally. While shopping with her family in Tijuana, Aunt Ada was chasing her young son through the aisles of a shop. Partially bent down as she ran, she turned a corner, and head butted Richard Boone in his chest. He was taken aback, but laughed, as she nervously did too. She apologized, he accepted such, and off she went to grab her little boy. Have Kid-Will Travel.
A complete episode of the classic TV show, MEDIC, starring RICHARD BOONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=744h9RGNdZI