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Richard Bull
Richard Bull
Credits
Role John Alden
Biographical Information
Birthdate June 26, 1924
Birthplace Zion, Illinois, United States
Death Date February 3, 2014 (age 89)
Death Place Calabasas, California, United States[1]

Richard Bull played John Alden of Plymouth Colony in the fourth season episode, "Samantha's Thanksgiving to Remember" (1967).

Biography[]

Richard Bull was born June 26, 1924 in Zion, Illinois about 50 miles north of Chicago. His family eventually moved to Chicago.

Richard fell into acting by accident.

"I never gave a serious consideration about becoming an actor. As a senior in high school, I decided to study music, but a friend suggested we attend the Goodman Theater School. In two weeks the friend dropped out, but I was hooked."

There was a three-year interruption when he served as a radio operator for the Army Air Corps, but when he was discharged in 1946 he resumed his acting studies at the Goodman.

While at the Goodman he met the love of his life, Barbara Collentine, a talented actress in her own right and in January 1948 they became engaged. For the next sixty-six years, they often appeared together on stage and occasionally on screen until his death in 2014. The summer of 1948 both Richard and Barbara were acting in summer stock theatre at Bella Itkin’s Lake Zurich Playhouse. It was here that Richard played “Petruchio” opposite Geraldine Page as “Katherine” in William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” After three years working in Chicago and another seven years trying to break into the acting world in New York, the couple made a career decision and moved to Los Angeles.

After moving to Los Angeles, Richard and Barbara became very active in theatre, often appearing in two or three stage productions a year, sometimes separately, but usually together. As Richard’s film and television commitments began to consume more of his attention, he could not devote as much time to the theatre, but he never lost his love for the stage. He believed, “The theater keeps you alive as an actor.”

Over the span of his acting career Richard appeared in thirty-two films and television movies, such as “The Satan Bug”, “The Stalking Moon”, “The Andromeda Strain”, and “High Plains Drifter”. He also appeared in eighty-six television series, including “Gunsmoke”, “I Spy”, “Mannix”, “Mission: Impossible”, “My Three Sons”, “Peyton Place“, “The Fugitive“, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.“, “The Streets of San Francisco”, “The Virginian”, and “Little House on the Prairie”.

Richard’s television career began to take off in 1965 when he was cast as the Seaview Doctor in “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” and appeared in twenty-seven episodes of that series with Richard Basehart.

Richard Bull crossed paths with Michael Landon on the set of “Bonanza” when he played a rancher caught in a vicious range war. It was possibly this connection with Michael Landon which helped launch Richard into “Little House on the Prairie“.

Richard enjoyed working on “Little House on the Prairie”:

“…this series is especially nice. It is about as steady a job as one could get as an actor, and the company is a joy to work with.”

After “Little House on the Prairie” came to an end, Richard continued his acting career, appearing in popular series such as “Knots Landing”, “Hill Street Blues”, and “Designing Women”. He also reunited with Victor French and Michael Landon in several episodes of “Highway to Heaven”. Richard and Barbara appeared together in the 2000 release of “A Day in a Life“, a story of five seniors coping with retirement and advancing age.

After this time frame, Richard and Barbara moved back to Chicago. He continued acting and appeared in the 2003 Steppenwolf Theatre Company production of “Man from Nebraska”. After several years in Chicago, Richard and Barbara moved back to California in 2012 where they took up residence in the Motion Picture & Television Fund retirement home.

Richard Bull passed away due to complications of pneumonia on February 3, 2014.[2]

External Links[]

Hayward, Anthony. "Richard Bull: Actor who made his name as the kindly shopkeeper in the homely and wholesome Little House on the Prairie", obituary, The Independent, February 7, 2014.

References[]

  1. Richard Bull on the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on February 7, 2020.
  2. About Richard Bull, Little House on the Prairie website, June 26, 2017. Retrieved on April 2, 2020.
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