Friday, February 6, 2009

Actor Clint Ritchie Passes On

Clint Ritchie, who appeared on TV shows from The Wild Wild West to Dallas, passed on January 31 at the age of 70.

Ritchie was born in Grafton, North Dakota on August 9, 1938. His family later moved to Washington. In his teens he moved to California and too acting classes.

His first appearance on the small screen was in the pilot for The Wild Wild West, "Night of the Inferno." He went on to appearances on Batman (as one of The Joker's henchmen), Felony Squad, Daniel Boone, The High Chapparal, Ghost Story, Switch, and Roseanne, among other shows. He played a significant role in the mini-series Centennial. He was a regular on the 1977-1978 series Thunder. He appeared on the soap opera One Life to Live from 1979 to 1998.

Ritchie also appeared in movies, making his debut on the big screen in a small part in 1967's Alvarez Kelly. He went onto major roles in The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (as gangster Jack McGurn), Bandolero, Patton, Joe Kidd (as Deputy Sheriff Calvin), and Midway. He retired in 1998.

Clint Ritchie was one of those actors who just never seemed to get a fair shake. There can be no doubt he was talented. I have always suspected that he may simply have been born at the wrong time. Quite simply, he was born to do Westerns. The parts in which I remember him best were those from the Westerns in which he appeared. Indeed, while it seems as if nearly every obituary for Ritchie I read mentioned his role on One Life to Live, I will always remember him as Messmore Garrett, the head of the sheep herders on Centennial. I rather suspect that had he been born in an earlier time, he could have made a very good living making Westerns. Regardless, he was a very talented actor.

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