Level-Headed Lochinvar—Richard Todd
Richard Todd knocks off the king’s English with British precision, but his heart speaks with his eyes. Born thirty-one years ago in Dublin, of English parentage, he’s the carefully careless tweedy type. But he’s equally at home, too, in not-so-Saville Row-cut levis.
Of acting, Todd says, “If you believe what you’re saying, your face will say it.” Certainly, his face speaks for him. He talks with animation and vivid gestures of a “wonderful little pub in the Britannia Mews” and then, with wistful wonder, of his wonder at being able to buy “half-a-dozen oranges. And bananas. Only babies have them back home.”
His is a rich sense of humor. When one of the crew kidded him about his name on the dressing-room door being lettered in italics, instead of being written in the usual script, saying, “See how important you are?” Dick was quick to reply with, “Don’t they italicize things that are horrible, too?”
Despite the fact that he portrays unhappy characters like The Scot in “The Hasty Heart,” the murderer in “Stage Fright” and an accused murderer in “Lightning Strikes Twice,” Todd by nature is a happy, non-temperamental person.
His is a serenity and a fatalistic philosophy inspired, no doubt, from having seen and experienced so much suffering. He served seven rough years with the Paratroopers and the Commandos. He was one of the men who made the jump on D-Day in Normandy. He suffered head injuries, fractured shoulders, and numerous wounds, but he rarely speaks of them. Too many of his closest buddies aren’t around anymore to relate their experiences.
Dick is a little like The Scot who insisted, “I dinna like to hae things done for me.” When the studio gave him a car, he refused the driver they offered with “Thank you, but I think I can manage.” And for the first time in his life, he drove a left-hand-drive car off the lot through the speeding Hollywood traffic without hospitalization. When he was offered advice about the difference in English and American money, he said: “Thank you, but I studied the monetary exchange coming over.” When he was stymied, however, he had no hesitation in inquiring eagerly, “Would you tell me, please, what is a dime?” The book listed a coin known as ten cents.
He first met his bride of nine months, Catherine Bogle, a Scottish lass, whom he affectionately calls Kitty, when they were with the Dundee Players, a Scotch Repertory Theatre.
Fresh from seven years of war, Dick had no desire to act again. But when he found Kitty worrying about the actor who might play opposite her in “Claudia,” he worried too. And when he was asked if he wouldn’t reconsider and rejoin the group, he said he would, then added, casually, “Whenever you get around to it, I’d like to do something like ‘Claudia,’ ”
His face lights, when he talks of the farm he means to have. “That is what I’m working for. My farm. I’m a countryman. I could be happy as a farmer, with nothing else. But I could never be happy as an actor and nothing else.”
—BY MAXINE ARNOLD
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1950