Richard Crenna

Actor / Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Richard Crenna (1926-2003) talks about his early years as a busy radio actor in Hollywood. He speaks fondly about the radio community and his work with some of the top comic talents of the era. Crenna lists his various regular roles in radio including teenager "Oogie Pringle" in "A Date with Judy," which he demonstrates briefly. He describes developing a sense of comic rhythm in radio that influenced his later work as an actor and director in television. He discusses in great detail his appearance as "Walter Denton" in the sitcom Our Miss Brooks, "Luke McCoy" in the rural sitcom The Real McCoys and "James Slattery" in the political drama Slattery's People. Crenna also speaks of his work as a director, notably helming episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. He describes his later television work executive-producing Make Room for Granddaddy, and appearing in the miniseries Centennial, the sitcom All's Fair, the sitcom It Takes Two, and the telefilm The Rape of Richard Beck, the latter of which won him an Emmy Award. He also talks about his feature films, working with director Robert Wise in "The Sand Pebbles" and director Lawrence Kasdan in "Body Heat." He then talks about playing the role for which he is most identified, "Colonel Trautman" in the "Rambo" movies.  Finally, he briefly discusses his recurring character on the television drama series Judging Amy. Henry Colman conducted the interview on April 3, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA.

"We make all these jokes about every waiter and waitress in L.A. is an actor. They have to be waiters and waitresses, they have to make a living so they can follow their dream. My advice to them is: if you want to do it this badly hang in there, but make sure you can pay the rent."

Highlights
Richard Crenna on the writers of The Real McCoys, and on his character "Luke McCoy"
04:43
Richard Crenna on directing Jim Nabors on The Andy Griffith Show
01:29
Richard Crenna on acting in Centennial
07:37
Richard Crenna on starring in the short-lived Norman Lear sitcom All's Fair with Bernadette Peters
05:45
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on realizing he wanted to be an actor; on his activities during World War II
On appearing on various radio shows while he was in college; on appearing on the radio show "A Date with Judy"; on appearing on George Burns and Gracie Allen's radio show, and on working with Lionel Barrymore in radio
On working with Mickey Rooney on the radio show "The Hardy Family"; on Hollywood in the 1940s

Chapter 2

On playing "Walter Denton" on Our Miss Brooks starring Eve Arden, and on appearing on I Love Lucy; on working with, and learning from Eve Arden on Our Miss Brooks; on the show being produced by Desilu
On specific episodes of Our Miss Brooks, and on what the show was about; on leaving Our Miss Brooks, and on the end of the series
On being cast by Sheldon Leonard as "Luke McCoy" on The Real McCoys, and on working with Walter Brennan; on the format and story of The Real McCoys, and on the writing of the show

Chapter 3

On the writers of The Real McCoys, and on his character "Luke McCoy"; on the end of The Real McCoys; on specific episodes of The Real McCoys
On the production of The Real McCoys, and on directing episodes; on Danny Thomas producing The Real McCoys
On the Hollywood Blacklist; on directing The Andy Griffith Show, specifically the classic episode "Opie the Birdman," which featured Ron Howard as "Opie Taylor"

Chapter 4

On directing Jim Nabors on The Andy Griffith Show; on playing James Slattery on Slattery's People; on working with Ed Asner on Slattery's People, and on the end of the show
On directing Wendy and Me, produced by George Burns and starring Connie Stevens; on directing No Time for Sergeants, and on working with producer Bill Orr; on directing Lou Grant, starring Ed Asner
On directing The Rockford Files, starring James Garner and guest-starring Rita Moreno; on directing a pilot for Marie Osmond; on directing pilots for series, and on the craft of directing for television

Chapter 5

On producing Make Room for Granddaddy, starring Danny Thomas; on Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. guest-starring on Make Room for Granddaddy, and on previous experiences with the two men; on directing Turnabout
On juggling being a producer, actor, and director; on appearing in the made-for-television movies Thief, Footsteps, and Double Indemnity
On appearing on The Lily Tomlin Comedy Hour; on appearing in several made-for-television movies

Chapter 6

On acting in Centennial; on starring in the short-lived Norman Lear sitcom All's Fair with Bernadette Peters
On starring in It Takes Two with Patty Duke; on his philosophy of acting, and on the cast of It Takes Two; on working with Steve McQueen in the feature "The Sand Pebbles," and on appearing in the feature "Body Heat"

Chapter 7

On appearing in the feature film "Rambo" with Sylvester Stallone; on appearing in the feature film "Hot Shots Part Deux"; on appearing in the "Frank Janek" series of made-for-television movies
On directing a pilot with Andy Griffith; on starring in The Rape of Richard Beck; on playing H. Ross Perot in On Wings of Eagles
On appearing in Gabriel's Fire, and on playing Ronald Reagan; on appearing in Judging Amy with Tyne Daly; on advice to aspiring actors
Shows

All's Fair

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Richard Crenna on starring in the short-lived Norman Lear sitcom All's Fair with Bernadette Peters
05:45

Andy Griffith Show, The

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Richard Crenna on directing The Andy Griffith Show, specifically the classic episode "Opie the Birdman," which featured Ron Howard as "Opie Taylor"
06:54
Richard Crenna on directing Jim Nabors on The Andy Griffith Show
01:29

Centennial

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Richard Crenna on acting in Centennial
07:37

Double Indemnity

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Richard Crenna on starring in a television remake of Double Indemnity
00:39

Double Solitaire

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Richard Crenna on appearing in Double Solitaire
01:13

Footsteps

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Richard Crenna on starring in the made-for-television movie Footsteps
01:54

Girl Named Sooner, A

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Richard Crenna on appearing in A Girl Named Sooner, directed by Delbert Mann
00:44

Honky Tonk

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Richard Crenna on appearing in Honky Tonk
00:44

I Love Lucy

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Richard Crenna on playing "Walter Denton" on Our Miss Brooks starring Eve Arden, and on appearing on I Love Lucy
06:28

It Takes Two

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Richard Crenna on starring in It Takes Two with Patty Duke
03:23
Richard Crenna on working with Helen Hunt and Anthony Edwards on It Takes Two, and on the end of the show
02:17
Richard Crenna on working with Patty Duke on It Takes Two
01:23

Judging Amy

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Richard Crenna on appearing in Judging Amy with Tyne Daly
02:15

Lily Tomlin Comedy Hour

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Richard Crenna on appearing on The Lily Tomlin Comedy Hour with Richard Pryor
02:48

Lou Grant

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Richard Crenna on directing Lou Grant, starring Ed Asner
04:09

Make Room for Granddaddy

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Richard Crenna on producing Make Room for Granddaddy, starring Danny Thomas
05:30
Richard Crenna on Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. guest-starring on Make Room for Granddaddy, and on previous experiences with the two men
03:44

Nightmare

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Richard Crenna on appearing in Nightmare with Patty Duke
01:46

No Time for Sergeants

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Richard Crenna on directing No Time for Sergeants (misidentified here as "No Room for Sergeants"), and on working with producer Bill Orr
02:03

On Wings of Eagles

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Richard Crenna on playing H. Ross Perot in On Wings of Eagles
02:52

Our Miss Brooks

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Richard Crenna on playing "Walter Denton" on Our Miss Brooks starring Eve Arden, and on appearing on I Love Lucy
06:29
Richard Crenna on working with, and learning from Eve Arden on Our Miss Brooks
02:39
Richard Crenna on Desilu producing Our Miss Brooks
03:05
Richard Crenna on specific episodes of Our Miss Brooks, and on what the show was about
04:38
Richard Crenna on leaving Our Miss Brooks, and on the end of the series
02:16

Rape of Richard Beck, The

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Richard Crenna on starring in The Rape of Richard Beck
04:32

Real McCoys, The

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Richard Crenna on being cast by Sheldon Leonard as "Luke McCoy" on The Real McCoys, and on working with Walter Brennan
07:13
Richard Crenna on the format and story of The Real McCoys, and on the writing of the show
02:39
Richard Crenna on the writers of The Real McCoys, and on his character "Luke McCoy"
04:43
Richard Crenna on the family dynamic of The Real McCoys, and on the death of Kate McCoy, played by Kathleen Nolan, on the show
02:11
Richard Crenna on the end of The Real McCoys
03:11
Richard Crenna on specific episodes of The Real McCoys
01:57
Richard Crenna on the production of The Real McCoys, and on directing episodes
04:42
Richard Crenna on Danny Thomas producing The Real McCoys
01:53

Rockford Files, The

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Richard Crenna on directing The Rockford Files, starring James Garner and guest-starring Rita Moreno
00:37

Shootout in a One Dog Town

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Richard Crenna on appearing in Shootout in a One Dog Town
01:31

Slattery's People

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Richard Crenna on playing James Slattery on Slattery's People
04:17
Richard Crenna on working with Ed Asner on Slattery's People, and on the stories on the show
04:04
Richard Crenna on the cancellation of Slattery's People
02:26

Thief

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Richard Crenna on starring in the made-for-television movie Thief with Angie Dickinson
02:35

Turnabout

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Richard Crenna on directing Turnabout
01:32

Wendy and Me

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Richard Crenna on directing Wendy and Me, produced by George Burns and starring Connie Stevens
04:11
Topics

Advice

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Richard Crenna on advice to aspiring actors
03:14

Historic Events and Social Change

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Richard Crenna on his activities during World War II
01:58

Hollywood Blacklist

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Richard Crenna on the Hollywood Blacklist
02:40

Industry Crossroads

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Richard Crenna on the Hollywood Blacklist
02:40

Television Industry

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Richard Crenna on the Hollywood Blacklist
02:40
Richard Crenna on advice to aspiring actors
03:14

War

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Richard Crenna on his activities during World War II
01:58

World War II

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Richard Crenna on his activities during World War II
01:58
Professions

Actor

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Richard Crenna on his philosophy of acting
02:25
Richard Crenna on advice to aspiring actors
03:14

Directors

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Richard Crenna on directing pilots for series
01:17
Richard Crenna on the craft of directing for television
01:56

Performers

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Richard Crenna on his philosophy of acting
02:25
Richard Crenna on advice to aspiring actors
03:14
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Richard Crenna on playing "Walter Denton" on Our Miss Brooks
19:07
Richard Crenna on directing The Andy Griffith Show, specifically the classic episode "Opie the Birdman," which featured Ron Howard as "Opie Taylor"
06:54
Richard Crenna on directing Wendy and Me, produced by George Burns and starring Connie Stevens
04:11
Richard Crenna on directing No Time for Sergeants (misidentified here as "No Room for Sergeants"), and on working with producer Bill Orr
02:03
Richard Crenna on producing Make Room for Granddaddy, starring Danny Thomas
09:14
Richard Crenna on directing Turnabout
01:32
Richard Crenna on starring in the short-lived Norman Lear sitcom All's Fair with Bernadette Peters
05:45
Richard Crenna on It Takes Two
07:16

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Richard Crenna on directing The Rockford Files, starring James Garner and guest-starring Rita Moreno
00:38

Drama Series

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Richard Crenna on playing James Slattery on Slattery's People
10:47
Richard Crenna on directing Lou Grant, starring Ed Asner
04:09

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Richard Crenna on appearing on The Lily Tomlin Comedy Hour with Richard Pryor
02:48

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Richard Crenna on starring in the made-for-television movie Thief with Angie Dickinson
04:13
Richard Crenna on starring in the made-for-television movie Footsteps
01:54
Richard Crenna on starring in a television remake of Double Indemnity
00:39
Richard Crenna on appearing in Nightmare with Patty Duke
01:46
Richard Crenna on appearing in Shootout in a One Dog Town
01:31
Richard Crenna on appearing in Honky Tonk
00:44
Richard Crenna on appearing in Double Solitaire
01:13
Richard Crenna on appearing in A Girl Named Sooner, directed by Delbert Mann
00:44
Richard Crenna on appearing in the "Frank Janek" series of made-for-television movies
02:46

Western Series

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Richard Crenna on playing "Luke McCoy" on The Real McCoys
09:52
Richard Crenna on playing "Luke McCoy" on The Real McCoys
18:37
People

Gracie Allen

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Richard Crenna on appearing on George Burns and Gracie Allen's radio show, and on working with Lionel Barrymore in radio
06:03

Eve Arden

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Richard Crenna on playing "Walter Denton" on Our Miss Brooks starring Eve Arden, and on appearing on I Love Lucy
06:29
Richard Crenna on working with, and learning from Eve Arden on Our Miss Brooks
02:39

Edward Asner

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Richard Crenna on working with Ed Asner on Slattery's People, and on the stories on the show
03:54
Richard Crenna on directing Lou Grant starring Ed Asner
04:09

Walter Brennan

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Richard Crenna on being cast by Sheldon Leonard as "Luke McCoy" on The Real McCoys, and on working with Walter Brennan
07:13

George Burns

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Richard Crenna on appearing on George Burns and Gracie Allen's radio show, and on working with Lionel Barrymore in radio
06:03
Richard Crenna on directing Wendy and Me, produced by George Burns and starring Connie Stevens
05:11

Sammy Davis, Jr.

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Richard Crenna on Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. guest-starring on Make Room for Granddaddy, and on previous experiences with the two men
03:44

Patty Duke

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Richard Crenna on appearing in Nightmare with Patty Duke
01:46
Richard Crenna on working with Patty Duke on It Takes Two
01:22

James Garner

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Richard Crenna on directing The Rockford Files starring James Garner and guest-starring Rita Moreno
00:37

Andy Griffith

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Richard Crenna on directing The Andy Griffith Show, specifically the classic episode "Opie the Birdman," which featured Ron Howard as "Opie Taylor"
06:54
Richard Crenna on directing a pilot with Andy Griffith
00:53

Ron Howard

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Richard Crenna on directing The Andy Griffith Show, specifically the classic episode "Opie the Birdman," which featured Ron Howard as "Opie Taylor"
06:54

Helen Hunt

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Richard Crenna on working with Helen Hunt and Anthony Edwards on It Takes Two, and on the end of the show
02:17

Norman Lear

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Richard Crenna on starring in the short-lived Norman Lear sitcom All's Fair with Bernadette Peters
05:45

Sheldon Leonard

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Richard Crenna on being cast by Sheldon Leonard as "Luke McCoy" on The Real McCoys, and on working with Walter Brennan
07:13

Delbert Mann

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Richard Crenna on appearing in A Girl Named Sooner, directed by Delbert Mann
00:44

Rita Moreno

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Richard Crenna on directing The Rockford Files starring James Garner and guest-starring Rita Moreno
00:37

Jim Nabors

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Richard Crenna on directing Jim Nabors on The Andy Griffith Show
01:29

Marie Osmond

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Richard Crenna on directing a pilot for Marie Osmond
02:36

Bernadette Peters

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Richard Crenna on starring in the short-lived Norman Lear sitcom All's Fair with Bernadette Peters
05:45

Richard Pryor

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Richard Crenna on appearing on The Lily Tomlin Comedy Hour with Richard Pryor
02:48

Ronald Reagan

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Richard Crenna on playing Ronald Reagan
03:29

Mickey Rooney

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Richard Crenna on working with Mickey Rooney on the radio show "The Hardy Family"
02:53

Frank Sinatra

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Richard Crenna on Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. guest-starring on Make Room for Granddaddy, and on previous experiences with the two men
03:44

Sylvester Stallone

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Richard Crenna on appearing in the feature film "Rambo" with Sylvester Stallone
04:00

Danny Thomas

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Richard Crenna on Danny Thomas producing The Real McCoys
01:53
Richard Crenna on forming a production company with Danny Thomas and doing the pilot Captain Newman, M.D
01:49
Richard Crenna on producing Make Room for Granddaddy, starring Danny Thomas
05:30

Lily Tomlin

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Richard Crenna on appearing on The Lily Tomlin Comedy Hour with Richard Pryor
02:48

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