Thu, 03/13/2014

Remembering Richard Coogan

Richard Coogan

We're sad to hear of the passing of actor Richard Coogan, who died Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at the age of 99. Coogan started his broadcast career as a radio announcer and began making appearances on television as early as 1945 as an all-around announcer and news anchor in the final days of World War II. From 1949-55 Coogan starred as "Captain Video" in the low budget DuMont hit, Captain Video and His Video Rangers, a favorite of children and adults alike. Coogan also enjoyed a busy Broadway stage career, appearing in "Alice in Arms," "Spring Again," and many other productions, and still maintained a healthy television career with a six-year run on the CBS daytime drama Love of Life. Coogan also played "Marshal Matthew Wayne" in the primetime western The Californians from 1957-59. 

Below are some selections from Coogan's 2003 Archive interview: 

On the wide appeal of Captain Video and His Video Rangers:

On being a hero to little kids:

On performing in a play with Mae West:

I did a play with Mae West, who was a great performer. My six-month old son, my wife brought him down to the theater, and I said, "Mae, could we have your picture with my son?" She said, "Darling, that’s all I need is to have my picture with a baby." I said, "well, it will never be shown, it’s just for him." So she relented and said, "okay, alright then. I’ll let you do it." So she’s in her full regalia with her big picture hat, and all her jewels sparkling, and my wife is holding my son, and he’s just dazzled by the diamonds, you know. And they were this far apart, and he just reached out like that, and it looked as though he was going for, you know, here -- and she said, "this young man doesn’t need any help at all, does he?" 

On TV Westerns like The Californians:

I’m very partial to westerns. I think that they should be a regular part of the TV schedule, especially to acquaint kids who never knew anything about western heroes or what went on. It can be likened to history, but they could get a lot of good heroes, which is very important we know to kids growing up, to have somebody with good character to emulate.  

On his acting style:

On his golf tournament for charity:

I run a golf tournament once a month for the benefit of the abused children at the McKinley Home in San Dimas. Everybody contributes a five-dollar check, no money, check only. And we’re over ten thousand dollars in five years on a once a month tournament, a best ball scramble. I’ve even put them in my will for something. I worked with those kids where they said, "you couldn’t handle these kids, they’re too much of a problem." I said, "I can do it." They lent me six kids, and in two hours they didn’t want to get back on the bus. And the worst kids in the place, they called me the next day and said, "what did you say to them? That boy that’s so incorrigible, he’s a model now. He’s done a complete turnaround, telling the other kids how they should shape up. What did you say?" I said. "it wasn’t me, it was golf." Because I knew once it got hold of them -- these kids had no good self-image, and they had it the minute they got into being able to control that ball, and do it. So I said, "do you want to play again? Well, then you got to change your ways." That charity is an ongoing thing with me.  

On advice to aspiring actors:

On how he'd like to be remembered:

As a good influence on kids. And as a natural actor.  


Watch Richard Coogan's full Archive interview and read his obituary in The Hollywood Reporter.