- Date of Birth:
- March 20, 1929
Richard Dysart (born Richard Allen Dystart on March 20, 1929 in Boston, Massachusetts) was an American actor. Richard was born in Boston but grew up in Maine. He earned a Master’s degree in Speech Communication at Emerson College. He also served four years in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. During his time at Emerson, he began a life-long love with acting by participating in the school’s theater productions. After college, he moved to New York City in 1956, taking on theater roles while working multiple odd jobs. He began to work in the early years of television, appearing on shows like the historical drama You Were There with Walter Cronkite. Throughout the 60’s and early 70’s, Richard had roles in movies Wall Street, Mask, and John Carpenter’s The Thing, among others. The late-1980’s saw his greatest professional success when he was cast as Leland McKenzie in the hit TV series, L.A. Law. The series ran until the mid-90’s. Richard started tapering off his acting duties during that period, working sparsely. He would reprise his role of Leland for the 2002 L.A. Law TV movie, quietly retiring afterwards.
Best Known For:
Richard is known for his portrayal of Leland McKenzie on the popular television series, L.A. Law.
Richard’s hobbies included writing, art, cooking, and ocean swimming, as he was a certified open water diver. He credits the radio for inspiring not just his love of drama but as the motivation behind his studdies in Speech Communication. He married his third wife, artist Kathryn Jacobi, in 1987. They remained married until his passing. Richard died in his home in Santa Monica, California on April 5, 2015.