Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Richard Jaeckel

If you're looking for an actor that had both The Dirty Dozen and Baywatch on his resume, than you need to look no further than Richard Jaeckel. With over fifty years in television and movies, this overlooked character actor succeeded in a business that many can't find steady work in. And had he not died of Cancer in 1997, chances are he would have continued doing solid work in both mediums for many more years.

His roles were often supporting or smaller, even though they seemed much bigger. This may have been due to his boyish face and stocky build, which provided a much needed contrast to the good-looking, acting-on-the-surface, perfect body types that have always polluted the industry.

However, he had more than just an interesting look. He had the talent to go with that and his subtle charm and easy going way always managed to tug at your heart whether he was playing a good guy or bad. From his early work in Guadalcanal Diary and Come Back Little Sheba,  to his Oscar nominated performance in Sometimes a Great Notion, Richard Jaeckel proved that you didn't have to be a movie star to stand out in a picture. And stand out he did. Time and time again.

Any person either starting out, or still hanging on in the business can only benefit from watching the work of Richard Jaeckel. What they will find is an actor that put what was needed to make the scene work ahead of his own ego. And in doing that he made his own performance and the projects he was in, much better.


  1. Jaeckel was always a favorite. A spunky little guy who you wouldn't want to give any guff to. Very good in The Dirty Dozen, 3:10 t Yuma and Chisum with John Wayne.

  2. Thanks, Tom. I forgot about Chisum. He was very good in that. I'm embarrassed to say that I have not seen either version of 3:10 to Yuma, but I have read the short story and it is excellent.