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.