Saturday, May 7, 2016

Bruce Ritchey

It's rare that a child star makes a smooth transition to adult stardom. Jody Foster and Patty Duke are two of the rare ones. It's usually more common for a young actor to become instantly famous only to see his/her star fade with age. Bruce Ritchey does not fall into either of those categories.

He only had one major film role, that being in the Judy Garland / Burt Lancaster drama, A Child Is Waiting, but what a role it was. As Reuben, the abandoned, mentally challenge boy searching for a parents love, Bruce Ritchey steals the movie away from its stars with his heartbreaking portrayal of a desperate boy caught up in a broken system - a system designed to help, but too old-fashioned to do so.

The movie itself is Not Very Famous...but should be. It takes place in a home for mentally challenged children and all the child performers in the film, with the exception of Bruce Ritchey, were actual victims of mental retardation. Released in 1963 and dated by the standards of today, A Child Is Waiting is a powerful look at the attitudes and beliefs of another era.

Even though it's been done in the past, this blog does not generally post on an actor based on one role, but the performance of Bruce Ritchey in this movie deserves to be seen and talked about. And after viewing, one will wonder as this author has as to what happened to this wonderful actor. So Mr. Ritchey, if you should stumble on to this site, please let us know where you've been. We'd be honored to hear from you.


  1. Thank you for posting this...just watched A Child Is Waiting and came upon this. Hope you do hear from him. Will be checking back from time to time.

  2. I just finished the movie and was trying to read more about it afterward. I came across your site and really like your mission of honoring the excellent work of underappreciated actors. There's an interesting old book I have from a thrift store that contains actor bios of forgotten Old Hollywood actors. Can't find it at the moment but when I do I'll report back to you since I think you'd appreciate it! Anyway, keep up the great work. Most noble of you!

    1. Thank you Elsie. I'm glad you enjoy my blog. Your book on old Hollywood actors sounds like something right up my alley. Look forward to hearing your report when you find it.

    2. Hey Mike, I found it! It's called Whatever Became Of... by Richard Lamparski, published in 1970. This is volume three, apparently.

  3. Sure thing! And thank you for creating such an awesome site. It's SUCH noble work on your part to honor the societal contributions of all these lesser-known folks.

  4. Not ALL of the children in the film were mentally challenged -- one example is Billy Mumy from "Lost In Space"!