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.

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