Richard Greene May 22, 2010 17:38:07 GMT 1
Post by Laurence on May 22, 2010 17:38:07 GMT 1
For an entire generation Richard Greene was Robin Hood. Synonymous with children's television of the fifties and sixties, Robin Hood was the first television programme made at the behest of ITV mogul Lew Grade. The Adventures of Robin Hood enthralled a generation of children and spawned a number of imitations such as The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, Sir Francis Drake and The Adventures of William Tell. Shot at Nettlefold Studios at a rate of a 26-minute episode every four days, Hood managed to maintain a high standard of writing, employing blacklisted Hollywood writers who wrote under various aliases.
Richard Greene was born Richard Marius Joseph Greene in Plymouth, Devon, August 25, 1918. A Roman Catholic of Irish and Scottish ancestry and a descendant of four generations of actors he began his career at the tender age of three with walk-on parts for the Brandon Thomas Repertory Company in Glasgow and Edinburgh. After appearing in Terence Rattigan's French Without Tears, which brought him to the attention of Alexander Korda and Darryl F. Zanuck, he joined 20th Century Fox as a rival to MGM's Robert Taylor. His first film for Fox was John Ford's Four Men and a Prayer. He was still only twenty. He returned home to serve in the army during WW ll and was discharged in 1944 having reached the rank of lieutenant in the 27th Lancers, where he distinguished himself. Greene was invalided out of the Army in December 1944 and appeared in the stage plays Desert Rats and I Capture the Castle but found his promising Hollywood movie career was in stark decline.
Greene returned to Britain and desperate for work accepted a commercial for Brylcreem which was shown on the new ITV channel in 1955. Posters of him appeared all over London and he was dubbed 'The Brylcreem Boy' in spite of the fact that he was now 37 years old. That same year he was chosen by Lew Grade to appear in a new TV series. The Adventures of Robin Hood was Grade's first international money spinner and set the tone for most of the series' he would make throughout the next three decades.
Greene was married twice - first to actress Patricia Medina and secondly to Beatrix Summers in 1960. In 1962 Greene bought a 370-acre farm (Borleagh Manor, near Gorey in County Wexford, Ireland), where he lived in semi-retirement, as a farmer and a thoroughbred horse breeder; within five years he reached the 6th place on the list of top breeders of thoroughbreds in England and Ireland. He was also a member of the Royal Thames Yacht Club. However, the lure of the cameras was too much for him to resist and he continued to make guest appearances in films. He was still remembered by fans and received a large amount of fan mail.
Greene was coaxed back to the small screen on several occasions appearing as a special guest on The Morecambe and Wise Show (1970) the same year he gave a memorable performance in the ITV play A Man for Loving. His last appearance on television was in October 1982 appearing as Sir Robert Christie in the series Squadron for BBC1. In October Greene suffered a fall in his London home which left him with serious head injuries. He never fully recovered from these injuries and lived in seclusion on a private estate in Norfolk until June 1, 1985 when he died of a heart attack. A memorial service was held on July 2, 1985 at St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, London. Among those present were Douglas Fairbanks jnr and Dinah Sheridan. The news of his death made the front pages of most British newspapers.