Veteran Hollywood actor Richard Widmark has died aged 93. A former teacher, he found fame playing the bad guy in Kiss Of Death, and went on to appear in classics of the ‘film noir’ genre such as Pickup On South Street, Judgement At Nuremberg, and Don’t Bother To Knock with Marilyn Monroe.
The film was set overnight in a hotel. Monroe was cast as a troubled young woman, and Widmark was given a more sympathetic role as a world-weary drifter who comes to her aid. Made on a shoestring budget, the script is sometimes cliched. But there are some genuinely touching moments, and both stars are compelling to watch. Anne Bancroft also made her film debut here as a lounge singer.
Widmark, like many actors, found Monroe difficult to work with – yet the results rewarded their efforts. ‘We had a hell of a time getting her out of the dressing room and on to the set’, he recalled. ‘At first we thought she’d never get anything right…But something happened between the lens and the film, and when we looked at the rushes she had the rest of us knocked off the screen!’
Offscreen, Widmark shunned the limelight and lived quietly on a ranch. In 1986 he narrated a documentary on his erstwhile colleague, Marilyn Monroe: Beyond The Legend.
Read more about Richard Widmark’s life and career here
Watch a trailer for Don’t Bother To Knock here