Richard Eastham

1916 - 2005

Another in the long line of 1950s and 1960s character actors whose face was oh-so familiar but not the name, Richard Eastham was originally headed for a musical career. He was born Dickinson Swift Eastham in Opelousas, Louisiana, on June 22, 1916. A student at Washington University, he was gifted with a fine sturdy baritone and performed with the St. Louis Grand Opera in the days before World War II. After finishing his wartime four-year army service, Eastham moved to New York and studied at the American Theatre Wing. His musical peak came after understudying singer Ezio Pinza as plantation owner "Emile DeBecque" in "South Pacific", sharing the stage in the role with the likes of Mary Martin and (later) Janet Blair while using the name Dickenson Eastham. He also co-starred in an Ethel Merman production of "Call Me Madam" in the early 1950s and made his minor non-singing film bow with Merman in the Fox film musical There's No Business Like Show Business (1954). His TV debut came with a

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