Richard Denning

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Richard Denning
Patricia Donahue Richard Denning Michael Shayne.JPG
Denning as Michael Shayne with Patricia Donahue as Lucy Hamilton.
BornLouis Albert Heindrich Denninger, Jr.
(1914-03-27)March 27, 1914
Poughkeepsie, New York, U.S.
DiedOctober 11, 1998(1998-10-11) (aged 84)
Escondido, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
Resting place
Maui Veterans Cemetery, Makawao, Hawaii
Years active1937–1989
Spouse(s)Patricia Leffingwell (1986–1998; his death)
Evelyn Ankers (1942–1985; her death)
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This article is about the American actor. For the British author, see Richard J. Denning.
Richard Denning
Patricia Donahue Richard Denning Michael Shayne.JPG
Denning as Michael Shayne with Patricia Donahue as Lucy Hamilton.
BornLouis Albert Heindrich Denninger, Jr.
(1914-03-27)March 27, 1914
Poughkeepsie, New York, U.S.
DiedOctober 11, 1998(1998-10-11) (aged 84)
Escondido, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
Resting place
Maui Veterans Cemetery, Makawao, Hawaii
Years active1937–1989
Spouse(s)Patricia Leffingwell (1986–1998; his death)
Evelyn Ankers (1942–1985; her death)

Richard Denning (March 27, 1914 – October 11, 1998)[1] was an American actor best known for starring in science fiction films of the 1950s, including Unknown Island (1948), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Target Earth (1954), Day the World Ended (1955), Creature with the Atom Brain (1955), and The Black Scorpion (1957). Denning also appeared in the film An Affair to Remember (1957) with Cary Grant and on radio with Lucille Ball, as George and Liz Cugat, in My Favorite Husband (1948–1951), the forerunner of television's I Love Lucy.


Denning was born as Louis Albert Heindrich Denninger, Jr., in Poughkeepsie, New York. He became an actor, best known for his recurring starring roles in various science fiction and horror films of the 1950s. In later life, he had a recurring role as the fictitious governor of Hawaii, Paul Jameson, in the CBS television crime drama series, Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980), starring Jack Lord. He also starred as the title character in the detective series Michael Shayne (1960–1961) and shared title billing with Barbara Britton in the detective series Mr. and Mrs. North (1952–1954). He was later cast as Dr. Greg Graham in the 1959 series, The Flying Doctor.

He appeared three times on the ABC religion anthology series Crossroads, as Dr. Ira Langston in "Chinese Checkers" (1955) and as the Reverend George Bolton in "The Bowery Bishop" and as the Reverend Lloyd E. Williams in "The Pure White Orchid" (both 1956).[2]

Denning's wife Evelyn Ankers

According to Denning, his military service during World War II in the United States Navy, effectively disrupted his acting career, and after his discharge from military service it would be another year and a half before Paramount Pictures offered Denning any more acting work. During that time period, Denning and his family lived in a mobile home that he alternately parked at Malibu and Palm Springs. His period of unemployment ended when he was hired to star on the radio opposite Lucille Ball in My Favorite Husband.[3] Denning later appeared in several 'B' crime drama films before starring in a number of science fiction and horror films. In 1957, he began the first of what would become a steady series of television appearances, usually as a supporting character, though he did star briefly in two television dramas, The Flying Doctor (1959), and Michael Shayne (1960–61).

In 1968, Denning completed his last film, a comedy titled "I Sailed to Tahiti with an All-Girl Crew." Semi-retired and living on the island of Maui with his wife, Denning was contacted by producer Leonard Freeman, offered him the supporting role as the governor of Hawaii in the TV detective series, "Hawaii Five-O." In order to persuade Denning to sign on in the recurring role, Freeman guaranteed Denning five-hour days and a four-day work week.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Denning was married to 1940s horror film queen Evelyn Ankers (co-star of The Wolf Man, Ghost of Frankenstein and Son of Dracula), who retired from films at the age of thirty-two after they were married. After Ankers' death from cancer in 1985, Denning remarried, to Patricia Leffingwell. Denning and Ankers are buried at Maui Veterans Cemetery in Makawao, Hawaii.[1]


Film and television
1937Hold 'em NavyMidshipman Jepson
1937Wells Fargouncredited
1938Buccaneer, TheThe BuccaneerCaptain Reid
1938Big Broadcast of 1938, TheThe Big Broadcast of 1938Officer, S.S. Giganticuncredited
1938Her Jungle LovePilot
1938College SwingStudentuncredited
1938You and Me
1938Texans, TheThe TexansCpl. Parker
1938Give Me a SailorSailoruncredited
1938Campus ConfessionsBuck Hogan
1938King of AlcatrazHarry Vay
1938Touchdown ArmyCadetuncredited
1938Arkansas Traveler, TheThe Arkansas Traveler
1938Illegal TrafficSilk Patterson
1938Say It in FrenchElevator Passengeruncredited
1939AmbushPolice Garage Mechanic
1939Persons in HidingPowder, Henchman
1939King of ChinatownFirst Intern
1939I'm From MissouriPlane Pilot
1939Sudden MoneyJohnny Jordan
1939Union PacificReporteruncredited
1939Hotel Imperialuncredited
1939Some Like It HotMr. Weems
1939Undercover DoctorFrank Oliver
1939Gracie Allen Murder Case, TheThe Gracie Allen Murder CaseFred
1939Grand Jury SecretsMurph
1939Million Dollar LegsHunk Jordan
1939Star Maker, TheThe Star MakerAssistant Dance Directoruncredited
1939Television SpyDick Randolph
1939Disputed PassageStudentuncredited
1939Our Neighbors – The CartersPilotuncredited
1939GeronimoLt. Larned
1939Night of Nights, TheThe Night of NightsCall Boy
1940Emergency SquadDan Barton
1940Parole FixerBruce Eaton
1940Farmer's Daughter, TheThe Farmer's DaughterDennis Crane
1940Queen of the MobCharlie Webster
1940Those Were the Days!Briggs
1940Golden GlovesBill Crane
1940Northwest Mounted PoliceConst. Thornton
1940Love Thy Neighbor
1941Adam Had Four SonsJack Stoddard (older)
1941West Point WidowLt. Rhody Graves
1942Beyond the Blue HorizonJackra the Magnificent
1942Glass Key, TheThe Glass KeyTaylor Henry
1942Quiet Please, MurderHal McByrne
1942Ice-Capades RevueJeff
1944Golden Gloves
1946Black BeautyBill Dixon
1946The Fabulous SuzanneRex
1947Seven Were SavedCaptain Allen Danton
1948Caged FuryBlaney Lewis
1948Lady at MidnightPeter Wiggins
1948Unknown IslandJohn Fairbanks
1948DisasterBill Wyatt
1950No Man of Her OwnHugh Harkness
1950Harbor of Missing MenJim 'Brooklyn' Gannon
1950Double DealBuzz Doyle
1951Bigelow Theatre, TheThe Bigelow TheatreTV series, episode: "The Hot Welcome"
1951Secrets of BeautyDr. John Waldron
1951Flame of StamboulLarry Wilson
1951Insurance InvestigatorTom Davison
1951Week-End with FatherDon Adams
1952OkinawaLt. Phillips
1952Scarlet AngelMalcolm Bradley
1952 - 1953Mr. and Mrs. NorthJerry NorthTV series on CBS, 56 episodes total
1952Cavalcade of AmericaTV series episode: "The Man Who Took a Chance"
1952Hangman's KnotLee Kemper
1953Target Hong KongMike Lassiter
1953Ford Television TheatreDr. James BakerTV series, episode: "The Doctor's Downfall"
195349th Man, TheThe 49th ManChief Investigator Paul Reagan
1953Glass Web, TheThe Glass WebDave Markson
1954JivaroJerry Russell
1954Ford Television TheatreGeorge BeagleTV series, episode: "The Legal Beagles"
1954Battle of Rogue RiverStacey Wyatt
1954Creature from the Black LagoonDr. Mark Williams
1954Schlitz Playhouse of StarsTV series, episode: "Tapu"
1954Mr. and Mrs. NorthJerry NorthTV series on NBC, 56 episodes total (both networks)
1954Target EarthFrank Brooks
1955TV Reader's DigestDon WilkersonTV series, episode: "I'll Pick More Daisies"
1955Ford Television TheatreTim BarkerTV series, episode: "All That Glitters"
1955Air StrikeCmdr. Stanley Blair
1955Magnificent Matador, TheThe Magnificent MatadorMark Russell
1955Creature with the Atom BrainDr. Chet Walker
1955Gun That Won the West, TheThe Gun That Won the West'Dakota' Jack Gaines
1955Crooked Web, TheThe Crooked WebFrank Daniel
1955the World Ended, DayDay the World EndedRick
1956CheyenneCapt. QuinlanTV series, episode: "Decision"
1956Celebrity PlayhouseWilliam BroderTV series, episode: "Bachelor Husband"
1956Oklahoma Woman, TheThe Oklahoma WomanSteve Ward
1956Girls in PrisonRev. Fulton
1956CrossroadsDr. Ira LangstonTV series, episode: "Chinese Checkers"
1956CrossroadsRev. George BoltonTV series, episode: "The Bowery Bishop"
1956CrossroadsReverend Lloyd E. WilliamsTV series, episode: "The Pure White Orchid"
1956Assignment RedheadMajor Gregory Keen
1956Ford Television TheatreBarney MaddockTV series, episode: "Double Trouble
1956Ford Television TheatreDavy JonesTV series, episode: "On the Beach"
1957Ford Television TheatreCharlie FryeTV series, episode: "The Idea Man"
1957Affair to Remember, AnAn Affair to RememberKenneth Bradley
1957Buckskin Lady, TheThe Buckskin LadyDr. Bruce Merritt
1957Black Scorpion, TheThe Black ScorpionHank Scott
1957General Electric TheaterDr. Mark AndrewsTV series, episode: "Eyes of a Stranger"
1958General Electric TheaterJim KendallTV series, episode: "Letters from Cairo"
1958Lady Takes a Flyer, TheThe Lady Takes a FlyerAl Reynolds
1958Studio OneJack MarshallTV series, episode: "The Laughing Willow"
1958Desert HellSgt. Major Pierre Benet
1959Flying Doctor, TheThe Flying DoctorDr. Greg GrahamTV series, 39 episodes
1960No Greater Love
1960–1961Michael ShayneMichael ShayneTV series, 32 episodes
1963Going My WayLarryTV series, episode: "Don't Forget to Say Goodbye"
1963Twice-Told TalesJonathan Maulle
1964–1965KarenSteve ScottTV series, 27 episodes
1966Alice Through the Looking GlassAlice's Father
1968I Sailed to Tahiti With an All Girl CrewCommodore
1968I SpyDelaneyTV series, episode: "This Guy Smith"
1968–1980Hawaii Five-OGovernor Paul JamesonTV series, 69 episodes
1974McCloudEdgar HamiltonTV series, episode: "A Cowboy in Paradise"
1980Asphalt Cowboy, TheThe Asphalt CowboyCharles Van Heuran


  1. ^ a b Richard Denning at Find a Grave
  2. ^ "Richard Denning". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  3. ^ Thomas, Bob (4 Sep 1968). "Richard Denning Tells About His Island Life". Ocala Star-Banner. 
  4. ^ Hefferman, Harold (20 July 1970). "Denning High on Hawaii". The Pittsburgh Press. 

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