MEMORIES OF RICHARD BASEHART
In this section I hope to collect memories, stories and anecdotes about Richard Basehart from his family, friends and fans.
Debbie has started our account of our trip to meet with Diana Basehart, her daughter Gayla, and a couple of friends. And I was able to contact Warren Stevens so he came.
Family, friends and fans talking about our favorite subject.
From left to right are Warren, Debbie, Gayla, Diana, Steph, Bobby and Julie
Diana said that Richard loved his kids very much. Diana made a point of asking about Jack and even said "Richard dearly loved his son". Gayla also said what a great dad he was and how, when she wanted to go to this one school (Westlake) and didn't do very well, Richard would hide her progress reports from Diana in his jacket pockets. He would keep them for four days and then tear them up. He would also keep chocolate in his pockets for the girls because Diana wouldn't let them have sweets.
Jenna wasn't there but she told her mother to specifically tell us that "Daddy was my best friend."
Every single person we've talked to about Richard speaks of his generosity. They generally start out with "oh, he was such a generous man". Diana said that he was extremely generous with food because of his time in the orphanage. He went hungry so many times that that carried over to his later years. One day Diana came home and found Richard making a souffle for the plumber. She asked whether the time would be going on the bill. We had heard about his cooking and Diana calls him a "Gourmet cook". He apparently did all the cooking. Diana said she wasn't allowed in the kitchen unless it was something simple. He didn't like cleaning up, though.
At Christmas he would give people whole turkeys not just small baskets of food.
On Thursday Steph got a call on her cell phone from Warren Stevens. He had called and left a message at our hotel but we didn't get it so he tried her cell. He wanted to meet with us too so Steph mentioned that we were meeting Diana on Friday at the Woodland Hills Marriot and asked if he would like to meet with us there as well. He said yes. When we got there at 11:30, Bobby Madison, Diana's very dear friend, met us. Diana, Gayla and another friend of Diana's, Julie, met us a couple of minutes later. Diana said that Jenna wanted to come along too but she had to do something with the animals. Rumors have been that Diana is a recluse. That's not really true. They have had some incidents with stalkers that have made Diana very leery. Once she realized we were okay, it was like we were old friends.
Gayla was the one who suggested that we go across the street to PF Chang's for lunch. We got a booth and all crammed in. Steph left a message for Warren Stevens to come to the restaurant. Around noon, I see this white- haired gentleman wandering around. Now, he doesn't have a clue what Steph or I look like, he's never met Bobby or Julie, he hasn't seen Gayla since she was a little girl (he's her godfather) and he hasn't seen Diana in 18 years. I see him and go get him and bring him back to the table. Oh, my goodness, that was a hoot! Diana and Warren were carrying on like magpies. Diana let out a holler when she realized that she first had a crush on Warren Stevens when she did a movie called "Intent to Kill". She even yelled it out in the restaurant. "It was Intent to Kill! Oh, my God!" They then embarked on a trip down memory lane that was very enlightening. Gayla enjoyed learning some things about her parents she didn't know.
Warren was the one who introduced Diana to Richard. Richard really wanted to meet her but he was so shy that he couldn't bring himself to call her. So Warren did it with Richard standing next to him, telling him what to say. They finally met in the parking lot of the Beverly Hilton.
Gayla asked me how I came to like her dad and if it was during Voyage. I said that I had discovered her dad in a movie called "The Good Die Young" when I was about 8. I said that even at that age, I could appreciate a fine looking man. She said that "even though he was my dad, I think he was fine looking too".
Gayla had to get back to Santa Barbara so she needed to leave around 1pm. Diana and Gayla were very sorry to have to leave because they really were enjoying themselves. It was like a bunch of women (and the token man) sitting around the table, dishing on a great man. At one point we brought up Terry Becker and Diana got all excited. About David Hedison she said "oh, he was such a good friend". She asked what he was doing now. I mentioned that he does some guest appearances and small theatre in the East and she said "it's good to know he's still working"". She didn't get nearly as excited about him as she did about Terry Becker though. As a matter of fact, she mentioned getting together with Terry for a Voyage reunion.
After the other ladies left, Warren Stevens, Steph and I went back to the Marriot and chatted. WS actually brought up the subject of Richard's alcoholism. He said he tried to get Richard into AA but Richard said that wasn't for him. Again, Warren Stevens did acknowledge the drinking problem but said that didn't come about until later--not during Voyage. He said that during that time, the thing to do was have a cocktail or two.
Warren Stevens said during lunch that all Richard wanted to be was an actor; he didn't want to be a "star". He just wanted to act and to do the best job that he could. Diana said he didn't "play the game". Both he and Diana said that's why he got the ulcer's. It had nothing to do with drinking and everything to do with trying to make Voyage the best it could be despite Irwin Allen and the scripts. He was very frustrated with the show but he never quit.
Warren Stevens also told us a story about taking Richard to Richard Widmark's ranch. WS has a pilot's license and has logged over 10,000 hours so he's a very accomplished pilot. He had a small Cessna 150 and there was a landing strip near Dick Widmark's place. Well, he was going to fly himself and Richard to Dick's place. He and Richard had a few martinis so Richard was fairly agreeable until he got to the plane. He was not going to fly in that thing. Stevens finally got Richard to go and they went. However, when they landed at Dick's place, Richard was scared to death--so much so that he couldn't talk. Stevens said that he needed alcohol, however Dick and his wife, Jean, didn't drink. Jean drove over to the next ranch to get some alcohol for Richard. When it came time to leave, Richard was not going to fly in that plane again so WS had to fly back to the airport, pick up his car and drive back to Dick's to pick him up. (Richard Widmark is still alive. He's about 4 months younger than RB. His wife was Jean Hazelwood and she's deceased. He remarried in '99)
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