MEMORIES OF RICHARD BASEHART
In this section I hope to collect memories, stories and anecdotes about Richard Basehart from his family, friends and fans.
Diana played a tape for us during a phone conversation. It is a recording that Mel Torme made for the funeral since he was unable to attend. It is quite touching and shows what a lot of people felt about Richard Basehart.
Click here to here a Real Player file of the recording. (780K)
Diana also played a tape of a recording that Richard did for a group of people. If you can catch it. He says that he was requested to read it "for some unknown" reason. Then he and others laughed.
Click here to here a Real Player file of the recording. (207K)
Some Memories from My Haley
Richard taught me the art and craft of writing. Diana would invite me to dinner 2-3 times a week and Diana and her friends would do their thing. Richard and I would walk along the garden in comfortable silence. I remember one time I remember feeling and hearing the crunch of the leaves and things under my feet feeling so warm in his presence.
He said," I am thinking about a woman. She is middle aged. She is wearing a dirty red sweat shirt. She has a grocery cart. Her home is under the shrubbery near the VA center on Wiltshire Blvd. She has the personality of a Gila Monster. Now tell me about her."
I would have to give him her background, make up a whole story, name and everything. He would do some corrections and ask me some questions. Make me build some character. He helped me with story development. I never took creative writing.
He made it quite challenging and extremely difficult. He didn't let me get away with anything. He taught me about life.
I asked her how they met.
"I went to Alex's, manager's son's wedding. I was at the buffet table trying to decide what to eat. There was this woman behind me and she told me, "Now you pick this , and you pick that and follow me to my table." Now I'm thinking.' OOOO--Kay! I followed her and she sat between me and this gentleman. I finally had the opportunity to look around her to see who he was. I saw who it was and I looked at him and said, "MY! You're Richard Basehart! I love you!"
He just sat there in his quiet gentlemanly way and smiled.
Richard began to talk. You're coming to dinner Thursday. We talked about various things. He was like a bubble in my life. He encouraged me and the more he encouraged me the more I wrote and the more I wrote the more he encouraged me.
He wasn't interested in the limelight. He was unpretentious. I had a play he was in and I thought I was doing all the right things. I sent a limousine to pick him up. He paid the man to leave.
He was the finest man. He was a divine man.
I had a need and he could see through my heart.
My said that it was too bad I didn't have a chance to look into his blue eyes. I told her that I could imagine just from looking at his pictures.
You look into those beautiful blue eyes. The most amazing eyes. You don't really know how long you look into them. You don't think about it. Then you find you have been looking into them forever--through to heaven.
He talked very softly. He never raised his voice in his daily life.
He knew how to manipulate and control a conversation. He would talk softly and that would make you lean into him as he talked. He didn't fidget. He didn't play with his hands, or smooth his hair. He would take a position and he held that position. It was always easy, never strict. You lean into him and look at him totally enthralled with what he was saying and not want to miss a word. He never made gestures. His eyes never darted . His stare unclothed the heart of you. He treated you as if he knew you already. And if you had anything to hide by the end of 5 minutes he knew all about you. The jig was up.
He only raised his voice when he needed to do so in a role. His voice changed when he acted. He became his role. He was a chameleon. He was very commanding, but not controlling.
When he got sick I couldn't believe it. My invincible Richard. I went over to see him and Diana left us alone. He was quite out of it most of the time. I had a TV series for him and he had one lucid moment. "I really wanted to play that part for you, darling." The next day Diana called me and told me he was gone.
He told me, "Never be afraid. I will always be over your left shoulder."
"No, darling. Just so long."
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