The Sunday Telegraph‘s John Preston has set us a riddle. He tells how a house clearance turned up a box of old photographs in which a Fleet Street showbiz writer, Dick Richards, was pictured with a string of 1950s Hollywood stars.
Others show him with Joan Crawford, Charlie Chaplin, David Niven, Walter Pidgeon, Angela Lansbury, Lassie and Roy Rogers with his horse Trigger.
The article reproduces a publicity poster in which Richards is billed as “the liveliest film writer” in the Sunday Pictorial.
But Preston says we know “frustratingly little” about him. I don’t recall him and I thought Lionel Crane, or Ralph Champion (or both), were the Hollywood correspondents for the Sunday Pic.
I have discovered, on a site called Whirligig, that Richards wrote a column quaintly called “The Bright Lights”. So when and why did he depart from the Pic?
Where did he go and what happened to him after that? I see that he wrote a biography of Danny Kaye in 1949 and edited the Pic’s 1950 “all-star annual”.
He turned up as a guest on Desert Island Discs in 1965, choosing songs by Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Marlene Dietrich and, of course, Danny Kaye.
Perhaps the Daily Mirror’s Donald Zec or the Daily Express‘s Victor Davies – who are both still with us, I’m delighted to say – can assist.
Anyway, you can see Dick and his starry friends because the pictures are going to be exhibited at selected Everyman theatres across London in the coming months.
Sources: Sunday Telegraph (not online)/Whirligig