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Greene, Richard (1918-1985)


Main image of Greene, Richard (1918-1985)

Best remembered as the lead in The Adventures of Robin Hood (ITV, 1955-1959), Richard Greene was an actor whose promising film career never really recovered from its interruption by WWII. The good looks which had provided his film entrée would ultimately prove a handicap to his attempts to pursue roles outside the swashbuckling mould.

Born into a theatrical family, he made his stage debut as the proverbial spear carrier in a 1933 production of 'Julius Caesar'. A bit part in Sing as We Go (d. Basil Dean, 1934) ended up on the cutting room floor, and for a time he supplemented his acting income by working as a model. It was not until 1937, while appearing in 'French without Tears', that he was spotted by 20th Century-Fox and signed to a seven-year contract. A series of high-profile Hollywood roles followed, including Sir Henry in The Hound of the Baskervilles (US, 1939), winning him a sea of female admirers.

Coming home to serve in the war, he made a handful of British films including the comedy Don't Take It to Heart (d. Jeffrey Dell, 1944). When he returned to America he found it difficult to regain his career momentum, and by the early 1950s was resigned to appearing in swashbucklers such as The Black Castle (US, 1952). In 1955 he donned Lincoln green for the role that would make him famous to a generation of television viewers, riding through the glen for the next four years with an ever-changing cast of merry men. The financial rewards for playing Robin Hood were so great that after the big-screen spin-off Sword of Sherwood Forest (d. Terence Fisher, 1960) he was able to go into semi-retirement. Following complications from an earlier riding accident, he died in 1985 from cardiac arrest.

Richard Hewett

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Thumbnail image of Adventures of Robin Hood, The (1955-59)Adventures of Robin Hood, The (1955-59)

Hugely popular series that gave a ratings boost to the early ITV

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