Richard Donald Crenna was born on 30 November 1926, in Los Angeles, California USA, to Edith J., a hotel manager, and Domenick Anthony Crenna, a pharmacist of Italian descent. He was a film, television and radio actor and director, best known for his roles in the series “Our Miss Brooks” and “The Real McCoys”, and in the films “The Sand Pebbles”, “Un Flic”, “Wait Until Dark”, “Body Heat”, the first three “Rambo” movies, plus “The Flamingo Kid” and the remake of “Sabrina”.
So just how wealthy was Richard Crenna? Sources state that Crenna acquired a net worth over $10 million during his acting career which spanned over six decades from the late 1930s.
Richard Crenna Net Worth $10 Million
Crenna grew up in Los Angeles, where he attended Virgil Junior High School and Belmont High School. He later enrolled in the University of Southern California, majoring in English. His career in the entertainment industry started when he was 11 years old, becoming part of the LA radio show “Boy Scout Jamboree”, remaining on the show on and off for 17 years. Meanwhile, he did numerous other radio shows, such as “The Great Gildersleeve”, “My Favorite Husband” and “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show”. Upon matriculating, he joined the US Army during World War II, where he served as a radioman.
After the war, Crenna went on with his radio career, playing Walter Denton in “Our Miss Brooks”, which eventually became a hit television show, enabling him to gain recognition in the acting world. He went on to appear in a many more films, including reprise of his role of Denton in the “Our Miss Brooks” movie. By the end of the ’50s, he had landed several television gigs, as well as the leading role as Luke McCoy in the television series “The Real McCoys”, remaining in the show during its six-season run until 1963. It considerably increased his popularity, and greatly added to his net worth. He also served as one of the show’s directors.
Another major television role came in 1964, when Crenna was cast as state legislator James Slattery of California in the short-lived series “Slattery’s People”, and his performance earned him two Emmy and a Golden Globe Award nomination, significantly contributing to his popularity and wealth statuses. From then on, Crenna was rarely absent from both the big and small screen. As for films, notable parts came with the 1966 “The Sand Pebbles”, in which he played the ill-fated captain of an American gunboat, Lieutenant Collins, and with the 1967 psychological thriller “Wait Until Dark”, in which he portrayed con artist Mike Talman. Crenna’s performances in both films earned him raves, intensifying his wealth in a great way.
The next decade brought him more starring roles, among them that of nightclub owner Simon in the French film “Un Flic”, and the role of Colonel Frank Skimmerhorn in the acclaimed mini-series “Centennial”. All added to his net worth.
The actor was involved in a number of major films during the ’80s; he appeared as Edmund Walker in the neo-noir erotic thriller “Body Heat”, and played Colonel Sam Trautman in the first three “Rambo” films. He also appeared as Phil Brody in the comedy “The Flamingo Kid”, and portrayed Richard Beck in the TV film “The Rape of Richard Beck”, which earned him an Emmy Award.
He continued to land big parts in the ’90s as well, spoofing his role from the Rambo films in the parody “Hot Shots! Part Deux”, and playing Patrick Tyson in the remake of “Sabrina”.
In his private life, Crenna was married two times. His first marriage was to Joan Grisham in the ’50s. The couple had one child together. However, the marriage lasted shortly. In 1959 he married Hannah Smith Sweeny, with whom he had two children, and with whom he remained until his death in Los Angeles from heart failure in 2003, aged 76.
The June 11, 1969, and also Aug. 20, editions of Variety, in its Hollywood Production Pulse column, shows Richard Crenna starring with Robert Conrad and Tippi Hedren in the movie Seven Against Kansas, directed by David Friedkin, which started filming June 10, 1969, in Almeria, Spain. No evidence if the film was ever completed.
His parents were both of Italian descent.
Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6714 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 111-112. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
Crenna had a recurring role on Judging Amy (1999) as Jared Duff, the fiancé of Maxine Gray, Tyne Daly's character. His unexpected death prompted the writers of the series to have his character die unexpectedly as well, just before Jared and Maxine were to be married. The 2003 episode, entitled "Requiem", was dedicated to Crenna's memory.
Attended Virgil Junior High School on Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. Today it's known as Virgil Middle School.
Member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity at the University of Southern California.
Crenna's character, Colonel Denton Walters, in Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993), is a tip of the hat to his old character Walter Denton in the radio and television series Our Miss Brooks (1952).
Liked playing golf.
Richard has three children - Seana, a social worker (b. 1955); Richard Anthony Crenna, an actor (b. 1959); and Maria, a CBS Vice-president (b. 1966). He also has two grandchildren - Emma (b. 1994) and Isabella (b. 1997).
Was successfully treated for thyroid cancer, which almost claimed his voice.
[on working with Matt Dillon on "The Flamingo Kid"] I wasn't sure if I was going to encounter a teen idol or a professional, but I'm happy to report that Matt is a professional. He's very dedicated, very conscientious. He is very concerned about being a good actor and I think he's going to be around for a long time.
[on Charles Bronson] I don't think reviews get to Charlie much, though, unless they're especially personal. In the twenty-five years or so I've known him, he's not changed much. He's his own man. Stays pretty much to himself. If he cares what other people think of him, he doesn't show it.