Richard Crenna was an actor who was blessed with career longevity like few others – for more than 65 years, from radio to TV to movies, he created memorable characters. With his first radio role coming when he was just 11 years old – and his final TV role ending only with his death, 10 years ago today – Crenna was truly a lifelong star.
Richard Crenna in 1961 (Wikimedia Commons/Rogers and Cowan)
One of Crenna's earliest gigs was playing gawky high-schooler Walter Denton on Our Miss Brooks – both on radio and TV.
Just a few years later, Crenna made the transition from child actor to adult star when he took a role on TV's The Real McCoys. For six seasons, Crenna played farmer Luke McCoy (not to be confused with his brother, Little Luke).
Crenna's start in radio and TV led to a long and varied movie career. His many films included The Sand Pebbles, Un Flic, The Flamingo Kid, Body Heat, and the Audrey Hepburn classic Wait Until Dark.
Perhaps the best-known character Crenna played on the big screen is Colonel Sam Troutman, former commanding officer of John Rambo in the first three Rambo films.
Crenna rounded out his fine career with a recurring role on TV's Judging Amy, the last he would ever take. When he died 10 years ago today at age 76, his character, Jared Duff, had to be written out of the show. Richard Crenna was simply irreplaceable.