Richard Boone didn't need the audience to like him

Boone was great at being bad.

It's awfully nice to be a lovable protagonist in a television series, but sometimes it's just more entertaining to watch a villain. With a hero, you can always anticipate their next move. Sure to do the right thing, their do-good attitude can almost get grating at times. A villain is unpredictable. While you may not always like where a villain ends up or agree with their choices, you can be sure that you'll have fun watching them get there.

An actor like Richard Boone has experience playing both good and evil characters. He served as the protagonist of Have Gun – Will Travel but also found his way into villainy as Ward in the 1970 film The Kremlin Letter. The role required Boone to color his hair blonde in an effort to look a touch more sinister.

Boone explained the choice in an interview with the Calgary Herald and said, "There had to be something quietly menacing about me. We fooled around with special make-up...nothing looked right. Just my old mug with  a lot of strange grease paint." It was actually director John Huston's idea to dye Boone's hair. Boone explained, "It did the trick and you know, I'm really getting to like it."

Some actors may be overly concerned with how they're portrayed on screen, and take up a lot of their time in a film attempting to win the audience over; Boone had no such fantasies. 

He said, "I don't give a darn about getting the sympathy of an audience. Maybe I did when I first started acting, but now man, it's the part that counts."

Additionally, Boone found that as he had gathered more experience as an actor, the fewer parts he considered. It was an intentional decision on his part, choosing to only accept the roles he believed were truly worth the time and energy. 

"I work as little as I can. How many really good parts are there, I mean the ones worth doing?"

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5 Comments

Runeshaper 1 month ago
Sounds like a solid concept 👍👍
ColorTVisapassingfad 1 month ago
He wasn't a pretty boy and continually wrestled with weight gain so after Paladin he resigned himself to playing bad guys. My regret is that he didn't play against John Wayne more. The on screen chemistry was great.
jmworacle 1 month ago
This shows what a range Richard Boone could play As great of a performance as Have Gun Will Travel his roles in Big Jake and Hombre were one hundred eighty degrees different but just as effective. Not to mention "Heck Ramsey".
Pacificsun 1 month ago
Wow. Richard Boone was an amazingly strong actor. Should read his movie credits and major productions he was part of. I just couldn't imagine him as a blond, and there aren't many photos. Without a mustache he also has a different persona. IMO he was almost overly qualified for television, but few people can forget the impact of Have Gun Will Travel. I'm fascinated by MeTV's Saturday A.M. promo beginning with RB.
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