Family & Companions
A lanky American character player whose plummy voice, mobile features and accomplished timing made him a natural for nervous, befuddled, often clumsy comic roles, Richard Mulligan began in show business with ambitions to be a playwright but instead found work more readily as an actor. Keeping busy shuttling back and forth between the stage, screen ("The Group" 1966, "The Undefeated" 1969) and TV guest spots, he was briefly given a chance in the sitcom spotlight as "The Hero" (NBC, 1966-67), a klutzy actor portraying a TV lawman. It was not until the late 1970s, however, that his broadly-played brand of quirky comedy found a niche in the ABC soap-opera satire "Soap" (1977-81), created by the team of Susan Harris, Tony Thomas and Paul Junger Witt and the same producing trio again found work for Mulligan in their later sitcom "Empty Nest" (NBC, 1988-95). (He won Emmy Awards for his work on both series.)
A regular fixture in Blake Edwards's 1980s comedies ("S.O.B." 1981, "Micki and Maude" 1984, "A Fine Mess" 1986), the actor got his first screen break in a small role in "Love With the Proper Stranger" (1963), directed by his older brother Robert Mulligan. He also delivered a memorable turn as General Custer in "Little Big Man" (1970). Mulligan has been married four times and his wives include the late Joan Hackett, opposite whom he appeared in "The Group," and adult star Rachel Ryan (a.k.a. Serina Robinson).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made Broadway acting debut in "All the Way Home", as understudy to Arthur Hill and Tom Wheatley
Film debut directed by older brother Robert in "Love with a Proper Stranger"
Portrayed Barbara Barrie's ex-husband in the drama "One Potato, Two Potato"
Played leading role of Sam Garret, TV cowboy star and offscreen klutz, in the NBC sitcom "The Hero"
Co-starred in Sidney Lumet's "The Group", opposite soon to be second wife Joan Hackett
Delivered a strong turn as an unhinged General Custer in "Little Big Man"
Starred as Reggie Potter in the short-lived ABC sitcom, "Reggie"
Appeared alongside Elizabeth Taylor in the CBS TV-movie "Poker Alice"
Portrayed US Secretary of State William Seward in the NBC miniseries "Gore Vidal's Lincoln"
Provided a character voice for the Disney animated film "Oliver & Company"
Co-starred in the NBC telecast of "Neil Simon's London Suite"
Played opposite Olympia Dukakis in the CBS movie romance "Heaven Will Wait"