biography

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, on March 24, 1910, character actor Richard Conte endured a hardscrabble youth yet harbored a desire for acting from a young age. After he matured into adulthood, he studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York and quickly became a standout performer. Moving to Broadway in the late 1930s, Conte scored a number of successes on the legitimate stage, starring in such plays as Night Music and Walk Into My Parlor under his real name, Nicholas Conte. In 1942 he left New York for Hollywood upon signing a long-term contract with 20th Century Fox. His first film at Fox was Guadalcanal Diary (1943; with Lloyd Nolan and William Bendix), in which Conte had a substantial role. During World War II, Conte starred in many war dramas; the best of these is A Walk in the Sun (1945; with Dana Andrews and John Ireland). Following the war, Conte's dark and stern countenance made him a natural for film noir. Fox then cast him in such crime dramas as Somewhere in the Night (1946; with John Hodiak) and Call Northside 777 (1948; with James Stewart). After leaving Fox for Universal International in late 1949, Conte continued in such film noir releases as The Sleeping City (1950; with Coleen Gray) and The Raging Tide (1951; with Shelley Winters). In the early 1950s, Conte freelanced for awhile; his best low-budget crime drama during this period was Highway Dragnet (1954; with Joan Bennett). Conte signed again with a studio, this time Columbia, in the later 1950s.

the films of richard conte

The Spider (1945)

Richard Conte

Faye Marlowe hires private detective Richard Conte in the noirish 20th Century Fox release The Spider, a film that borrows its plot from The Maltese Falcon

The Other Love (1947)

Richard Conte and David Niven

With David Niven in the romance The Other Love

Thieves' Highway (1949)

Richard Conte

From the 20th Century Fox film noir drama Thieves' Highway

Whirlpool (1949)

Richard Conte and Gene TierneyRichard Conte and Charles Bickford

LEFT: Gene Tierney is a shoplifter and Richard Conte is her doctor husband in the 20th Century Fox film noir release Whirlpool. RIGHT: With Charles Bickford

The Sleeping City (1950)

Coleen Gray and Richard ConteRichard Conte and Coleen Gray

With Coleen Gray in Universal's underrated film noir The Sleeping City

The Fighter (1952)

Richard ConteRichard Conte and Vanessa Brown

LEFT: Conte as Mexican boxer Filipe Rivera in the intriging drama The Fighter. RIGHT: With Vanessa Brown

The Raiders (1952)

Richard Conte and Vivica LindforsRichard Conte and Vivica LindforsRichard ConteRichard Conte

From the Universal-International western The Raiders. LEFT and CENTER A: With Vivica Lindfors. CENTER B and RIGHT: Conte as Jan Morrell

The Blue Gardenia (1953)

Richard Conte and George Reeves

With George Reeves in the Warner Bros. film noir release The Blue Gardenia

Desert Legion (1953)

Richard Conte and Alan Ladd

With Alan Ladd in the Universal-International adventure Desert Legion

Target Zero (1955)

Richard Conte, John Alderson, and Peggie Castle

From the Warner Bros. Korean war flick Target Zero with John Alderson and Peggie Castle

They Came to Cordura (1958)

Richard Conte and Tab Hunter

Behind-the-scenes photo with Tab Hunter in Columbia's period war western They Came to Cordura

later years

Richard Conte's career began to slow in the early 1960s, with the death of film noir. After a couple of forays into television and a few more films, Conte headed to Europe, where he acted in a string of films. In his later years, he snagged a great role in The Godfather (1972; with Marlon Brando), but returned to Europe afterward to star in more movies. Following two heart attacks, Richard Conte passed away on April 15, 1975, at the age of 65. He was survived by his second wife, a son, and two stepsons.

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filmography

FILM
Violent Rome (1975)
The Return of the Exorcist (1975)
Evil Eye (1975) with Jorge Rivero
Diary of an Erotic Murderess (1974) with Marisa Mell
Secrets of a Call Girl (1974)
Shoot First, Die Later (1974)
The Boss (1973) with Henry Silva
The Big Family (1973)
No Way Out (1973) with Alain Delon, Rosalba Neri, and Erika Blanc
The Violent Professionals (1973)
My Brother Anastasia (1973)
Pete, Pearl and the Pole (1972) with Adolfo Celi, Irene Papas, Lionel Stander, and Raf Baldassarre
The Godfather (1972) with Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, and Diane Keaton
The Challengers (1970) with Darren McGavin, Anne Baxter, Farley Granger, Juliet Mills, Sal Mineo, and Susan Clark
Operation Cross Eagles (1969) with Rory Calhoun; directed by Richard Conte
Explosion (1969) with Don Stroud
Lady in Cement (1968) with Frank Sinatra, Raquel Welch, Martin Gabel, and Lainie Kazan
Django, Relentless As The Sun (1968) with Adolfo Celi and Tomas Milian
Tony Rome (1967) with Frank Sinatra, Jill St. John, Gena Rowlands, Lloyd Bochner, and Tiffany Bolling
Hotel (1967) with Rod Taylor, Karl Malden, Melvyn Douglas, Merle Oberon, Michael Rennie, and Kevin McCarthy
Assault on a Queen (1966) with Frank Sinatra, Virna Lisi, and Anthony Franciosa
Stay Tuned for Terror (1965)
Synanon (1965) with Edmond O'Brien, Chuck Connors, Stella Stevens, Alex Cord, Eartha Kitt, Barbara Luna, and Alejandro Rey
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) with Max von Sydow, Carroll Baker, Victor Buono, Jose Ferrer, Van Heflin, and Charlton Heston
Circus World (1964) with John Wayne, Claudia Cardinale, Rita Hayworth, Lloyd Nolan, and John Smith
The Eyes of Annie Jones (1964)
Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1963) with Dean Martin, Elizabeth Montgomery, Martin Balsam, Carol Burnett, Allison Hayes, and Jill St. John
Ocean's Eleven (1960) with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Angie Dickinson, and Cesar Romero
They Came to Cordura (1959) with Gary Cooper, Rita Hayworth, Van Heflin, Tab Hunter, Michael Callan, and Dick York
This Angry Age (1958) with Anthony Perkins and Jo Van Fleet
The Brothers Rico (1957) with Dianne Foster, Kathryn Grant, and James Darren
Full of Life (1957) with Judy Holliday
I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955) with Susan Hayward, Eddie Albert, Jo Van Fleet, Ray Danton, Margo, and Virginia Gregg
Target Zero (1955) with Peggie Castle and Chuck Connors
Bengazi (1955) with Victor McLaglen, Richard Carlson, Mala Powers, and Hillary Brooke
Little Red Monkey (1955)
The Big Tip Off (1955) with Bruce Bennett and Cathy Downs
New York Confidential (1955) with Broderick Crawford, Marilyn Maxwell, Anne Bancroft, and J. Carrol Naish
The Big Combo (1955) with Cornel Wilde, Brian Donlevy, Helen Walker, Jean Wallace, Lee Van Cleef, Earl Holliman, John Hoyt, and Whit Bissell
Mask of Dust (1954)
Highway Dragnet (1954) with Joan Bennett, Wanda Hendrix, Reed Hadley, and Mary Beth Hughes
Slaves of Babylon (1953) with Michael Ansara, Linda Christian, and Julie Newmar; directed by William Castle
Desert Legion (1953) with Alan Ladd, Arlene Dahl, and Akim Tamiroff
The Blue Gardenia (1953) with Anne Baxter, Ann Sothern, Raymond Burr, Jeff Donnell, and George Reeves
The Raiders (1952) with Viveca Lindfors, Barbara Britton, Hugh O'Brian, Gregg Palmer, William Reynolds, Morris Ankrum, Dennis Weaver, and Margaret Field
The Fighter (1952) with Lee J. Cobb
The Raging Tide (1951) with Shelley Winters, Stephen McNally, Charles Bickford, and Alex Nicol
Hollywood Story (1951) with Julie Adams, Richard Egan, Fred Clark, Jim Backus, and Francis X. Bushman; directed by William Castle
Under the Gun (1951) with Audrey Totter and Sam Jaffe
The Sleeping City (1950) with Coleen Gray, Peggy Dow, and Alex Nicol
Whirlpool (1949) with Gene Tierney, Jose Ferrer, and Charles Bickford
Thieves' Highway (1949) with Lee J. Cobb and Jack Oakie
House of Strangers (1949) with Edward G. Robinson, Susan Hayward, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., and Debra Paget
Big Jack (1949) with Wallace Beery, Marjorie Main, and Edward Arnold
Cry of the City (1948) with Victor Mature, Fred Clark, Shelley Winters, and Debra Paget
Call Northside 777 (1948) with James Stewart and Lee J. Cobb
The Other Love (1947) with Barbara Stanwyck, David Niven, Gilbert Roland, Lenore Aubert, and Natalie Schafer
13 Rue Madeleine (1947) with James Cagney, Annabella, Melville Cooper, and Sam Jaffe
Somewhere in the Night (1946) with John Hodiak and Lloyd Nolan
The Spider (1945) with Ann Savage
A Walk in the Sun (1945) with Dana Andrews, John Ireland, Lloyd Bridges, Sterling Holloway, Huntz Hall, and Steve Brodie
A Bell for Adano (1945) with Gene Tierney, John Hodiak, William Bendix, Glenn Langan, Reed Hadley, and Hugo Haas
Captain Eddie (1945) with Fred MacMurray, Lynn Bari, Charles Bickford, Lloyd Nolan, and Spring Byington
The Purple Heart (1944) with Dana Andrews and Farley Granger
Guadalcanal Diary (1943) with Preston Foster, Lloyd Nolan, William Bendix, Anthony Quinn, John Archer, Richard Jaeckel, Ralph Byrd, Lionel Stander, and Reed Hadley
Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (1939) with Jean Rogers, Glenn Ford, and Ward Bond

TELEVISION SERIES
The Jean Arthur Show, 1966 CBS TV series. Conte portrayed Richie Wells
The Four Just Men, 1959-1960 syndicated TV series. Conte portrayed Jeff Ryder

TELEVISION GUEST APPERANCES
The Name of the Game, episode The Enemy Before Us, originally aired October 16, 1970
The Bold Ones: The Lawyers, episode Trial of a Mafioso, originally aired January 4, 1970
The Danny Thomas Hour, episode Fame Is a Four-Letter Word, originally aired October 30, 1967
Kraft Suspense Theatre, episode The Green Felt Jungle, originally aired April 1, 1965
The Donna Reed Show, episode Who's Who on 202?, originally aired October 8, 1964
The Reporter, episode Hideout, originally aired October 2, 1964
Arrest and Trial, episode Tigers Are for Jungles, originally aired March 22, 1964
77 Sunset Strip, episode 5: The Conclusion, originally aired October 18, 1963
77 Sunset Strip, episode 5: Part 4, originally aired October 11, 1963
77 Sunset Strip, episode 5: Part 3, originally aired October 4, 1963
77 Sunset Strip, episode 5: Part 2, originally aired September 27, 1963
77 Sunset Strip, episode 5: Part 1, originally aired September 20, 1963
Kraft Mystery Theater, episode Ordeal in Darkness, originally aired 1963
Going My Way, episode A Saint for Momma, originally aired December 26, 1962
Alcoa Premiere, episode Ordeal in Darkness, originally aired November 15, 1962
The Untouchables, episode The Chess Game, originally aired October 9, 1962
The DuPont Show of the Week, episode The Outpost, originally aired September 16, 1962
Frontier Circus, episode Naomi Champagne, originally aired March 29, 1962
Checkmate, episode An Assassin Arrives, Andante, originally aired February 21, 1962
Naked City, episode One of the Most Important Men in the Whole World, originally aired January 31, 1962
Bus Stop, episode Cry to Heaven, originally aired January 14, 1962
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, episode The Old Pro, originally aired November 28, 1961
The Untouchables, episode The Organization, originally aired January 26, 1961
Checkmate, episode Moment of Truth, originally aired November 26, 1960
Buick-Electra Playhouse, episode The Gambler, the Nun and the Radio, originally aired May 19, 1960
Twilight Zone, episode Perchance to Dream, originally aired November 27, 1959
The 20th Century-Fox Hour, episode End of a Gun, originally aired January 9, 1957
The 20th Century-Fox Hour, episode Overnight Haul, originally aired May 16, 1956
The Ford Television Theatre, episode The Silent Strangers, originally aired February 9, 1956
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Turn Back the Clock, originally aired April 1, 1954
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Emergency, originally aired October 15, 1953
General Electric Theater, episode The Eye of the Beholder, originally aired December 6, 1953
Medallion Theatre, episode Crimson Velvet, originally aired December 5, 1953

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Watch Richard Conte in the 1954 film noir thriller Highway Dragnet

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