Richard Beckinsale was an English actor who rose to prominence in the 1970s as a result of his performance in the TV series ‘Porridge,’ in which he played the popular character Lennie Godber. He died young, though, before creating a reputation for himself in the entertainment industry and Hollywood. But true talent is recognized when it is due, and Richard went on to receive widespread acclaim from both audiences and peers, and is still regarded as one of the best comic performers. He began his acting career in 1970 with the sitcom ‘The Lovers,’ and he has since had notable performances in films such as ‘Rentadick’ and ‘Three for All.’ ‘Going straight’ was a spinoff of ‘Porridge,’ one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, in which Richard played the starring character. In his early 30s, he died tragically of a heart attack. He died of a fatal heart disease, according to autopsies. He was the father of Kate and Samantha Beckinsale, both of whom went on to become well-known performers.
Childhood and Adolescence
Richard Beckinsale was born on July 6, 1947, in Nottinghamshire, England, to Arthur Beckinsale and Maggie Barlow, a middle-class family. His father was a lawyer, while his mother was a stay-at-home mom. Richard grew raised in a modest house with his sister Judy and has always wanted to be an actor. He would practice famous movie lines in front of the mirror and his sister, and as he grew older, his parents realized he was meant to be an actor because of his outstanding comic timing.
His passion for acting and drama interfered with his studies, and he dropped out of high school, finally being denied entry to a grammar school. He started the drama lessons at his school when he was nine years old, and he portrayed Dopey, one of the dwarfs, in a rendition of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Richard acquired more confidence as a result of his performance, which was greeted with acclaim.
He remained with the school acting club after that performance and challenged his father about his potential career choice. His father, a sensible man, advised him to abandon his ‘impossible’ dream of becoming an actor and focus instead on academics. Once he graduated from high school, he began working odd jobs to support himself while attending night classes to study English and Arts. Clarendon College was the right place for him to master the fundamentals of acting, and he was accepted.
Richard also worked as a singer in nightclubs at the time to supplement his income. However, after he was accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, his career took a dramatic change. Richard became one of the most popular performers at RADA, owing to his great comedic timing, and he was heavily pushed by his teachers and peers to drop his northern accent if he wanted to be a successful actor. Richard realized it was time to get out into the field and start working if he wanted to live after spending time at RADA and studying the fundamentals of acting. In 1968, he made the difficult decision to leave RADA in pursuit of better job prospects.
He knew where all the acting school grads found work, so he moved to Crewe and joined the Repertory Theatre there, where he began working in their performances for a pittance. During this period, he continued auditioning and, despite his desire to work in films, he believed that starting on television would be the best course of action, and he was correct; in 1969, he landed his first acting part in the TV series ‘Coronation Street,’ in which he portrayed a cop.
A year later, he landed his first leading role in the film ‘The Lovers,’ in which he played a young lover named Geoffrey. Although the show was not a huge hit, it did help to bring Richard and other celebrities into the public view, and Richard’s comedic timing was well received by the crowd. ‘The Lovers,’ like most sitcoms at the period, was later made into a film.
In the early 1970s, he appeared in the sitcom ‘Rising Damp,’ which would revolutionize his life and career. He also starred in another sitcom, ‘Porridge,’ a comedy series in which he played a prisoner, and it was considered the best English sitcom of its time. Richard was living the dream because both sitcoms were extremely popular, and his acting abilities were beginning to be recognized by a wider audience. In the following years, he appeared in films such as ‘Rentadick’ in 1972 and ‘Three for All’ in 1975. During the mid-1970s, Richard was in the best shape of his career, with more offers pouring in and him participating in a slew of new TV shows in minor roles.
Richard’s luck ran out in 1977, when both of his most popular series, ‘Porridge’ and ‘Rising Damp,’ were canceled. And, despite the abundance of film and television roles, Richard found himself unable to replicate the popularity of the two sitcoms. But, nonetheless, he starred in ‘Going Straight,’ which was a spin-off series for ‘Porridge.’ The success wasn’t as great, but Richard, as usual, was able to make the audience laugh. Richard also appeared in the radio comedy series ‘Albert and Me’ in 1997, and the film based on the sitcom ‘Porridge’ was his final endeavor of the year, as the Beckinsale family faced tragedy.
Death and the Afterlife
When Richard Beckinsale first discovered that anything was amiss with his body, he was filming a BBC sitcom called ‘Bloomers.’ He underwent checks, but the doctors discovered nothing wrong with him and advised him to eat better and exercise more. He became increasingly ill, collapsing several times on the sets. Richard died of a major heart attack on March 19, 1979, which was his tragic untimely death. He had congenital heart failure, according to the post mortem report, and he may have been treated if the diagnosis had been made with careful caution and attention to detail.
Personal Experiences of Richard
Richard married Margaret Bradley when he was only 18 years old, and the couple had a daughter named Samantha, who went on to become an actress. When Richard divorced Samantha in 1974, she moved home with her mother. Richard met Judy Law while studying at RADA, and the two fell in love right away, marrying in 1977. Prior to that, they had a daughter named Kate Beckinsale, who is currently one of the most successful British actors of her generation.
Richard Beckinsale was the subject of a documentary named “The Unforgettable Richard Beckinsale” in the year 2000. All of Richard’s close friends and family members speak about his life and journey in the film. Richard was a pleasant person who made everyone around him happy. When he became ill, he made jokes about death and never took life seriously.
Estimated Net Worth
Richard is one of the wealthiest TV actors and one of the most popular. Richard Beckinsale’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.