Monday, March 17, 2014

Richard Coogan Dead at 99

Actor Richard Coogan died on Wednesday, March 12 in Los Angeles. He was 99.

He played "Captain Video" in CAPTAIN VIDEO AND HIS VIDEO RANGERS, which aired on the DuMont Television Network from 1949-55. The show was set in the distant future and revolved around a band of heroes fighting for truth and justice. It was broadcast live five to six days a week, usually starting at 7 p.m. ET, and was beloved by adults and children alike. Coogan starred as "Captain Vide"o until December 1950, when, unhappy with the show’s shoestring budget, he quit and was replaced by Al Hodge. AS THE WORLD TURNS legend played "The Video Ranger" during the entire run of the series.

A native of Short Hills, N.J., Coogan worked as an announcer and news anchor on radio before making his Broadway debut in 1945 in the comedy "Alice in Arms." He also appeared with Kirk Douglas in "Spring Again" and with Geraldine Page in "The Rainmaker," and while starring in CAPTAIN VIDEO, he also appeared opposite Mae West on stage in "Diamond Lil," taking a cab to get from one job to another.

LOVE OF LIFE stars Jean McBride, Peggy McCay and
Richard Coogan.
Coogan starred as "Paul Raven" on the CBS daytime soap opera LOVE OF LIVE opposite Peggy McCay, and later Bonnie Bartlett as "Vanessa".

"She's a very conscientious actress, very serious," Coogan said in an Archive of American Television interview about McCay. "I was more inclined to laugh about something that would embarrass her."

Coogan was fired from LOVE OF LIFE over his contract demand for a laundry budget. After producer Roy Winsor denied his request, Coogan began shooting his scenes with a frayed collar in protest.

"Roy Winsor and I hit it off great," Coogan stated about Winsor. "He was a golfer and so was I. We played two or three times a week. It was a sorry state when I tested him with that collar. That was the end of our friendship."

Coogan then for two seasons as "Marshal Matthew Wayne" on NBC's THE CALIFORNIANS, a Western that aired from 1957-59.

Richard Coogan with Phyllis Avery in THE CLEAR
HORIZON, a CBS daytime soap opera about the private lives
of astronauts.
He returned to daytime soaps in 1960 to play "Mitchell Corbin" on THE CLEAR HORIZON.

"It was a great show but the budget was too heavy," Coogan explained. "They were showing scenes of a space capsule landing in water and the rescue and all that had to be shot and this was a daily show. It didn't grab that big of an audience. My character was a newspaper guy who was always getting in everybody's hair. I was always in trouble and explaining my way out. It was trying to show the private life of astronauts and engineers."

Coogan's other TV appearances came on such series as 77 SUNSET STRIP, CHEYENNE, MAVERICK, BONANZA, LARAMIE and PERRY MASON. His film credits includes Girl on the Run, Three Hours to Kill, The Revolt of Mamie Stover and Vice Raid.

Survivors include his son Richard Jr., daughter-in-law Debbie, granddaughter Melissa, grandson Christopher, great-grandchildren Keira and Dylan and “soul mate” Leona.

Watch a 1955 episode of LOVE OF LIVE featuring Richard Coogan below:

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