Richard Beymer: American actor (1938-) | Biography
peoplepill id: richard-beymer
1 views today
1 views this week
Richard Beymer
American actor

Richard Beymer

Richard Beymer
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actor
Is Actor Television actor Film actor Screenwriter Writer Film producer Film editor Cinematographer
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Literature
Gender male
Birth 20 February 1938, Avoca, USA
Age 85 years
Star sign Pisces
Residence Fairfield, USA
Richard Beymer
The details (from wikipedia)


George Richard Beymer, Jr. (born February 20, 1938) is an American actor, filmmaker and artist who is best known for playing the roles of Tony in the film version of West Side Story (1961), Peter in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) and Leland Palmer on the television series Twin Peaks (1990–1991, 2017).

Early life

Beymer was born in Avoca, Iowa, to George Richard Beymer, a printer, and his wife, Eunice (née Goss). He and his family moved in 1940 to Los Angeles, California.

Acting career

Child actor

In 1949 Beymer began acting in television in a Los Angeles TV series for children Sandy Dreams (1949–53). He did it for three years, rehearsing after school during the week and recording it on Saturdays. The show ended when he was 13.

Beymer made his feature-film debut in Vittorio De Sica's Stazione Termini (1953). De Sica cast him in part because his dark complexion made him look like Jennifer Jones' nephew.

He was under contract to Jones' husband, David O. Selznick for a year. Selznick loaned him to Warners to play Jane Wyman's piano protege in So Big (1953).

The contract with Selznick only lasted a year. Beymer found himself in much demand on television: Cavalcade of America (1954) and Johnny Tremain (1957). He guest starred in 26 Men, Zane Grey Theater, Make Room for Daddy, The Gray Ghost, Navy Log, Whirlybirds, Sky King, Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre, and Schlitz Playhouse. He auditioned unsuccessfully for the role played by Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause (1954).

20th Century Fox

Beymer achieved success when George Stevens cast him in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) playing Peter Van Daan.

Beymer was put under contract to 20th Century Fox and started to be regarded as an exciting future star. Producer William Perlberg later said, "It's a thing that periodically happens out here. Somebody comes along and talk starts and agents and studios keep talking and talking. Like an avalanche, the talk gathers speed. Ultimately that 'somebody' turns out to be a big name in Hollywood only."

After appearing in Playhouse 90 he had a support role in High Time (1960), a comedy with Bing Crosby and Tuesday Weld at 20th Century Fox. "I wanted to be a very good actor," said Beymer later. "I wanted to work and let the work stand for something."

In June 1960 Beymer was cast in the lead role of Tony in West Side Story (1961), a huge hit. He shared a 1962 Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor with Bobby Darin and Warren Beatty.

Beymer later said he "was miserable in West Side Story. I didn't know enough at the time because I lacked certain knowledge in acting... I came out ridiculous. I didn't stand up for what I should have and I didn't know enough. The blame should be on me."

Beymer was reunited with Weld in the Fox comedy Bachelor Flat (1961). At Columbia he played the son of Rosalind Russell and Jack Hawkins in Five Finger Exercise (1962). Beymer later said he was "terrible" in that film.

Beymer was given the role of Nick Adams in Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962) for Fox, with an all-star supporting cast. Producer Jerry Wald says he and director Martin Ritt agreed that Beymer was "the young actor I think stands the best chance of being the next Gary Cooper." During filming Beymer met Sharon Tate and it was he who encouraged her to get into acting. The film was a big flop.

Beymer had a significant role in the film The Longest Day (1962), which was successful, but he was unhappy with his acting in the film. "They tried to make me the nice kid next door," he said. "That's just not me. They said just play you - but I am not the all American boy."

In December 1962 Richard Zanuck of Fox wanted Beymer in Illicit based on a story by Vera Caspary but the story was not made. Neither was A Promise at Dawn with Ingrid Bergman after Fox studio shut down temporary due to cost overruns.

Beymer started attending daily classes at the Actor's Studio. "I just want to learn and be as professional as a I can," he said.

Producer Wald and director Franklin Schaffner cast Beymer in The Stripper (1963) with Joanne Woodward which was critically acclaimed but not a big hit. Beymer returned to New York. "I got sick of the whole thing and I left," he said.


In 1964 Beymer became involved in Freedom Summer in Mississippi. "You get tired of being a complainer, passive," he said.

He assisted Barney Frank in rescuing Freedom Democrat forms in a rental truck that had been confiscated from arrested Freedom volunteers in Canton, Mississippi on Freedom Day (July 16, 1964). During this time, he filmed the award-winning documentary A Regular Bouquet: Mississippi Summer (1964), documenting the efforts of volunteers registering African-Americans to vote.

In February 1964 he said all the films he had done except The Longest Day "should have been classroom work and never should have been shown publicly... I'm not a leading man. I"m a character actor. That is, I'm not a stereotyped leading man type. I'm kind of a schlepp at times... I don't care about billing and being a star. Being myself is the first thing."

Beymer guest starred in episodes of Kraft Suspense Theatre, The Virginian, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, Dr. Kildare, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Death Valley Days. he did The Country Girl on stage.

Beymer returned to features with Scream Free! (1969) co starring his West Side Story co star Russ Tamblyn, also known as Free Grass.


Beymer turned to filmmaking with The Innerview (1973), which he wrote, produced and directed as well as starred.

He starred in, wrote and directed episodes of Insight. He lived for two years in a commune and worked in Switzerland. he starred in a film Free Grass that was never released.

"I never left the movies," Beymer said, "I just made different kinds of movies."

Return to acting

Beymer returned to Los Angeles in 1982 to reactivate his career.

He appeared in Cross Country (1983). He had roles in Paper Dolls (1984), playing the husband of Mimi Rogers, and Generation (1985), Moonlighting, Dallas, The Bronx Zoo, Buck James, and Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! (1989).

Beymer was widely seen in Twin Peaks (1990–91) playing Ben Horne. He followed it in Blackbelt (1992), and The Presence (1993).

He made three appearances on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Li Nalas in the episodes "The Homecoming", "The Circle", and "The Siege".

Beymer could also be seen in Under Investigation (1993), My Girl 2 (1994), State of Emergency (1994), The Disappearance of Kevin Johnson (1996), several episodes of 'Murder, She Wrote, A Face to Die For (1996), The Little Death (1996), Foxfire (1996), Elvis Meets Nixon (1997) and Home the Horror Story. He was in episodes of Flipper, The X-Files, Vengeance Unlimited, Profiler, and Family Law.


He was in Sadie's Waltz (2008) then focused on directing documentaries: The Passing of a Saint (2010), It's a Beautiful World (2014), Richard Beymer's Before... the Big Bang (2016), I Had Bad Milk in Dehradun (2017), and Behind the Red Curtain (2017).

Beymer reprised his role as Ben Horne in the third season of Twin Peaks in 2017.

The avant-garde film The Innerview, which he directed, produced, wrote the screenplay for and edited, won the Josef von Sternberg Award at the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Filmfestival in 1974. His 2010 film, The Passing of a Saint, chronicles the funeral rites of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In April 2014 his film of a trip to India with David Lynch, It's a Beautiful World, was released.


In 2007 Beymer completed his first book, a self-published novel, Impostor: Or Whatever Happened to Richard Beymer?, a semi-autobiographical account of a young actor's struggle to find himself.

As visual artist

Beymer's photographs of Twin Peaks cast and crew were featured in the gallery of behind the scenes photos on the Definitive Gold Box Edition for Twin Peaks, released on October 30, 2007. He is also a painter and sculptor.

Personal life

As of 2010, Beymer resided in Fairfield, Iowa, where he continued to make films and to write, sculpt, and paint. He practices Transcendental Meditation, to "cool out".

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 05 Apr 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Richard Beymer known for?
A: Richard Beymer is an American actor, filmmaker, and visual artist. He is best known for his role as Tony in the 1961 film West Side Story.
Q: What other notable films has Richard Beymer appeared in?
A: Apart from West Side Story, Richard Beymer has appeared in films such as The Longest Day (1962), The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), and Advise & Consent (1962).
Q: Has Richard Beymer received any awards for his work?
A: No, Richard Beymer has not received any major awards for his acting. However, his film West Side Story won ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in which he played a significant role.
Q: Has Richard Beymer worked in television?
A: Yes, Richard Beymer has worked extensively in television. He has appeared in several popular television shows such as Twin Peaks (1990-1991) and Murder, She Wrote (1989-1996).
Q: What is Richard Beymer involved in beyond acting?
A: In addition to acting, Richard Beymer is involved in filmmaking and visual arts. He has directed and produced several documentaries, including The Greely Expedition (1976) and The Passing of a Small Town (2003). He is also an accomplished visual artist and has exhibited his paintings and photographs.
Search trend
comments so far.
From our partners
Reference sources
Sections Richard Beymer

arrow-left arrow-right instagram whatsapp myspace quora soundcloud spotify tumblr vk website youtube pandora tunein iheart itunes