Richard Denning, a character actor who was perhaps best known for his roles in the television series "Mr. and Mrs. North" and "Hawaii Five-O," died on Sunday, October 11 at the Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, Calif. He was 84 and lived in Rancho Bernardo, Calif.
Born Louis Albert Heindrich Denninger in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Mr. Denning moved to Los Angeles with his famiy when he was 2. After graduating from Woodbury College in Montpelier, Vt., he joined his father in the garment business and worked his way up from office boy to vice president. But the acting bug had bitten him in college, and he switched professions.
After a night-school course in drama and performances in a small theater in Los Angeles, Mr. Denning won a radio-acting contest that led to a screen test and a Paramount contract in 1937. Tall and blond with a chiseled jaw, Mr. Denning appeared in some 50 films between 1937 and his enlistment in the Navy's submarine service in 1942. "Beyond the Blue Horizon," in which he was cast opposite Dorothy Lamour, was his favorite, said his daughter, Diana Dee Dwyer.
After serving three years in the South Pacific, Mr. Denning returned to film work, appearing in such movies as "Some Like It Hot," "The Creature From the Black Lagoon," "Adam Had Four Sons," "The Lady Takes a Flyer," and "An Affair to Remember," in which he played Deborah Kerr's fiance.
In the late 1940's and early '50s, he starred with Lucille Ball in the CBS radio comedy "My Favorite Husband," succeeding Lee Bowman in the role of a Midwestern banker married to Miss Ball's harebrained wife. His performance led to the television series "Mr. and Mrs. North," in which he starred with Barbara Britton; his other television credits including "Flying Doctor," "Michael Shayne" and "Karen."
Mr. Denning's final role was as the Governor of Hawaii, which he played for 12 years on "Hawaii Five-O."
Mr. Denning's first wife, Evelyn Ankers, died in 1985. In addition to his daughter by Ms. Ankers, he is survived by his wife, Patricia Leffingwell of Rancho Bernardo and Kihei, Hawaii; four stepchildren, Mike Salzer of Kihei; Gay Salzer of Honolulu; Jackie Jacobson of Klamath Falls, Ore., and Sandy Salzer of Mariposa, Calif., and two grandaughters. (New York Times)
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