The Info List - Richard Kelton

Richard Kelton (April 29, 1943 – November 27, 1978) was an American actor. He died of accidental carbon monoxide asphyxiation due to a faulty heater in his trailer while filming the NBC-TV miniseries Centennial.

Life and career

Born Richard Duane Kelton in Lincoln, Nebraska, Kelton, the only child of Alvis Fred Kelton (1917-1996), a former Army Air Corps flight instructor and engineer during World War II and schoolteacher,[1] and his wife, the former Glenna Sedalia Zachary (1912-1989).[2]

While growing up in Miami, Oklahoma, After briefly attending Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in 1963, he transferred to The University of Kansas, earning his bachelor's degree in drama 1966, and then his Masters' two years later, in 1968. He returned briefly in 1973 to appear in a campus production. He made his way to California where he made his debut playing "Bud" in an episode of Gunsmoke. In 1967, he made his film debut with a small part in the movie In Cold Blood (1967) as Nancy's boyfriend. Soon after arriving in California with his wife in 1970, he got another guest starring role in the ABC-TV series The Young Rebels.

Soon afterwards, he made his TV movie debut as "Lieutenant Charring" in Wild Women (1970). He continued in numerous other guest starring roles and a movie roles. He also played the role of "Nick" in the Broadway revival of Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? in 1976.

After returning to California in 1976, he had a guest-starring role on ABC-TV's Charlie's Angels. He played the role of alien science officer "Ficus Pandorata" on the short-lived NBC-TV science fiction series Quark (1978). Later that year he was invited back to The University of Kansas to give a short seminar on films.


Kelton died of accidental carbon monoxide asphyxiation due to a faulty heater in his trailer while filming the NBC-TV miniseries Centennial, in which he was to have co-starred. Universal Studios, which produced the TV miniseries, was fined $720 for the failure to provide a proper ventilation system for the trailer which Kelton had retreated to rehearse his lines.[3][4][5]


His alma mater, KU, established the Richard Kelton Memorial Fund was established in December 1978 to aid student actors in their professional acting aspirations.[5] The fund still exists today in the form of the Richard Kelton Memorial Scholarship, that provides scholarships for undergraduate students majoring in theatre with an emphasis in acting [6] He was survived by his wife, the former Eileen Jacobsen, and son Zachary (born in 1974), and his parents.


Year Title Character Notes
1967 In Cold Blood Bobby Rupp Uncredited film role
1970 Wild Women Lt. Charring TV movie
Heroic Mission Nancy's Boyfriend TV series, uncredited role
The Young Rebels Edward Brockton TV series
1970-73 Gunsmoke Various characters 5 episodes
1971 Mission: Impossible Billy Walsh in episode "Takeover"
The F.B.I. Chuck Davis in episode "The Hitchhiker"
Cade's County Paul Jeffries TV series
1972 The Waltons (TV series) Anson Collier in episode "The Foundling"
Hawaii Five-O Lt. Carter in episode R & R & R
Room 222 Uncredited role in episode "Where Is It Written?"
1973 Hawkins Don Morrison TV series
1974 McQ Radicial Film
Harry O Bill Dempsey in episode "Guardian at the Gates"
The Lives of Benjamin Franklin TV Mini-Series
Kung Fu (TV Series) Graham in episode "My Brother, My Executioner""
Nakia (TV Series) Uncredited role 1 episode
Silence Al Film
The Cowboys (TV Series) Carl Rivers 1 episode
The Streets of San Francisco Stuttering Kidnapper in episode "Chapel of the Damned"
1975 Joe Forrester (TV Series) Uncredited role 1 episode
Medical Story (TV Series) Uncredited role in episode "Us Against the World"
Matt Helm (TV series) Jed Larson in episode "Murder on Ice"
The Ultimate Warrior Cal Feature film
Barbary Coast Cad Shugrue TV series; in episode "The Ballad of Redwing Jail"
Archer (TV series) Ernest Richter 1 episode
1976 Logan's Run (TV series) Sanctuary Man Voice, uncredited
1977 The Feather and Father Gang Colby TV series; in episode "The People's Choice"
Charlie's Angels (1976 TV series) Hubie in episode "Pretty Angels All in a Row"
1978 Dallas Taylor "Guzzler" Bennett in episode "Fallen Idol"
A Guide for the Married Woman Everett Hemming-Fantasy Man TV movie
Go West, Young Girl Griff TV Movie
Quark (TV series) Ficus 7 episodes
The Incredible Hulk (TV series) Carl in episode "The Beast Within"
Police Woman (TV series) Ron Chamberlin in episode "Sixth Sense"
1979 The Rockford Files Norman Wheeler in episode "The Deuce"
How the West Was Won (TV series) Trey Hollingsworth ABC-TV Miniseres, in episode "Hillary"


  1. ^ Alvis Fred Kelton at Find a Grave
  2. ^ Glenna Sedalia Zachery Kelton at Find a Grave
  3. ^ Universal Studios fined after carbon monoxide kills actor, published by United Press International (UPI) for the Lodi News-Sentinel (CA), January 11, 1979, retrieved March 16, 2016.
  4. ^ "Studio Fined In Death". Associated Press (AP), for the Reading (PA) Eagle. January 11, 1979. Retrieved March 16, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Harkavy, Ward (December 1, 1978). "Actor's death evokes mourning". United Press International for the Lawrence Journal World (KS). Retrieved March 16, 2016. 
  6. ^ Richard Kelton Memorial Scholarship page at KU's Theatre Website

External links