Text By: Karen O'Maxfield
Richard Thomas O'Brien was born in the townland of Portlaw on the 27th of December 1878 to Johanna (Keating) and James E. O'Brien, a master tailor who counted among his clients Lord Waterford as well as other nobility and landed gentry. In 1882, James O'Brien emigrated to the United States and set up a tailor shop in North Adams, Massachusetts, followed two years later by his wife and children.
Richard O'Brien enlisted in the United States army in 1898 and served as a Corporal in the Twenty-Sixth Regiment, Company M in the Philippines during the Philippine Insurrection. After his three-year tour of duty ended, he ventured to New York City to pursue his love of acting. Under the stage name of Richard Garrick, he performed in a variety of Broadway productions then moved on to Los Angeles to investigate the new moving picture industry.
During the 1910's Garrick worked both as an actor and director in early silent films. He joined up with the Gaumont Company and, in 1916, became Director General of Gaumont's Jacksonville, Florida studios. He later directed films in the U.K., Italy and France.
When Garrick returned to the United States, he continued to pursue both acting and directing on stage, film and television. He also taught dramatic arts and hosting a weekly radio program in Los Angeles on station KRKD. He frequently returned to New York City to perform in stage productions on Broadway. During World War II, Garrick performed in Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians", a production of the USO Camp Shows that toured throughout the front lines. A cast member from that production characterized Garrick as "elegant, grand and very Shakespearian."
His credits include: "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1947-1949 original Broadway production; "High Society" (1956, film); "East of Eden" (1955, film); Desiree (1954, film) and "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951, film) among many, many others.
Richard T. O'Brien died on 21 August 1962 in Los Angeles and is interred at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, California. For more information, please visit http://www.freehosting.hostrave.com/p/rgarrick/.