5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –
Peter Mark Richman left a $35 a week job as a pharmacist in PA to take a chance on a life on stage and in film. Now, with Broadway credits, numerous films, his own series entitled “Cain’s Hundred,” over 200 guest appearances and reoccurring roles in both Daytime and Prime time on Santa Barbara, Dynasty, and more, it would appear that the risk paid off.
SD: As you were writing and doing research about your autobiography, “I Saw A Molten White Light” what did you rediscover about yourself?
PMR: Yes, that we all have a journey with a beginning. The title of my book comes from an experience that I had when I was 5 years old. I was with my mother, who was visiting a friend, and while sitting on the veranda, I saw this light in the archway. I become frozen with wonder. After a few inquiries, I was the only one to see it. Growing up in a very dysfunctional family, seeing this light had a profound effect on my life. This experience gave me the determination I needed to pursue my purpose in life.
SD: Your first film was Friendly Persuasion (1956) with Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire, and Anthony Perkins. What was that experience like?
PMR: Surreal! I have a photo of our first rehearsal together. I am sitting next to Gary and my facial expression tells it all. I couldn’t believe I was working with him and the cast. Your first movie is definitely an experience that you never forget.
SD: Besides your wife, Helen, you have worked with numerous leading ladies, including Sophia Loren, Cloris Leachman, Tippi Hedren, Janet Leigh, Joan Collins, Eva Marie Saint, and Jane Wyman. Do you have a favorite?
PMR: I have been luckily enough to have over 500 guest star roles on various television shows and I have worked with some of the best. If I had to choose I would say among my favorites were Florence Henderson (definitely one of my favorites to work with). Eva Marie Saint and I performed in Summer Stock together. She was such a pleasure to work with. I become life-long friends with many of them.
SD: What are your thoughts on the quality of television shows that are being produced today?
PMR: Don’t get me started…..I’ll leave it at that [he laughs]
SD: You have one of the few long-term industry marriages. How does one stay married for 65 years in Hollywood?
PMR: We believe in Subud. It’s a spiritual movement that began in the 1920s. Also, communication and always putting each other and our family first.
For more information on Peter and to purchase his book, I Saw A Molten White Light, visit www.petermarkrichman.com.