Richard Boone didn't need the audience to like him

By: H&I Staff     Posted: February 6, 2024, 2:57PM    Tags: Richard Boone, Western

It's awfully nice to be a lovable protagonist in a television series, but sometimes it's just more entertaining to watch a villain. With a hero, you can always anticipate their next move. Sure to do the right thing, their do-good attitude can almost get grating at times. A villain is unpredictable. While you may not always like where a villain ends up or agree with their choices, you can be sure that you'll have fun watching them get there.

An actor like Richard Boone has experience playing both good and evil characters. He served as the protagonist of Have Gun – Will Travel but also found his way into villainy as Ward in the 1970 film The Kremlin Letter. The role required Boone to color his hair blonde in an effort to look a touch more sinister.

Boone explained the choice in an interview with the Calgary Herald and said, "There had to be something quietly menacing about me. We fooled around with special make-up...nothing looked right. Just my old mug with  a lot of strange grease paint." It was actually director John Huston's idea to dye Boone's hair. Boone explained, "It did the trick and you know, I'm really getting to like it."

Some actors may be overly concerned with how they're portrayed on screen, and take up a lot of their time in a film attempting to win the audience over; Boone had no such fantasies. 

He said, "I don't give a darn about getting the sympathy of an audience. Maybe I did when I first started acting, but now man, it's the part that counts."

Additionally, Boone found that as he had gathered more experience as an actor, the fewer parts he considered. It was an intentional decision on his part, choosing to only accept the roles he believed were truly worth the time and energy. 

"I work as little as I can. How many really good parts are there, I mean the ones worth doing?"

Watch Have Gun, Will Travel on H&I

Weekdays 8 AM & 8:30 AM Eastern